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2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagenWhen I last tested a Jetta -- a mid-level Jetta SE sedan -- I mentioned in the blog that I was keeping my expectations low. With the exception of the hot-rod Jetta GLI, I've always found the Jetta a bit dull -- but that little red sedan completely changed my opinion of the car. I subtitled the review "Aaron converts to Jettaism".

So I was really stoked to check out the new VW Jetta wagon. I love wagons. My wife Robin and I own one (a 1996 Honda Accord) and as I've mentioned time and again, I've yet to find any other vehicle that can deliver the same combination of utility and economy as a wagon. So how did it go with the Jetta wagon? Er... not quite as well as I expected. Get the details in my 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen test drive and review. -- Aaron Gold

Related: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen photo gallery

Photo © Aaron Gold

Comments
July 8, 2008 at 9:33 am
(1) Les says:

I can’t believe they don’t offer the award winning TSI engines there. Here in Japan this car is called a Golf Variant and comes with your choice of a 1.4 or 2.0 litre TSI engine. As far as I can tell both are Turbocharged and Supercharged (sorry my Japanese isn’t perfect) and come with the DSG transmision. The 1.4 litre gets 14.0 km/l (33 mpg) and the 2.0 litre gets 11.2 km/l (26.0 mpg). The 1.4 produces 170 hp versus the 2.0′s 200 hp.

The only thing I can see is that maybe these engines are more expensive and would make the price of the vehicles too high for their targeted market. Here the cars are 3,000,000yen and 3,400,000yen respectfully. Which sounds considerable more than the price there. I’ve started saving my pennies, oops I mean yen.

July 8, 2008 at 10:30 am
(2) LWATCDR says:

You said that the only other small wagon was the Suzuki?
What about the HHR?
It looks like a small wagon to me once you get past the retro truck styling?

July 8, 2008 at 1:18 pm
(3) Brian says:

I think it has less to do with the function than how the manufacturer markets it.

That said, too bad Subaru doesn’t consider the Impreza 5-door a “wagon” any more. It’s my top of the list for fun to drive plus cargo room.

July 8, 2008 at 1:28 pm
(4) Gary from atlanta says:

THe HHR is the worst car I have ever rented. I just smile when I see people driving them and wonder what god awful hunk they must have traded in that made an HHR look good. THat is the reason honda and Toyota kill us. We build HHR, PT’s, and Aztecks. Gargbage. I whish audi would offer a diesil version of the A4 wagon. It needs better gas milage.

July 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm
(5) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

LWATCDR, that’s a tough call — they both kind of accomplish the same thing, but I can’t see people cross-shopping a Jetta SportWagen and an HHR. I think Gary said it all. I don’t despise the HHR as much as he does, but it’s not a very pleasant car. Plus, what I like about the VW Jetta is that it’s honest — it’s not trying to be anything other than a wagon.

July 8, 2008 at 5:32 pm
(6) Kevin says:

Diesel…we want to see a test of the TDI diesel ASAP! I have a 2000 Golf GLS TDi 5 speed. Started out at 90 HP and 160 ft lbs of torque, surprising to drive even at that low horsepower figure. I hot rodded it (there is a big TDi performance community growing), put the bigger European turbo, bigger injector nozzles, bigger exhaust and a did a custom chip tune on it. It goes like stink now, dyno’d at 160 hp (which doesn’t sound impressive) but it generates THREE HUNDRED ft lbs of torque at 2300 RPM, which sure as hell is. Plus it gets better mileage than it did stock (last tank was 55 MPG on the highway cruising at 70). That is running B-99 Biodiesel (it goes like stink…but it doesn’t stink). The stock TDI Sport Wagon will have 140hp and 235 ft lbs of torque (vs 207 for the bigger gas motor). It will have all that torque available in the RPM ranges where you really need it. AND it will get way better mileage than the gas motor so your cost per mile will be lower even with the higher price of diesel. I predict a car that is a LOT more fun to drive! So, I repeat…DIESEL DIESEL DIESEL!

July 9, 2008 at 7:44 am
(7) Harry says:

Will the price of diesel kill the diesel, it might? 20% premium for the fuel gives only a 10% advantage in economy, with the added $2200+ cost it would take years to recover. Throw in the timing belt change the gas car doesn’t need as often and the gain is down to what, 0? The only real plus is the 600 mile range on a full tank. FWIW if the full review link is supposed to go to more info, it links to the sedan review, so why did Aaron hate the NAV system?

July 9, 2008 at 11:15 am
(8) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Harry: I think the MPG increase would be much higher — in the Mercedes E320 BLUETEC, it’s more along the lines of 30-50%. I hated the nav system because it’s slow to program, it doesn’t display most street names, and if you don’t have an exact street name (ie “E. Wilson Ave.” vs. simply “Wilson”) it can be impossible to find your destination. The “Read Full Review” verbiage isn’t my favorite, but it’s part of the template and we’re sort of stuck with it.

July 9, 2008 at 2:24 pm
(9) ROOLLY says:

The 2.0 TDi engine works really well and it is very silent.

July 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm
(10) Kevin says:

Compare the existing TDi diesel cars with the Gas versions and the difference is FAR more than 10%. The gas version of my Golf gets 28 real world MPG on the highway. The Diesel version gets 45 real world MPG. Some hypermilers are getting as high as 60+ MPG. Diesel is FAR more efficient. Fuel wise, the cost per MILE is lower with a diesel, even with the fuel costs being higher for now.

As for the cost of the car and maintainence…yes the car costs more up front and the timing belt on the newer car is 100K miles. BUT…also remember that a diesel engine and car typically lasts WAY longer than a gasoline car and the resale value of used diesel vehicles is FAR higher than that of gasoline cars (and growing). So the up front costs are easily offset by longer lifespan and far higher future value.
Last but not least, diesel vehicles are the only type of vehicle I know where you can hot rod them, get better performance AND higher mileage doing so. Make them faster and they get better mileage…think about that.

July 15, 2008 at 1:29 am
(11) Heatmiser says:

Any word on when the Sportwagen full rollout will be? The dealers here in AZ only got a couple of these and they were only in black and red.

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