Compact car: VW Jetta SportWagen TDI

5 best compact cars for family needs
2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI
  • 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI

  • Price: $26,640
  • Gas Mileage: 29 mpg city/39 mpg highway

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI runs on diesel fuel rather than gasoline. That's the reason for its impressive fuel economy -- the best on this list of compact cars.

As a station wagon, it also boasts the largest cargo capacity with 32.8 cubic feet. Folding down the split rear seat grows the cargo space to 67 cubic feet. At 35.5 inches, rear-seat legroom is about average in the compact segment.

Despite the popularity of minivans and crossovers, station wagons remain a viable mode of family transport. The SportWagen spices up the experience. The engine is a 140-horsepower, 2-liter turbo-diesel. Included in the posted price is a six-speed, driver-shiftable, automatic transmission. The ride is smooth and the handling sharp.

Interior styling is modern, tidy and functional. Passenger comfort is very good for a compact car.

Among the standard features are full power accessories, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, windshield washer nozzles, trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 10-speaker audio system with in-dash, six-disc CD changer, satellite radio auxiliary audio input.



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