2009-2014 VW Jetta Sportwagen (Golf wagon) TDI buying guide and FAQ

- with reviews, videos, problem, buying tips, differences 2009-2014, and pricing for VW Jetta sportwagen TDI (aka JSW or GSW), also check out our TDI forum


VW introduced the Jetta Sportwagen to North America for 2009 with the TDI engine.  They refreshed it for 2010 and changed the name to Golf wagon in Canada.  (It's been sold outside of North America since 2007 as the Golf wagon or Golf variant).  Even though it no longer looks like or is based off the new style mk6 Jetta sedan (click the link for info on the new style Jetta), they kept the name in the US as Jetta Sportwagen.  You may also see it called the JSW or GSW TDI.  This article shows the most up to date pricing, options, and stuff to know when buying a 2009-2014 wagon TDI. Model year 2014 will be the last year before they switch over to the mk7 chassis.

There is no other new car that combines the cargo room (67 cu ft + roofrack) and fuel economy of the sportwagen.  The 2009-10 VW Touareg TDI V6 (link is checklist), new style 2011+ Touareg TDI (link is checklist), and Audi Q7 V6 TDI also have big space and great fuel economy but they're SUV with larger V6 engines so their fuel economy won't be close to the smaller 4 cylinder TDI engine in the sportwagen.  Feel free to check out the other buying guides 1000q: VW Golf TDI buying checklist and 1000q: Audi A3 TDI buying checklist.

If you find the tips on this page helpful, please use the donation button at the top so that I can continue to keep publishing great articles for free. I do not receive any compensation from VW so you'll get the honest truth in these reviews. If nothing else, it should help you know what to look for when buying a VW Jetta or Golf wagon TDI. Thank you in advance!

2009-2014 JSW (Golf wagon) TDI differences and revisions

mk5 vs. mk6 wagons
The wagons were sold outside of North America since 2007 but 2009 was the first year for North America.  VW called the 2009 wagon a mk5 (5th generation car) because it was practically identical to a Jetta sedan.

For 2010, VW changed a bunch on things across Jetta, Golf, and wagons and gave the wagon a facelift to look like a mk6 (6th generation) Golf.  VW sells most of their cars outside North America and the rest of the world calls the car a Golf wagon (variant or estate) so they made the wagon look like the Golf.  However, the mk6 Golf got a bunch of things that the mk5 based wagon did not.  A few examples are the mk6 style side view mirrors, thicker acoustic glass, and more laser welding on the revised chassis.  See 1000q: differences between the 2009 Jetta and 2010 Jetta for general mk5-mk6 information - this article focuses on wagon specific information only.  Another is combining the central electric module (CECM) that controls many chassis electric with the comfort convenience module which controls things like the remote smart key fob operation. However, since they still use a mk5 chassis, many components are still mk5 like the door construction (removeable skins), side view mirror styles, suspension, and all models having electric assist steering instead of only highline or TDI. (Current base Jetta and Passat use hydraulic steering). VW calls the current wagons mk6 so for organization, 2010+ sportwagen forum topics should go in the mk6 section. 2009 sportwagen topics can go in either mk5 or mk6.

Canadian 2009 VW Jetta sportwagen TDI: Canadian trim levels are different than US trim levels.  The American wagon TDI only came in TDI trim: it's like the SE midline trim but with a few more items.  Canadian TDI wagons were available in comfortline (midlevel) or and highline (high trim).  Midline have the touchscreen 6cd changer radio and multifunction steering wheel/highline display as an option.  Canadian highline have it standard and add leather interior and multifunction steering wheels, items which weren't available on US wagons.  The leather interior was available without memory power seat for 2009. However, they lacked a rear 115V outlet in the rear of Golf wagons or bluetooth in the earlier years.  You can retrofit bluetooth if your car doesn't have it - see 1000q: bluetooth FAQ for details.  They all have electric engine coolant block heaters standard.

2009 wagons
The actual width and length of the wagon is identical to a sedan.  The size difference is from the rear cargo area and height.  They are identical in standard equipment, options, and even curb weight to a Jetta sedan except for the optional panoramic sunroof, bluetooth (see the above bluetooth link), and no multifunction steering wheel (MFSW) in the US.  You can add one to the wagon, see 1000q: MFSW swap for details.  Below is the sales brochures for the 2009 sportwagen in .pdf format.  Click to open in adobe pdf viewer or right click, save as.  They didn't have a separate brochure for the 2010 wagon (it was the same as the Jetta sedan) but there's one for the 2011 model below.

2009 VW Jetta TDI sportwagen

2010 wagons
EPA MPG for the manual transmission is still 30/41 city/hwy but the 2010 DSG is now rated at 30/42 vs. the 2009 rating of 29/40.  This is despite the gearing change in the manual.

All manual transmission TDI get revised gearing.  The DSG may have had revised software to increase the EPA fuel economy rating but the gearing is the same.  Below is a table showing the gearing change highlighted.  The 6 speed transmissions use one final drive for gears 1-4 and the other for 5,6, and reverse gears.  This is why 4th and 5th manual transmission gears have the same (or almost) ratio.  If you want to calculate rpm in any given gear, see 1000q: tire wheel gearing calculator. NOTE: VW USA's website still shows mk5 gearing for the sportwagen. I believe this is a typo because I think the sportwagens use the same transmission as the other new TDI. There are also a number of typos and lack of updates on VW USA's website specs.

gear 2009 manual 2009 DSG 2010 manual 2010DSG
1 3.77 3.46 3.77 3.46 
2 2.09 2.05 1.96 2.05
3 1.32 1.30 1.26 1.30
4 0.98 0.90 0.87 0.90
5 0.98 0.91 0.86 0.91 
6 0.81 0.76 0.72 0.76
final1 3.45 4.12 3.45 4.12
final2 2.76 3.04 2.76 3.04

All VW TDI now use the engine model name CJAA instead of the CBEA.  They are interchangeable and have the exact same specs.  The engine programming and oil pump are slightly different but this doesn't affect how the car feels or drives and is not a factor in the EPA rating.  The balance shafts were removed. If you get aftermarket chip tuning for your TDI, the engine programming difference is why the 2009 chip is different from the 2010 chip.  The fuel filter is slightly different, see 1000q: fuel filter change for more details.  The diesel particulate filter/catalytic converter and NOx filter were also changed from a one piece assembly to a two piece assembly.  See 1000q: DPF FAQ for more details on this system.  For a full list of known differences between these engines, please read this forum post.

Bluetooth on US wagons is 9w2 for 2010 - receive only, no outgoing call capability or phone book.   See 1000q: VW Bluetooth FAQ for details on its specs and how to retrofit another module.  You can easily swap in a 9w7 module to get voice control and phone book.  See 1000q: 9w7 bluetooth install #1 for pictures and screenshots and  1000q: 9w7 bluetooth install #2 for a quick video showing how easy installation is.

The bumpers, fenders, and headlights are changed to look like the mk6 Golf (and is sold overseas/Canada as the Golf Variant or Golf wagon..  The taillights are now smoked red vs. bright red.  All 2010 models got a new steering wheel, dashboard, and instrument cluster.  It looks like below except the instruments are in pods.  The picture is shown as an example of phone control from the MFD display.  The phone book and bluetooth control on the MFD display is only available with 9w3 modules from a sedan or 9w7 modules from 2011 and newer.  VW calls the 2010 wagon and later a mk6 even though it still uses the mk5 Jetta/Golf chassis with mk6 cosmetic changes and 2010 electronics.  A few examples seen and unseen are the side view mirrors and the internal door modules and construction.  The mk6 Golf chassis was heavily revised and improved, the wagon chassis are still based off the mk5 Jetta. Although the headlights and bumper are directly from the Golf, the front fenders are not interchangeable because most of the wagon's body is still mk5.

The Jetta wagon TDI now has the MFSW standard.  In Canada, you need the multimedia package to get the MFSW.  This is visible in the thumbnail below, click to enlarge
jetta tdi phone menu

If your tire valve stems are flexible rubber and not stiff and metal, you don't have TPMS sensors in the wheels but may have the ABS sensor based system.  If you don't have metal valve stems or the TPMS reset button in the glovebox (for the ABS sensor based system), you don't have any TPMS.  TPMS is required in the US but not in Canada so Canadian Golf wagon may not have any TPMS.  Below is a picture (thanks to the taker for letting me use it) showing where the TPMS reset button would be if you had the ABS sensor based systems.

It's possible to activate TPMS if you have a compatible ABS module.  See 1000q: hidden TPMS activation for more details.

The iPod adapter is now an MDI instead of a CD changer emulator.  See 1000q: iPod interface compatibility for more details.  If your car doesn't have the MDI from the factory, it's easy to retrofit it, see the article for more details.

VW removed the solenoid fuel door mechanism (it releases the fuel door when you press the button).  You now press the fuel door in to release the latch and spring it open.

The radio antenna is now in the side rear glass instead of a whip antenna.  This is nice if you use the roof rack to load long items.  On older cars, you had to unscrew the antenna if it interfered with cargo.

2011 changes

The Jetta sedan is overhauled and as a result, the Jetta sportwagen (Golf station wagon) no longer looks like or is based off the Jetta sedan.  The JSW/GSW chassis is unchanged vs. 2010.  The new 2011 VW Jetta TDI uses a lighter, longer chassis (2.9" longer, 2.5" of that is rear legroom) than the wagon and loses independent rear suspension and a number of other features.  The benefit is that the sedan also drops in price.  To the right is the sales brochure for just the 2011 wagon.

9w7 bluetooth is now standard in the US - it has phonebook and outgoing call capability.  See 1000q: 9w7 bluetooth module and 1000q: 9w7 installation video for details on capability and screenshots. (The same overhead console is used which is why the bluetooth LED will not light up).

The TPMS system now works off the ABS sensors by calculating rotating diameter instead of using temperature and pressure sensors in the wheels.  The ABS based TPMS system isn't as accurate but because there are no sensors, it never needs sensor replacement due to dead batteries and you don't need another set of sensors for winter wheels.  The sensors cost about $80/each and can last 5-8 years depending on use (see 1000q: TPMS light for more details on the system)

Upshift indicator in the instrument cluster.

New colors: tempest blue (navy blue) and toffee brown.  Examples are below in the color samples section. Salsa red replaces Tempest red midyear.

The optional RNS 315 GPS replaces the optional RNS 510 GPS.  See the links for FAQ on these GPS systems for details, screenshots, and features.  Either can be purchased as retail parts and retrofitted if you decide to add it later.  You just need to add the GPS antenna and change a code in the car's modules so that the car acknowledges that it was added.

If you have the RNS315 the aux-in is on the head unit.  If you don't, the aux-in is in the center armrest.  You can retrofit the MDI, see 1000q: ipod adapter compatibility FAQ for details.

The two options packages for 2011 are: [Panoramic sunroof and 17" Porto alloy wheels] or [Premium package: pano sunroof, RNS315 GPS, MDI w/ipod cable, and 17" Porto alloy wheels].

2012 changes

The RCD510 radio that comes standard in all TDI is now upgraded across all 2012 models.  It now comes with HD radio capability w/tagging.  Thankfully, all models now come with the MDI ipod adapter.  This was a major source of confusion on earlier models. Late 2012 models will also get the phone menu on the radio display.

A running change is the removal of the 9w7 bluetooth module if you have the RNS-315 GPS system. This is because the RNS315 has an internal bluetooth. Changing the headunit will require retrofitting the 9w7 if you wish to maintain bluetooth functions.

The three packages for 2012: [base], [sunroof (comes with 17" wheels and sunroof)], and [sunroof + nav (adds the RNS315 GPS and KESSY)]. See the next page for MSRP and invoice pricing.

KESSY is keyless entry and start. If the key fob is within 3 feet of the doors or trunk and you pull the handle, it will unlock the doors. It also adds an engine start button so that the key never has to leave your pocket/purse to operate and open the car.

Some quirks to be aware of with KESSY: if you leave the key inside the car and lock it, it will unlock if someone pulls the door handle. If you leave the car and give the car to another driver with the engine running, it will continue to run. It will flash a message that the key is out of range and will not restart once they shut it off since the key is with you, not them. When locking the doors you press a button on the door handle. Don't put your hand inside the handle, just touch the button on the outside of the handle.

2013 changes

For 2013, all TDI now have misfueling adapters on the fuel tank filler neck (the metal tab and flaps). Narrower gasoline nozzles won't move the flaps and open the tab to allow you to insert the nozzle. You can now use truck stop high flow nozzles but because they have a fast flow rate, only use them at half speed or else you'll get a lot of foam. To view the 2013 JSW brochure in .pdf format, click here.

2014 changes

For 2014, the license plate lights use LED bulbs. All TDI get a backup camera including the RCD510 radio and RNS315 navigation.

Basic dimension comparison of Jetta sedan and wagon vs. Golf and Audi A3
2009-10 Jetta TDI sedan 2009-11 Jetta TDI sportwagen 2010-11 Golf TDI 2010-11 Audi A3 TDI
curb weight (lbs) 3230 3230 est 3020 (2 door) unknown, about 3350
length (in) 179 179 165 169
width (in) 70 70 70 70
max cargo room (cu ft) . 67 +roofrack 46 56
drag coefficient .31 .31 .32 .33

2009 pricing
Invoice price on a 2009 base VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI was 22,503 w/manual, 23,602 for w/DSG.  MSRP was 23,870 w/manual, 24,970 w/DSG.
Delivery was $650 (all prices are in US dollars).

Pricing for 2010 VW Jetta sportwagen station wagon TDI

Add $750 destination to car price (mandatory) (prices for US only)

9w2 bluetooth (receive call only, no voice control, no phonebook, see 1000q: mk5 Bluetooth FAQ for more details) is standard on 2010 VW Jetta sportwagen TDI

  MSRP invoice price notes
2010 sportwagen VW Jetta TDI manual $24,615 $22,915  
2010 VW Jetta TDI sportwagen DSG $25,715 $24,014 DSG is automatic, see 1000q: DSG FAQ for more details
Factory options      
Media Device Interface for ipod integration 199 176 option code uf8, see 1000q: ipod interface compatibility for more on this function
RNS 510 navigation system 1790 1581 option code pni, see 1000q: RNS 510 FAQ for description and functions
panoramic sunroof 1300  1148 option code 3fe, see page 2 for a demo
17" alloy wheel 450  398 option code pji
rear lower side airbags  350  310 option code 4x4, head rear curtain airbags standard
Port or dealer added options      
rubber mat kit 215 165 option code jmk, 4 mats+trunk liner
carpet mat kit 215 165 option code jcm, 4 mats+trunk liner
mud flaps (splash guards) 185 135 mud flaps
protection kit 350 265 rubber mat kit + splash guards option code jpk
sport protection kit 638 410 protection kit + front bumper lip spoiler, option code jtd

See page 2 for 2011 pricing in the US and Canada, buying tips, video reviews, and real world color samples

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