2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Key specs

Base trim shown


The good:

  • Elegant, if understated, design
  • Supportive front seats
  • Solid, planted feel in corners
  • Roomy backseat
  • Big trunk

The bad:

  • Less focus on interior quality
  • Throttle lag from a standing start with automatic
  • Minimal steering feedback
  • Awkward reach to adjust front-seat backrest

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • S


  • SE


  • TDI


Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New GLI version for 2012
  • Low starting price
  • Gas or diesel power
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • Wagon body style

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview

The Volkswagen Jetta has long been a premium offering in the compact-sedan segment, but with its redesign last year, VW aimed to make it a more mainstream model by including a new low-priced version in the lineup. Available with a gas or diesel engine, the five-seat Jetta is offered in sedan and wagon body styles. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Ford Focus.
New for 2012
The Jetta lineup expands for 2012 with the addition of a high-performance GLI model that’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder. In addition, the SEL trim adds a Fender premium stereo.
(Skip to details on the GLI)
The Jetta’s styling is conservative but handsome, and the car forgoes rounded design elements in favor of more angular, creased sheet metal. Rectangular headlights flank the grille. The sedan’s profile is clean-looking but not particularly memorable, and Audi-esque taillights finish off the car’s rear. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 15-inch steel wheels
  • Standard power-operated heated side mirrors
  • Available 16- or 17-inch wheels
  • Available body-colored side mirrors with turn-signal indicators
  • Available moonroof, fog lights and chrome accents

The Jetta has seating for five. The 60/40-split backseat folds if you need to carry large items that won’t fit in the 15.5-cubic-foot trunk. Overall, the sedan’s interior isn’t as upscale as previous Volkswagens, and that may disappoint some current VW owners who are accustomed to the brand’s use of premium materials and its attention to detail. Standard S trim level features include air conditioning, a four-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary jack and power windows that have a one-touch up/down feature. Interior features include:

  • SE models include simulated leather upholstery, cruise control, floormats, center console storage, a center armrest for backseat passengers, a trunk pass-through and illuminated visor mirrors
  • Available SE features include heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and satellite radio
  • SEL models include a touch-screen navigation system, trip computer and driver-side lumbar adjustment   

Under the Hood
A 115-horsepower, 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder is the base engine. A 170-hp, 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder gas engine is available, as is a diesel four-cylinder. Mechanical feature include:

  • TDI version’s turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder makes 140 hp and 236 pounds-feet of torque
  • Gas engines drive a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission
  • Diesel engine pairs with a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch transmission

Standard safety features include:

  • Antilock brakes
  • Electronic stability system
  • Side-impact airbags for the front seats
  • Side curtain airbags for both rows
  • Active front head restraints

True to the GLI moniker’s heritage, the Jetta’s uplevel trim packs higher performance and premium features. Under the hood is the automaker’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which makes the same 200 hp and 207 pounds-feet of torque that it did in the prior-generation Jetta GLI. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic optional.

Other enhancements include a sport-tuned four-wheel independent suspension; lesser Jettas employ a semi-independent rear suspension. Bolstered sport seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel and a touch-screen stereo are standard. Dual-zone automatic climate control, heated faux leather upholstery and a Fender premium stereo are optional.

Exterior styling changes include a honeycomb grille, vertical fog lamps that mimic those on VW’s turbocharged GTI hatchback, smoked taillights and dual exhaust tips. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 18-inch alloys optional. Back to top

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.7
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews


I love my VW

I bought mine this past fall with 7xxxx miles on it. What sold me on it besides the awesome fuel mileage was the storage. I'm 5'9ish and 235 lbs but with seats down I can sleep comfortably in the back with room to spare. Also was wife enough to load a 65" tv in the box with out issue.(you'd be surprised at the SVUs that were too narrow. I've driven this car in all weather with no problems. The only things I don't like are few. The compartment in front of the gear shift is too small for my hand and is too close to gearshift. The compartment between the seats is I have the same issue. I have put stuff in there and can not retrieve because of the size. I also wish the rear rear seat headrests were easier to remove as that's is required to fully put the seats down. Everything else about this car I love


Best car I've owned to date!

After driving Explorer, Avalanche, and several others, the SportWagen was by far the best value for my money. It is solidly built, quiet, and smooth. Has plenty of go, and handles very sporty on the road. The ride is super smooth and quiet. It's just the right size, you can do everything from golf clubs, ski equipment, etc...has very comfortable seats and is loaded with technology! I averaged 35 mpg highway since the day i got it. If you're looking for a used car that drives like a sporty sedan but has the storage capacity of a medium SUV, put this one on your short list to test drive.


Quick comfy little car.

Decent features huge pano roof. Fast for a 5 cylinder and comfy to drive. Great stereo and a lot of legroom for taller people. Black on black colors.

See all 47 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volkswagen
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
144 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
MY 2016-MY 2017 vehicles/75,000 miles; MY 2018- MY 2019 vehicles/72,000 miles; MY 2020 and newer vehicles/75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Vehicles purchased on or after 1/5/21: MY 2017 & older, 2 yrs/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2018-19, 1 yr/12,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2020 & newer, 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty
Dealer certification required
100-plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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