The 2009 VW Jetta SportWagen TDI is frugal and fun, but its DSG transmission doesn't suit the diesel engine. Should you buy one?
Why you should buy the 2009 VW Jetta SportWagen TDI:
You want a car that's pretty fast and very frugal and your Labrador hates being left at home. You want a practical, economical family car, but you haven't been brainwashed into thinking your only option once you're pregnant with your first child is a 9-seat Suburban. You like the idea of hybrid fuel economy, but not the lackluster hybrid driving experience. You're a white lab coat-wearing teutonophile with a thing for precise oil-burners. You understand what's going on underneath the hood of a car and are able to wrap your moderately-sized intellect around the concept of DSG.
Why you shouldn't buy this car:
You eat every meal at Mickey D's and your idea of automotive excellence is a late ‘90s Buick. You think diesel is the fuel of communists. The idea of your car doing anything other than slushing its way slowly up to highway speed questions your fundamental understanding of the world. The idea of a Palin/Limbaugh ticket in 2010 has you up at night polishing your guns with excitement. You're the average driver and, like all your peers, you've subconsciously learned to fear any car that requires any thought from its driver. You know how to drive stick.
Speed Merchants: No
Fashion Victims: Yes
Mack Daddies: No
Tuner Crowd: No
Penny Pinchers: Yes
Euro Trash: Yes
Working Stiffs: No
Soccer Moms: Yes
Nascar Dads: No
Golfing Grandparents: Yes
Very Serious Businessmen: No
• Manufacturer: Volkswagen
• Model: Jetta SportWagen TDI
• Model year: 2009
• Base Price: $23,870
• Price as Tested: $29,410
• Engine type: 2.0-Liter, 4-cylinder, in-line, turbocharged direct injection, common rail diesel
• Horsepower: 140 HP @ 4000 RPM
• Torque: 236 Lb-Ft @ 1,750-2,500 RPM
• Transmission: Dual-clutch automated manual
• Curb Weight: 3,285 Lbs
• LxWxH: 179.4" x 70.1" x 59.2"
• Wheelbase: 101.5"
• Tires: 205/44 R16
• 0 - 60 mph: 9.5 seconds (manufacturer quoted)
• Top Speed: 128 MPH (manufacturer quoted)
• EPA Fuel economy city/highway: 29/40 MPG
• Jalopnik Fuel Economy: 37.4 MPG (city/highway mix 25/75%)
• NHTSA crash test rating: ****(Driver)/****(Passenger)/*****(Side, front and rear)/**** (Rollover)