Back in May, we reported on Volkswagen of America's announcement that it would be switching the styling of the 2010 Jetta SportWagen to match the all-new Golf hatchback, and after seeing the car in person and in newly released press photos, I can honestly say the new car is much better looking. Although the Jetta SportWagen made its initial debut last year as a 2009 model, it used the same styling as the Rabbit and the Jetta sedan. In an attempt to capitalize on the new look of the all-new Golf, VW gave the SportWagen a cleaner, more unique appearance simply by altering the front end of the car.
For some reason, the North American buying public is still averse to the idea of station wagons, but the biggest complaint I had to the 2009 SportWagen I reviewed earlier this year was the front grill and headlamps. While the large headlamps and Audi-inspired chrome grille treatment looked good on the Rabbit, it didn't translate very well onto the larger Jetta sedan and Jetta SportWagen. With a cleaner, more mature look for 2010, VW replaces the chrome shield with a painted section of fascia breaking up the narrow upper grille and lower air intakes. Like the new Golf, the headlights are inspired by the Europe-only VW Scirocco and help to give the car more attitude. The only changes made to the rear of the 2010 SportWagen are slightly darker taillight lenses.
Not that it was necessary, but VW also used the exterior refresh as an opportunity to change up the interior by giving it a cabin that matches 2010 Golf. The biggest changes are noticeable to the driver as the steering wheel, instrument gauge cluster and the center stack all received minor tweaks. Changes to the steering wheel and gauge cluster give the 2010 SportWagen a sportier appearance, while the new center stack design helps create a more ergonomic cabin with a redesigned HVAC control head. Overall, the biggest improvement is the new cluster with an enlarged information display that was made possible by moving the temperature and fuel gauges into the empty space at the bottom of the tachometer and speedometer. The end result is a cockpit that looks and feels like the more luxurious Volkswagen CC rather than an entry-level economy wagon. As far as amenities go, Bluetooth connectivity is now standard on SE and TDI trim levels, while the panoramic roof and touch-screen navigation system continue to be popular options.
One area of the new SportWagen that remained untouched was the proven drivetrain which means that the 2.5-liter gasoline inline-5 and 2.0-liter diesel inline-4 are still available. The SportWagen S and SE trim levels both come standard with the 170-horsepower gas engine with the base model using a five-speed manual transmission and the SE getting a six-speed automatic. The SportWagen TDI continues to use the fuel-efficient, 50-state legal diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual or VW's six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission. Fuel economy in the TDI is still rated up to an impressive 31 miles per gallon in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.
The redesigned 2010 VW Jetta SportWagen models have already started hitting showrooms with a starting MSRP of $19,265 which is $190 more than the 2009 model. Pricing for the 2010 SportWagen TDI increased by $440 up to $24,310.