The electronics are designed to where you have to take it to the dealer for check light resets, the radios go out and are expensive to replace. I bought mine with 80,000 miles, the check engine light came on everytime I started it. The reset only lasted 2 weeks. I took it to the dealer, he told me they have the only computer that will reset it. He was right. If vw offers to buy it back, I'll sell it back and never buy another.
2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen S 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
2/17/17: I sold the car to a volkswagen enthusiast shortly after posting this review. VW dealer offered a paltry buy back amount. I sold it for Edmund's suggested price. Since then I bought a Subaru because I live in snow country. I have to admit I miss having a peppy, manual transmission. But the VW was NOT good in snow, and I still find it exploitative that they willingly misled the consumer.
I have owned the car since 2011. I bought it for the mpg and low emissions. I had heard about the expense of maintaining a volkswagen because of high repair costs but bought it anyway. Within a year the door hinges started squeaking as if the car were 10 years old. After a year, I periodically notice a diesel fumes smell when I start the car. It comes and goes. When I asked the dealer about it, they didn't understand the reason and said they never found it. Finally, a professor at SUNY Morrisville in the Auto Tech school identified that it may be some type of self cleaning filter. There is no repair for it. It just happens. The road noise can hinder conversation. The car has needed more small things done in a shorter time than any other car I've owned. I've had 2 Subarus and Hondas and Toyotas. The dashboard is an odd mix of basic, old fashioned dials and updated more technologically advanced controls. I didn't mind that at first. I figured that's how they kept costs down. If it ain't broken, don't fix it. But the first time I needed to adjust the heating system while driving, I changed my mind. The icons around the dial for heating and AC are small and not easily visible from the driver's seat. They are located at the bottom right of the control panel under the radio. The defrosters are not sturdy or efficient enough for the winter climate where I live, or even spring and summer foggy, humid rainy weather. Windows stay fogged for a long time, and the edges of the front windshield never fully clear of snow or slush. The back seat windows remain fogged. The heated seats are nice. It is not a great snow car despite excellent snow tires. I have learned to avoid particular hilly streets in the snow. I never had to do that with my other cars. It sits very low to the ground which can make exit and entry awkward and gives little clearance for dirt, mud, snow and gravel. The doors are also very heavy. There isn't much headroom but I'm only 5'7" so I fit. My father at 5' 11" did not fit easily. Driver visibility is poor on the right and left of the front windshield. I've had multiple mechanical problems in addition to the door hinges that I did not experience on other cars at the same ages. The car is a difficult to repair. Frequently small parts cannot be acquired individually but must come as part of an entire assembly which elevates the costs of repairs considerably. Add to all of that the deceptions VW deliberately committed regarding emissions standards and the appeal of the car hits rock bottom for me. I will never buy another volkswagen.
I've had my 2011 2.5l Jetta Wagon for about 70k miles and it's been a great, reliable wagon. The size of the car is perfect. You can fit 4 adults and their gear or fold the seat down if you need to haul anything big. I've never run out of room in this car. Its a not performance car but the 5 speed transmission is fun to row through and the 5 cylinder engine has enough power to have some fun on twisty roads. Its also a very practical car for the price - the standard features are great (bluetooth, heated seats), I average about 30 mpg and this little car will handle bad weather with proper tires. My wagon goes with me on many ski and mountain bike trips and its never let me down.
-one of the few wagons where a true manual transmission is available
-reliable - some say VW's have reliability issues but mine has been perfect
-great car for the money, long list of standard features.
-fun to drive - great steering, strong brakes, decent power, slick manual transmission
-huge cargo space
-for a FWD car its great in the snow with a good set of snow tires.
-If VW made the Jetta wagon in AWD, I'd be the first in line buy one
-while the engine has adequate power, more torque would be nice for climbing up hills and highway passing.
July 3, 2014 on I-5 in Los Angeles, the ABS module failed on our 2011 Sportwagen TDI. The module controls the power steering, a/c, brakes, airbags, etc... We get off the freeway, and drop off car at McKenna VW in Cerritos.
Problem diagnosed July 5, and I'm told the repair will be $3200. Service rep tells me to call Customer Care. I do this and start a case #. Four days later, I get a call - VW will contribute $700. "And we don't have to do a thing, since you're out of warranty," I am told. The car has 50,000 miles on the odo.
12 July - we finally get a call that the car is ready. $1860 is the final bill.
UPDATE - We sold this car in spring of 2015, before the VW emissions scandal broke, and purchased a Honda CR-V which we like very much.
Stay away from VW.
Took VW 5 days to get ABS module from Texas to California.