2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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$7,932–$17,576 Inventory Prices
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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
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Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

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

Notable Features of the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Overview

By Cars.com Editors
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)
Exterior
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

Interior
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 ...

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)
Exterior
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

Interior
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

Safety
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

GLI
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


Latest 2012 Jetta SportWagen Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Exceptional vehicle at its price point

by MyOtherCarsAWagonToo from KS on August 2, 2018

I love my 2.5l Sportwagen. There is ample room inside for four (tried and tested) on long road trips. Plenty of areas for expansion with the roof rack as well. The rear is enough room for a large dog ... Read full review

(5.0)

Wish I'd bought one long ago

by Don Austin from Ball Ground, GA on May 14, 2018

Found this little gem as a Certified Pre-Owned at JIm Ellis VW in Atlanta. It was really clean and had a pretty good CarFax. I'd never driven a VW TDI before and it was love at first drive. Solid ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 2.5L S

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
marginal
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Jetta SportWagen received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker