Volkswagen's new Jetta SportWagon doesn't differ from the 2008 Jetta sedan mechanically or in its cabin electronics. But the reintroduction of a small wagon from Volkswagen, a very practical car design, is welcome.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The Jetta SportWagon uses a nice, flowing design for the body, with accentuated front fenders.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine lacks excitement, but provides adequate power for the SportWagon. A turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder is available at a higher trim level.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The SportWagon's profile copies the sedan in front, but finishes with subtle curves at the back, reminiscent of Mercedes-Benz's wagons.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
Although Volkswagen's SportWagon was on hiatus before this model, the company's experience selling the Audi A3 and A4 Avant give it justification for the new SportWagon.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
We like the spacious cargo area in the Jetta SportWagon, which seems significantly greater than in most hatchbacks we've seen.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The dashboard is exactly the same as in an SE trim Jetta sedan. It is relatively simple but exhibits good fit and finish.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The steering is responsive in the Jetta SportWagon, but it doesn't feel particularly sporty.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
At the trim level of our test car, the center LED display offers limited information. The car's manual shows that it can be had with a larger display, offering more information, such as a full trip computer.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The six-speed automatic will save gas at freeway speeds, but we didn't find that this transmission contributed to the 'sport' in SportWagon. It does have a manual shift mode, but the automatic mode takes control before you can have too much fun.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The stereo head unit in the car is very simple, although it is the Jetta's premium audio system. It has a six-disc changer that can read MP3 CDs. Selecting tracks isn't very convenient, as you have to search through one at a time.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
Satellite radio is also available through the head unit.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
The only bit of cabin tech that really impressed us was the audio quality. The system uses three speakers on each side in front, and two in each door in back, comprising 10 speakers total.
Caption by CNET Reviews staff / Photo by CNET Networks
Updated: