I needed a car to transport my paralyzed K9 to water therapy, vet, etc. She couldn't climb into my 2000 jetta and I couldn't rely on a friend any longer. I got lucky and found the one used Sportwagen available from my local dealership in exactly the color and trim level I wanted. 26,000 miles later and I know I made the right decision. It's been on two road trips with dog in tow and I'm plotting my 3rd. Highway mileage consistently exceeds 31 mpg.
Love the styling on the SW. The big red tail lights look sexy on a white wagon. Love the fact that exterior styling has remained virtually unchanged 2009-2013 with exception of the grille change.
I own a 2000 Jetta GLX but when my dog became disabled in April 2010 I had to get something better suited for transporting her. The Sportwagen did the trick. I was able to find a pre-owned Certified 2009 model in April 2010 with 10,000 miles. With a large dog mattress and the rear seatbacks moved forward this is the perfect dog transporter with room to spare for luggage. Drove from San Diego - Branson in 2011 and San Diego - Montana in 2012 in perfect comfort and I like the gas mileage with the 2.5L engine.
Bought the fishnet luggage wrap to provide safety when transporting the dog with luggage.
Past personal experience
I knew from past experience with my 2000 GLX that VW builds a fun driver. The Sportwagen hasn't disappointed but I do miss the VR6. AC is excellent. Drove across the AZ-CA desert last week in 118 degree temps for 200 miles in complete comfort in bright sunshine. Even the dog was comfortable until I'd stop for gas or a leg stretch. My 2000 VR6 is a quieter ride but the SW handles as well and has an independent rear suspension - unlike the GLX which has a solid rear axle.
Interior quality is consistent with previous models - better in some respects.
Recommend a good test drive before deciding on engine choice. The 2.5L 5 cylinder may be too tame for some drivers.
This car is not as quiet as my 2000 GLX sedan. Drive train is noisier and there seems to be road sound coming in from the rear wheel wells. Not enough to make me give it back but I do compare it with the quiet drive of my 2000 Jetta sedan.
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