What's more attractive to a Volkswagen lover than a Jetta sedan? Maybe a Jetta wagon.
Introduced earlier this year as a 2001 model, it's the first wagon version ever of VW's eminently likable compact sedan, which was introduced in the United States in 1980.
For 2002, four engines are available -- a 1.8-liter turbocharged four, a 2.0-liter four, a 1.9-liter turbo diesel and the one in my tester, a 2.8-liter "VR6," so called because the V formed by its two banks of three cylinders is tighter at 15 degrees than those of ordinary V-6s. It produces 174 horsepower but, in 2002, a four-valve-per-cylinder version of that engine is to replace it, rated at 201 horsepower.
Of the fours, the one with the most horsepower now is the 1.8T, at 180, up 30 horsepower from last year's 1.8T.
But the current and upcoming six-cylinder versions boast more torque and are quicker off the line, with no delay while the turbo spools up. VW says zero to 60 mph takes just 8.1 seconds.
The top of the line model, which I drove, with the GLX equipment level, had a starting price of $25,400.
The price leader among Jetta wagons is the GL with the 2.0-liter, 115 horsepower, four-cylinder engine, starting at $18,200 with freight for 2002.
That's precious little horsepower for this 3,000-pound car, but the rest of the GL's standard equipment list is pretty impressive, including air conditioning, an alarm, four-wheel disc brakes with antilock, cargo area cover, power locks, stereo with cassette player, side impact air bags, roof rack, tilt and telescoping steering wheel and tailgate wiper/washer. Just add gas and go -- or add $875 for automatic transmission, then add gas and go.
Kudos to Volkswagen for making every wagon version available with stick shift.
For power windows and mirrors and cruise control, however, you'll have to upgrade to the next level -- GLS, for another $1,000.
For added driving enjoyment, consider spending $800 for 17-inch wheels (instead of the standard 16s) and a sport suspension, although that performance package is not available in GL level vehicles.
My tester had it, and I'd recommend it.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.