Overview & Reviews
Because of the massive popularity of compact SUVs, few automakers bother offering a compact wagon these days. But Volkswagen has one exception with its popular Jetta Sportwagen. Just like the Jetta sedan, the Sportwagen offers classy European design, an upscale cabin and a sophisticated ride quality. And being a wagon, this Volkswagen can carry plenty of stuff. With about 67 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, the Sportwagen is even roomier in that respect than some bulkier compact crossovers. Beyond all those perks, the Jetta Sportwagen also offers the availability of fuel-sipping diesel power, resulting in real-world fuel economy approaching 40 mpg.
Note that with the following generation of this car, Volkswagen technically retired the Jetta Sportwagen nameplate and replaced it with the new Golf Sportwagen. But the Jetta Sportwagen has long been one of our favorite cars through the years -- wagon or not -- and we certainly recommend it as a used-car choice.
Used Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen Models
The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen was produced for the 2009-'14 model years and was commonly available in S, SE and TDI trim levels. The S and SE models were powered by a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder. A five-speed manual was standard with this engine, while a six-speed automatic was optional.
The Jetta TDI featured a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that produced 140 hp and a healthy 236 pound-feet of torque. A choice of a six-speed manual or VW's DSG dual-clutch automated manual were offered for the TDI. The Sportwagen TDI earned an impressive EPA estimated 34 mpg for combined driving, and in real-world driving often yielded even higher numbers. Unless you're completely adverse to diesel, we recommend getting this engine over the gasoline five-cylinder.
The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen set itself apart from comparable domestic and Japanese wagons or crossovers by offering a distinctly European interior and feel to the driving experience. Not only did this Jetta provide better handling, but its cargo space was generally on par or better.
Note that for the Jetta Sportwagen's debut year of 2009, it was most closely related to that year's Jetta sedan. For 2010, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen received many of the same changes carried out that year to the Golf. The Sportwagen's body shape, interior volume and powertrains were essentially carried over, but VW improved the interior, retuned the suspension and made minor exterior styling changes.
For 2009 only, VW offered an SEL trim that featured a variety of luxury items like a fully powered driver seat with lumbar adjustment and memory functions, dual-zone automatic climate control and upgraded speakers. It also came with a 200-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the GTI and could be had with a manual transmission or the DSG. If you want the most sport from your Sportwagen, try to find one of these rare '09 SEL models.
The fourth-generation Volkswagen Jetta was available in a wagon body style from 2001-'05, though it wasn't known by the Sportwagen moniker. It was an entertaining car to drive and had top-notch materials quality and ample safety features. Scant rear-seat legroom was its major shortcoming.
As the base 2.0-liter engine offered weak acceleration and mediocre fuel economy, we recommend getting a fourth-generation Jetta with the turbocharged 1.8T four-cylinder introduced to the wagon for 2002 that produced 180 hp. The diesel-powered Jetta TDI was also offered in all but the first model year and provided mileage in the 40s. The 1.9-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder initially produced 90 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque and was upgraded to 100 hp and 177 lb-ft for 2004.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 89.00
Update on my May 2013 review - 2013 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By desertguy51 - November 25 - 11:53 pm
Updating my May 2013 review Great seats for long drives. Excellent lumbar support. I'd like full power seats, but at least the power seat back adjustment is a great idea. Mileage: Great. Recent trip: Palm Springs to Oakland: 35.5 mpg. Marin to Ventura counties: 37.5 Ventura to Palm Springs: 39.5 This is not the TDI, so although I'd love the additional power of the turbo, the excellent mileage has compensated for the 2.5. Bluetooth works well, although I did have to have the dealer pair my phone to it. They were happy to do it and I have to say that VW service has been excellent from VW of Palm Springs.
Love It - 2011 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By Anonymous - November 19 - 2:00 am
I love my TDI. I average about 38-41 MPG on a tank of diesel. In highway- only situations I yield about 45 MPG. My all-time record is 49 MPG on a 250 mile round trip. Expect about 560-600 miles out of a tank. But MPG is only half the story with the TDI. It feels a lot quicker than it actually is because of the torque. But that being said, it is no slow poke. Ingear acceleration is great if you shift quickly through the gears, but the engine runs out of steam in the high RPM range. The suspension setup is great, so the TDI is great in the twisty stuff. The only competitor that I can think of is the Audi A3 or Prius. The audis is smaller and more expensive. The Prius is slow and hates corners.
Love this TDi - 2012 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By kerriet - October 11 - 7:00 pm
I purchased my SportWagen Tdi in February of 2012. I absolutely love this vehicle. It drives like a dream: handling is fantastic, mpg is off the charts (and it is still far from being broken in), creature comforts of the interior are wonderful. I really like the exterior styling. It's a sharp vehicle.
Great Machine - 2011 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By robert perez - September 18 - 3:23 am
I is one of the greatest pace of machine I even had.
Thumbs up - 2011 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By trex1200r - September 2 - 11:42 pm
I was looking for a sporty, roomy vehicle that I could easily haul my dog in. The sportwagen has a large cargo area, and the heigth is easy to negotiate for our aging pup. While shopping around, I convinced myself I had to have a diesel for the torque and the mileage. Performance is good, not great. DSG likes to keep the revs low, so you need some planning and patience for the wave to arrive. Sometimes the wave is there, sometimes you wait. Gas Mileage. Averaging 38mpg over 9K miles. It takes a good 10 miles to get the mileage reading into the 30's, so not sure how it would do if you only take short trips. Probably not good.
Great Car with some annoying issues - 2011 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By teaton1 - August 1 - 2:02 pm
Bought in May 2011 in Wisconsin. Brought the car to Central Europe where we now live. Very comfortable and tolerates the many bad roads in our region with aplomb.
Simply A Great & Well Designed Car - 2011 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By jones0602 - July 14 - 3:10 pm
I bought my 2011 TDI Sportwagen about 5 months ago and without a doubt feel this car was the right decision. The MPG is nice, yes diesel is more expensive, but when you get 40+ MPG with the power of the TDI, it more then makes up for the price of gas. I got the GPS/iPod upgrade which I use everyday. The 2011 VW GPS is 10x better then my old Garmin. I am 6'6" and comfortably fit into the drivers seat. The heated seats are perfect for NE winters, plus this past winter I never had to wait once till the engine heated up before it would turn over and start up. Just a solid and well designed car from top to bottom.
So far so great - 2012 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By screenname420 - July 7 - 11:11 am
Bought car, went on 300 mile trip right out the dealer. Awesome time. The whole family loves it and we are already planning the next trip. I got the manual and I got the 86000 mile warrantee so I don't care about anything breaking down. Triple checked that dealer would cover HPFP failure.
WV STILL HAS WORK TO DO - 2011 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By charliej2 - May 24 - 10:25 pm
Overall, it's a decent car that gets great fuel mileage, but we've had multiple problems where the 3 year old car has left us stranded. Radio was replaced twice, paint is peeling near the driver's side door, flapper valve failed (warranty was extended on this part), and now we get the Immobilizer Active error where the instrument cluster has failed. It's not a car I would buy again. Not so sure I would buy any VW product again as my sister has had nothing but problems with her two VWs.
great car - 2012 Volkswagen JETTA SPORTWAGEN
By firstvw - August 14 - 1:37 pm
I have owned my jetta sportwagen TDI for 4 months and am very happy with it. Great combination of handling and fuel economy. I have averaged 40 mpg over the 4000 miles put on the car so far. I love not having to go to the gas station! Good performance--it hauls a$# when I hit the gas! I don't love the exterior design, but it was a reasonable compromise to get the fuel economy and performance.