2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Cavernous cargo space
  • stellar fuel economy with TDI
  • upscale cabin
  • comfortable seats
  • refined ride
  • good iPod interface.
  • TDI's premium price.
Other years
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen for Sale
List Price
$6,630

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Pretty much in a class of its own, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a great alternative to a variety of vehicles, thanks to its versatility and available diesel engine.

Vehicle overview

If it seems as if the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen looks more like a Golf than the new 2011 Jetta, your eyes aren't deceiving you. That's because Volkswagen's two Jetta body styles only share basic components now; this year's sedan has been fully redesigned to be larger and value-driven. In the process, though, the sedan has become more mainstream but less sophisticated and upscale. In our opinion, that leaves the Sportwagen, which pretty much carries over unchanged from last year, as the all-around better Jetta.

With its upscale cabin and sophisticated ride, the Sportwagen looks and feels like a German luxury car. And, of course, being a wagon, the Sportwagen can carry plenty of stuff. With about 67 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, this Jetta is roomier than popular compact crossovers like the Chevy Equinox, Kia Sportage and VW's own Tiguan. Since it sits lower to the ground and isn't as heavy as the typical crossover, it's also more responsive to drive and more fuel-efficient than those crossovers.

That fact is especially true given that the Sportwagen's base 2.5-liter five-cylinder has been given a fuel economy boost for 2011 and now manages a respectable 27 mpg combined EPA estimate. Those in search of a true fuel sipper, though, can still check out the VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which is powered by a clean-burning turbodiesel engine. With its 34-mpg combined estimate, it's one of the most fuel-efficient cars you can buy.

There are few small wagons around these days, so the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen doesn't really have any apples-to-apples competitors. The closest is the 2011 Volvo V50, which is more expensive but offers better acceleration and handling. One could also compare the Sportwagen to hatchbacks like the 2011 Mazda 3, small crossovers like the 2011 Honda CR-V or even hybrid hatchbacks like the 2011 Toyota Prius. Against any of these vehicles, the Sportwagen -- with its upscale design, useful wagon body style and the TDI's stellar fuel economy -- is a great alternative.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen models

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a five-passenger wagon available in S, SE and TDI trim levels. The Jetta sedan is reviewed separately.

The S trim comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, daytime running lights, roof rails, heated mirrors and windshield-washer nozzles, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, heated six-way adjustable front seats (power backrest, manual otherwise) and manually adjustable front-seat lumbar support. Also standard on this trim are a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, velour upholstery and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The SE adds 16-inch alloy wheels (optional on S), leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a rear center armrest and a 10-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface and a six-CD changer. The TDI is equipped similarly to the SE.

Optional on all trims are rear side airbags, a panoramic sunroof and Bluetooth. The SE and TDI can be equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as a navigation system with 20GB of digital music storage and an iPod/USB audio interface (available separately).

2011 Highlights

For the 2011 Jetta Sportwagen, Volkswagen has slightly improved the 2.5-liter base engine's fuel economy.

Performance & mpg

The VW Jetta Sportwagen S and SE are powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the S, while a six-speed automatic is optional on the S and standard on the SE. EPA-estimated fuel economy has improved for 2011, returning 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined with the automatic. The manual achieves 23/33/26.

The Sportwagen TDI is powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder good for 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automated manual transmission known as DSG is optional. The latter features a Sport mode that quickens shifts and performance. Fuel economy with the automatic transmission is 29 city, 39 highway and 33 combined mpg; the manual transmission gets an even more impressive 30 city, 42 highway and 34 combined mpg. In Edmunds performance testing, a Sportwagen TDI with DSG went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a Sportwagen TDI with 16-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 129 feet -- a mediocre distance.

The Jetta Sportwagen has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to the new 2011 tests) were a top five stars for the driver in head-on collisions, four stars for the front passenger and five stars for both the front and rear in side impacts. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash testing, the Sportwagen received the top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Driving

For most shoppers in this segment, a comfy ride matters more than razor-sharp moves. By this measure, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a fine companion in day-to-day driving. It swallows bumps and provides a relatively quiet cabin from which to endure the daily grind. If you do decide to drive aggressively, the Jetta's steering is nicely weighted and accurate, though significant body roll puts a damper on the level of fun.

With the TDI models, expect a little more vibration, a tad more noise and less high-end kick when trying to charge up that highway on-ramp from a stop. However, the diesel's prodigious low-end torque makes it feel downright muscular around town, as it pulls away from traffic lights with authority.

Interior

The Jetta Sportwagen's cabin is a strong selling point, with high-grade, soft-touch materials and metallic trim that betters that of the new Jetta sedan. The vinyl "leatherette" upholstery found in the SE and TDI is finely stitched and does a good impression of real cowhide, with the added bonus of being easier to clean. Stereo and climate controls are straightforward and easy to use, with the touchscreen interface standard on the SE and TDI being a nice high-tech touch that's well-suited to the available iPod interface. That interface with the optional navigation system is one of the best on the market.

The Jetta's tall roof line lends a sense of spaciousness to the front seats, which boast a wide range of adjustment in order to accommodate drivers of various sizes. Rear legroom isn't as generous as that of the now-bigger sedan, but nevertheless, there's an adequate amount of legroom in back compared to what's available from most small crossovers. There's more than adequate cargo space; with its seats up, the Jetta Sportwagen boasts 32.8 cubic feet of space and 66.9 with the seats down.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Overall, Very Happy with the Sportwagen TDI
sylvania3,02/13/2011
I spend lots of time researching and test driving cars, as I am a Mechanical Engineer. It was thus not without lots of contemplation that I purchased a 2011 Sportwagen TDI to replace my 10 year old trusty Honda CRV with 170K miles. Overall, I am happy. Some things are better than I expected, while there are a few minor things that are areas for improvement. This car comes into it's own on long highway trips, where it seems most efficient, and has a solid controlled feel to it. With all the torque from the diesel, the DSG rarely needs to downshift and pulls upgrade hills at 1700rpm like a tractor (the honda by comparison on same roads downshift and wines at 4000rpm)
Beware the ABS Module failure
ca_dryheat,07/27/2014
TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM)
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.
Blue Tooth needs a Dentist
tinf7jp,05/22/2011
Have had the car for several weeks and like it as much as on day 1. MPG is 40+ and love the huge sunroof. Having had Audi and Mercedes vehicles, we have good perspective for what the vehicle should drive and handle like...and it does so nicely at the much lover price point.
Nice Car
pwagen,01/23/2011
I have had this car just over a month. I am really surprised at how much I like it. I am getting 42MPG per tank. I am not trying to save fuel and I don't baby the car. This includes commuting to work and several trips around town. I drive around 75 to 80 MPH avarage on the turnpike. I have the manual transmisson. The car really has some low end power going through the gears. The seats and interior are very compartable. I have received comments from everyone that has been in the car on the quality of the interior. I went to test drive the Golf TDI and saw this sitting next to it. This car is like mini mercedes! Go test drive this before you buy a Prius or other high MPG car!

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Overview

The Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is offered in the following submodels: Jetta SportWagen Wagon, Jetta SportWagen Diesel. Available styles include TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), TDI 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), SE PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M), and S 4dr Wagon (2.5L 5cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen S PZEV is priced between $6,630 and$6,630 with odometer readings between 104304 and104304 miles.

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Which used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagens are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2011 Jetta SportWagens listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,630 and mileage as low as 104304 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen.

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Find a used Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,350.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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