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Volkswagen offers four versions of the Jetta SportWagen: two trims with a 2.5-liter five cylinder engine, one diesel, and this one, equipped with a turbocharged 2-liter four cylinder engine.
Along with the now-traditional chrome goatee grille, the SportWagen features a very fluid design, the boxiness of the wagon disguised with subtle curves.
The turbocharged 2-liter engine delivers significantly more power than the 2.5-liter engine, yet gets the same fuel economy.
These optional wheels, 18 inch Karthoums, included on our car look really good, but add $1,300 to the price.
Volkswagen makes the practical wagon body look good. The car seats four comfortably with plenty of space in back for cargo.
The ride in the SportWagen is a little rough, typical for cars in this price range. But it handles fairly well in corners, showing some sport-tuning in the suspension.
We like the size of the rear hatch. When opened, it offers easy access to the cargo area, which can be maximized by folding down the rear seats.
This panoramic sunroof is a great option for the sense of airiness it gives to the cabin.
There is a sense of quality about the fit and finish in the cabin. Gaps are minimal and the design theme is consistent.
The steering wheel has an extraneous button marked with a phone icon, a legacy from the phone system that can be ordered in European versions of the car.
One thing we particularly like about new Volkswagens, borrowed from sister-brand Audi, is the display in the instrument panel, showing trip, audio, and navigation information.
Our car came with the six-speed-manual transmission, which works well enough. VW's twin-clutch transmission, the DSG, is also available for the Jetta SportWagen.
This hard-drive-based navigation system is new for the Jetta SportWagen, a vast improvement over previous VW navigation systems. In map input mode, you can pull the cursor around to pick a destination from the map.
Live traffic is shown on the navigation system, but unfortunately doesn't automatically route around jams.
Address input is made easy with this virtual keyboard. As the system is hard drive-based, it reacts quickly to inputs.
A digital music port sits in the center console, capable of hooking into iPods and USB drives.
You can store MP3s on the car's hard drive, making up to 20 gigabytes of music available.
Satellite radio is also available in the Jetta SportWagen.