2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is an affordable wagon that gets a lot of praise for its upscale and practical cabin. For a long time, the VW Jetta has been a premium offering in the compact-sedan segment.

However, Volkswagen redesigned the 2011’s edition, aiming at making the 2012 Jetta SportWagen, a more mainstream model by including a low-priced version in the lineup. This 5-seat wagon will compete against other car manufacturer.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Wagon Base Price: $20,395.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons (55L) MPG: 23 city / 33 hwy
Length: 179.4 in. (455.6 cm) Wheel Base: 101.5 in. (257.8 cm)
Height: 59.2 in. (150.4 cm) Width: 70.1 in. (178 cm)
Curb Weight: 3186 lbs (1445 kg) Ground Clearance: 5.4 in. (13.7 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 32.8 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 2.5L Inline-5 DOHC Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1
Horsepower: 170 HP Max RPM: 5700 RPM
Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Available Trims & Engine
Option:SE A/T MSRP: $24,210; MPG: 24 city / 31 hwy
Option:SE w/ Sunroof MSRP: $25,960; MPG: 24 city / 31 hwy
Option:2.0L TDI Diesel MSRP: $25,540; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy
Option:2.0L TDI w/ Sunroof MSRP: $27,290; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy
Option:2.0L TDI w/ Nav & Sunroof MSRP: $28,120; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy

Engine & Performance

The Jetta SportWagen S and SE trims come with a 2.5L 5-cylinder powertrain that generates 170 hp and 177 lbs-ft of torque. The S trim is fitted with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox; while the SE trims get a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The fuel economy of this engine is estimated at 24/33 mpg city/highway when equipped with the manual transmission and 24/31 mpg city/highway with the automatic.

The TDI model gets a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 140 horsepower and 236 lbs-ft of torque. You can either go for the standard 6-speed manual transmission or the 6-speed automated manual transmission. The automated manual features a sport mode that quickens performance and shifts.

This TDI engine gets 30/42 mpg city/highway with the manual and 29/39 mpg city/highway with the automatic. A SportWagen equipped with the automated manual transmission can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds. The SportWagen comes with strong and precise brakes, crisp and sporty steering, and great handling.


This wagon comes in 3 trim levels: S, SE, and the TDI. The design of the 2012 Jetta is conservative, yet handsome. The use of more angular, creased metals instead of the traditional rounded design elements give it character.

At the front, you will be greeted by headlights flanking the grille, while the rear comes with Audi-esque taillights. The Base S mode; comes with standard features that include: roof rails, 16-inch steel wheels, heated windshield-washer nozzles, keyless entry and heated mirrors.

Stepping up to the SE and TDI models, you will get 16-inch alloy wheels and optional features like panoramic sunroof, and 17-inch alloy wheels.


The seats offer enough leg and headroom, although tall people might find the rear seats a bit cramped. This wagon is comes with standard features including: basic stereo system, Bluetooth connectivity and tilt/telescoping steering wheel. S trims come with upgraded standard features like power windows, 4-speaker CD stereo with auxiliary input jack and air conditioning.

SE models on the other hand come with simulated leather upholstery, floor mats, and center armrest for rear-seat passengers, illuminated visor mirrors, center console storage and a trunk pass-through. SEL trims add features like a trip computer, driver-side lumbar adjustment and touch-screen navigation system. The SportWagen comes with a cargo space of 32.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats. This space reaches a maximum of 66.9 cubic feet after folding the rear seats.

Safety & Reliability

You will be amazed by the long list of standard safety features incorporated in this wagon. They include: front-seat side impact airbags, full length side-curtain airbags, driver and front passenger airbags, rear head airbags, electronic stability control, antilock disc brakes, traction control, child safety locks, 4-wheel ABS and daytime running lights.

The Jetta SportWagen gets an engine warranty lasting for the first 5 years or 60,000 miles, as well as 3-year or 36,000 miles limited warranty. Rust damages are covered by a warranty that lasts for 12 years, regardless of mileage.


  • High quality interior
  • Refined ride
  • Sporty performance
  • Respectable car space that can compete with compact SUVs
  • Optional TDI engine with great fuel economy


  • Standard 2.5L engine is unrefined
  • Tight rear seats

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is one of the most affordable wagons in its class. If you are looking for a wagon that offers sporty performance, spacious cabin and respectable cargo space, then this is the car for you.


Not to be outclassed, the SportWagen is Volkswagens answer to the 2 offerings from Subaru, the Forester (MSRP $20,595; 21 city / 27 hwy) and the higher priced Outback (MSRP $23,295; 19 city / 27 hwy), along with the American made Dodge Caliber (MSRP $17,380; 24 city / 32 hwy).

Overall Rating
76 out of 100

What others say:

“Pretty much in a class of its own, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a great alternative to a variety of vehicles, thanks to its versatility and available diesel engine.”Edmunds

“The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen isn’t exactly like its sedan counterpart–it’s noticeably smaller but nicer inside.”Car Connection

“More than competent, even a bit sporty. These wagons have fine steering feel. Body lean in corners is noticeable, but they never feel unstable. Braking is strong and sure.”Consumer Guide

“Basically a Golf wagon, the Jetta SportWagen has a quiet, composed ride and responsive handling, in sharp contrast to the newer sedan.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“Although the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen still rides on the old 2010 VW Jetta sedan platform, it is in no way antiquated or less fun to drive.”KBB