One gives a good review of the navigation and they probably test a lot of them.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Delightful. What a terrific little package. Pricey, yeah, but a nice, good-looking car, and it makes a fine alternative to a small ute.
For starters, the diesel is quite un-diesel like. That is to say it drives and sounds like a regular gasoline engine. There is just the slight diesel clank at idle when it's cold, but otherwise, it's a terrific little engine and feels like a lot more than the 140 hp VW reports. I didn't need to fill it but the onboard mpg computer told me I got 33 mpg, really good considering it was almost all stop-and-go commuting.
On the road it feels a lot more solid and robust than most other small commuter cars, more like a small luxury sedan. The suspension is nice and soft for a Detroit winter, and body motions are fairly controlled. It's not a sports sedan--you won't confuse it with a GLI because it's not quite as nimble--but the around town, the ride was good. The seats are comfortable, the driving position is good, and the interior is remarkably well screwed together.
If you want a small wagon that gets great mileage, this is pretty much the only game in town.
COPY EDITOR CYNTHIA L. OROSCO: I was hoping this VW diesel would be similar in experience to driving Audi's great Q7 diesel, but it wasn't. The diesel on this Jetta had me turning up the radio, or turning it down wondering what that constant noise was. Noises such as that bother me in cars; they're just nuisances.
That aside, this Jetta wagon was a good drive and ride. I would have liked a better driver's seat position, as I felt like I was leaning too far back, even with the seat as far forward as possible. The materials inside are nice, though, the sound system is good, and the navigation was one of the most user-friendly I've sampled. The exterior lines are nice and kind of make you forget this is a wagon; it's quite sporty. There is good power underhood, although I did notice some jerkiness in getting up to speed and in braking. On a sloppy commute this morning, the Jetta handled well overall, despite some fishtailing. And the heated seats and large greenhouse were much appreciated on a cold morning full of careless drivers.
SENIOR EDITOR FOR NEWS BOB GRITZINGER: Other than the typically off-tune AM radio, the tight squeeze on backseat legroom and an occasional whiff of diesel smoke, I can't see much about this VW that I don't like.
At this price, you get a solid, practical and economical machine, with plenty of diesel torque, a nice ride and a well-equipped and well-appointed interior. I particularly appreciated the suspension and steering set up, which telegraphs what's happening on the road without sacrificing every bit of ride comfort. It was like I could tell exactly where each tire was and how it was making contact with the pavement, which are traits reserved for far more expensive and/or far more performance-oriented vehicles.
This VW SportWagen hits the sweet spot on virtually every important measure.
2010 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI
Base Price: $25,060
As-Tested Price: $27,950
Drivetrain: 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel I4; FWD, six-speed sequential manual
Output: 140 hp @ 4,000 rpm, 236 lb-ft @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,332 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA): 34 mpg
Options: DVR satellite navigation ($1,790); six-speed DSG ($1,100)