Our 2011 Canadian Golf Wagon (aka Jetta Sportwagen) is a 2.5l gasser with a manual stick and around 45K kilometers. As you would expect in a modern Volkswagen, it is a remarkably solid over-the-road car and it just eats the highway miles. The interior materials and fit and finish are first class. Around town, the steering is perfectly weighted and gives excellent feedback. The fine steering combined with the independent rear suspension setup endows the car with excellent agility. It is a hoot to fling around corners.
I dislike the choice of long gear ratios in the 5-speed manual. The drop in revs between second and third and third and fourth gears means the engine falls out of its power band on each upshift. For a 2.5 liter, this engine is surprisingly peaky and given the ratio choices, you really need to rev it out to get the most from it.
Sadly, at higher revs the engine is noisy and sounds coarse. On the other hand, people have told me they like the offbeat sound of the inline-five. There is some minor throttle lag on acceleration, but worse, the ECU keeps engine revs high when you back out of the gas, so engine braking is not there immediately when you want it.
So far (touch wood), the car has been extremely reliable. The left front coil spring, strut and strut mount were replaced under warranty by our local VW dealer. We had no complaint, but apparently their mechanics discovered an issue and repaired it at no cost to us. I would prefer to replace struts in pairs, but there you are. We had mentioned to our dealer on a couple of regular visits that the panoramic sunroof rattled. The dealer replaced the entire assembly, again at no charge to us and that problem is resolved.
Overall I like this car a lot, however I would much prefer if it had the lovely turbo-four in other VWs, instead of this 5-banger, and a set of transmission ratios chosen for real-world drivability and not just fuel economy.
We'll be in the market again in 2016 and we hope the new Mk7 Golf Sportwagen will address these issues.