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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Thu, Oct 2, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

SPORT + WAGON By Harvey Schwartz

The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportswagen S is one of the best small, sporty wagons with an emphasis on flexibility and versatility. Moreover, it is an easy car to drive and returns a good MPG rating of 21mpg/city and 29mpg/highway. It is also the lowest priced ($18,999.00) European-made sport wagon, and is perfect for active singles and young, growing families.

The car sits wide and low, enhancing its handling and giving it a more contemporary look. The exterior styling is what you expect from today's Volkswagen designers - a large, signature chrome grille up front with intakes on the side and headlamp clusters nicely cut behind clear lens. The sleek silhouette features a low front end, swept-back windshield pillar, aero-styled, power-remote, side mirrors, pull-out door handles, large side windows for better visibility all-around for safer driving and for passengers to watch the scenery pass by. The black-matte roof rails blend into the sleek look and add even more cargo capacity for long journeys. The unique rear fascia features dark-tinted glass, a roof-mounted spoiler, large lift gate for easy loading and unloading, rear wiper/washer, large wrap-around taillight clusters, and two, two-inch round exhaust tips peering out from under the left side of the rear bumper. Inside is roomy and comfortable with a flexible cargo hold that can be further expanded when you option for the front-passenger folding seatback. The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive for long rides. The T-shaped dashboard is well laid out with easy-to-use dials, buttons and switches. The instrument cluster is easy to see and understand with a large speedometer and tachometer. The steering wheel feature standard tilt and telescopic ability for the perfect angle and reach for more comfort.

The second-row features two-air inlets to bring cool or heated air to the rear seats that are split 60/40 so you can arrange easily arrange both seating and cargo-carrying flexibility. The rear cargo hold features thick carpeting, four-chrome tie-downs, pull-out security cover and cargo net. With the second-row seats up you have 32.8 cubic feet of space and 66.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded. Grab handles at each door help with entry and exit. Standard comfort and convenience features include Climatic AC/heating with CFC-free with pollen filter, power/heated outside mirrors, adjustable, intermittent front wipers/washers, AM-FM-MP3 audio system with 10-speakers and single-CD disc player, auxiliary input jack, cruise-control, front/rear/side defrosters, rear wiper/washer, 12-volt power outlet, anti-theft alarm with immobilizer theft-deterrent system, remote keyless entry, power windows all express up/down, central locking system, thick pile carpeting, dual, illuminated vanity mirrors, interior ambient footwell lighting, front/rear reading lamps, front dual cup holders, padded armrest console with storage, seatback with map pockets, and a self-dimming rearview mirror.

Power comes from three available engines and two transmissions. The standard engine is the 2.5 liter five-cylinder DOHC all-aluminum engine that generates 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque that can take care of any hauling needs. The optional engine is the high-output, 2.0 liter, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. New this year is the TDI 2.0 liter diesel engine that is turbo-charged and generates 140 horsepower and an amazing 236 pound-feet of torque. These excellent engines are mated to a standard smooth-shifting, five-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

Underpinning the steel unitized body is a unique, all independent suspension that features MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup in the rear. The independent suspension gives a more comfortable and precise riding experience. The electro-mechanical, rack & pinion steering is weighted nicely and reacts quickly to your inputs. Large disc brakes at all four corners quickly and safely brings the VW Jetta Sportwagon S to a stop. Up front are 12.2-inch vented discs clamped by dual-piston calipers and in the rear are 11.6-inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers. Braking control and power are enhanced with standard ABS and brake assist.

My Jetta Sportwagen S rides on standard 205/55R16 Continental Contact tires wrapped around 16 X 7 alloy wheels which was the only option on my test vehicle. The standard package is 16 X 7 steel wheels with covers. VW puts safety to the extreme with a host of standard features including electronic stability control, traction control, driver/front passenger front airbag, driver/front passenger side airbags, side curtain protection for front and rear, emergency locking retractors for all seating positions, lower anchors for LATCH child seat, daytime running lamps, directional signal lights on side-mirrors, side protection door beams, front/rear crush zones, and a tire pressure monitor system. The 2009 Jetta Sportswagen S is a fine German made wagon that is fun to drive, comfortable for five passengers, and flexible enough for all active lifestyle and growing family needs. It tested the base S trim level and was very satisfied with my test drive.

© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SIDEBAR COMMENT The Jetta Sportwagen represents a rarity in the world of automobilia - i.e., a wagon that looks sleeker and sportier than the sedan it's based off of. Not that the Jetta is a bad-looking car, but more than one member of the press has likened its silhouette to that of a Corolla. No one will ever mistaken the Sportwagen for a Corolla. Moreover, the Sportwagen is a very well-thought out wagon, with utility to match its style. - Roy Nakano SUMMARY JUDGMENT A right-sized wagon at the right time. For more information on Volkswagen products, go to More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at

SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2009 Volkswagon Jetta SportWagen S Price: $20,099.00 EPA mileage: 21mpg/city, 29mpg/highway Engine type: 2.5 liter DOHC, inline 5-cylinder Horsepower: 170 hp at 5,700 rpm Torque: 177 pound-feet at 4,250 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel-drive Transmission type: 5-speed manual standard, 6-speed Tiptronic automatic optional Front suspension: Independent, strut front with coil springs, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Independent, multi-link with gas-charged shocks, coil springs, stabilizer bar Wheesl/tires: 205/55R17 all-season radial tires/17X7 aluminum alloy wheels Brakes: Front: 12.6in. vented discs with dual-piston calipers Rear: 11.9in. solid discs with single-piston calipers ABS and Brake Assist, traction control standard Overall length: 179.4 in. Overall width: 70.1 in. Overall height: 59.2 in. Curb weight: 3,285 pounds

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