2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Vehicular Version of Sensible Shoes

By Joe Tralongo

2009 VW Jetta Sportwagen

Break out your sensible shoes, girls: the age of wretched excess is coming to an end.
Look up there — gas prices are up there to stay. Down at your feet? That’s the value of a buck for a long time to come. Bigger isn’t better anymore. Downsizing is the new black.

2009 VW Jetta Sportwagen

Depressing, right? Not so much. Instead of the crusty SUV that suddenly is as out of fashion as a random Kardashian, there’s a sensible alternative that’s new in 2009, and it comes with one of the most efficient engines on the planet.
The 2009 Volkswage Jetta SportWagen is all those things, which to the Gaywheels staff makes it the most logical car on the planet. It’s a car, not an SUV. It’s big enough to comfortably hold four people and their luggage, yet when equipped with the TDI diesel engine it gets better than 50 mpg on the highway.

2009 VW Jetta Sportwagen

If you’re familiar with the Jetta Sedan, you already know about 80 percent of the SportWagen. The two share the same platform, interior, safety features, engines and transmissions. The unknown 20 percent is made mainly of a large enclosed cargo hold and a massive panoramic glass sunroof.
Inside, the trendy lighting and interior design are growing a bit old, but are still leaps and bounds above the fit and finish of many modern interiors. On the flip side, the level of luxury amenities offered by VW nearly reaches Audi status. We do hope VW will improve the iPod interface on this car, but chances are good it will be the same, poorly integrated system experienced in the 2008 R32. The system uses the CD changers port and cannot display song titles. If you’re a music aficionado be sure to test out the system before you purchase this upgrade.

2009 VW Jetta Sportwagen

Like the one night stand with the slightly dowdy wardrobe, it’s always what’s underneath the clothing that counts, or in the case of the SportWagen, what’s under the hood. Three engine options include a tepid but inexpensive 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a performance oriented yet miserly 2.0-liter turbo (available only with the pricey SEL trim), and a new, 50 state compliant 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine. Although diesel is foreign to most drivers this engine is worth a good hard look, because its gas mileage ratings are insane. VW estimates city mileage in the mid 30s, while highway figures are expected to top 50 mpg. And the diesel is no slug either, with more torque (that’s the power to pull and pass) than most V-6 engines produce. And while its true diesel costs anywhere from 40- to 70-cents more than gasoline, diesel allows you to travel nearly twice the distance on a single tank.
Manual transmission fans who live with an automatic-only lover will rejoice at VW’s decision to offer the wonderful auto/manual Direct- Shift Gearbox (DSG) with the diesel engine. The DSG can switch from a fully automatic transmission to a one that allows the driver to change gears manually without the need to depress a clutch pedal. Pretty neat, huh?
Pricing for the SportWagen ranges from around $19,000 for the base 2.5 S to about $28,000 for a fully loaded SEL. Look for the 2.5 S and SE, and 2.0 SEL to hit showrooms this June, followed by the high-mileage TDI diesel come early September.

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