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Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI shows diesel economy, wagon utility (pictures)

Putting a diesel engine in a wagon gives a car excellent practicality, letting it carry a lot of cargo and get high fuel economy. The Jetta Sportwagen TDI takes these attributes and adds a premium cabin feel.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 15 James Martin/CNET
Volkswagen has met emissions requirements from the EPA for its passenger car diesels over many years, and the 2013 Jetta Sportwagen is the latest in a long line of TDI-designated vehicles. The Sportwagen builds on the Jetta sedan update released in 2011.
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The Jetta Sportwagen TDI comes in at 15 feet long, and side windows offer good visibility all around.
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The suspension gives the Jetta Sportwagen TDI a firm and competent ride, soaking up bumps in businesslike fashion.
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The car rates as a compact, but the cargo area encompasses 32.8 cubic feet. With the rear seats down, that volume increases to 66.9 cubic feet.
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Where the base Jetta sedan comes with cloth seats, Volkswagen gives the Sportwagen TDI nicer cabin appointments, even at its base trim level.
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The rear seats are about what you would expect in a compact car, with no forward-back adjustment.
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Every Jetta Sportwagen TDI gets the center LCD, but you have to opt for the highest trim level to get navigation.
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Electric power steering boost is evident from how the steering wheel feels when you turn it. The response is direct and even.
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The center instrument cluster display shows trip, phone, and stereo information.
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This car came equipped with the six-speed manual, but a DSG automated manual is also available.
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The head unit has a touch-screen interface, along with hard buttons along the sides for access to specific functions.
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Bluetooth streaming audio shows track data on the LCD.
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When plugging an iOS device into the car, the LCD shows a music library interface.
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HD radio comes standard in the Jetta Sportwagen TDI.
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The Bluetooth phone interface includes built-in speed dial presets.

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