2003 Volkswagen Jetta Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.9 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 90 hp @ 3750 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 35/45 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2003 Volkswagen Jetta

  • The Jetta is no longer priced like an economy car; yet, its powerful engine lineup, near-ideal balance between ride and handling and premium cabin materials make it one of our top recommendations to small car buyers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful 1.8T and VR6 engines, fuel-efficient TDI powerplant, fun to drive, comfortable ride, rich interior materials, loads of standard features, solid build quality.

  • Cons

    More expensive than most small sedans and wagons, tight rear-seat legroom.

  • What's New for 2003

    Volkswagen eliminates the GLX trim level for wagons -- this means that those who prefer the VR6 engine to the 1.8T engine will have to stick with the sedan. As a consolation, GLS wagons equipped with the 1.8T are eligible for a premium package, which bundles traditional GLX content like power seats, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, wood interior trim and a trip computer. Additionally, VW has made the 1.8T available on both the GL sedan and wagon. GLs now have power windows and mirrors, cruise control and a CD player, while the GLS gets a standard sunroof and alloy wheels. All Jettas are available with stability control (ESP), heated seats and the Monsoon sound system. Other changes include a ULEV rating for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, redesigned cupholders and backlit buttons on the standard stereo head unit.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (25 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

250k mile review

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI 4dr Wagon (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)

Original owner of a great commuter car. Have had no major problems mechanically. Still get 44 mpg overall with 80/20 hwy/city. Ride and drive a re still surprisingly good despite having 250,000 miles. Bought the car to be able to haul cargo and get good gas mileage after using a 1/2 ton truck. Still on original clutch, brakes, transmission, etc. Very impressed with the car overall and would not hesitate to buy again when this one dies.




Reliable and still love it

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI 4dr Wagon (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)

Purchased this car new in summer 2003 with the intention to keep it a very long time. Now has 105k miles. Stayed on top of recommended maintenance and have only had to replace a glow plug at a dealer for $130 and a sensor, possibly for water temp, for $140 at a trusted auto shop. That's it! I recommend finding a shop with a former VW tech or someone with TDI knowledge for maintenance and repairs. Mileage is still outstanding at around 50 mpg highway and 44 city.




Diesels yes, gasoline no

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI 4dr Wagon (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)

I have 73,000 miles on the car and have had no maintenance needed other than the standard periodic checkups and oil changes. I have better than 50 mpg'total (I have not added it up since 50K but at that time it averaged 50.83). I have own 5 V.W. diesels and put on nearly 150K on three at 10, 12 and 17 years old. I would stay away from the gas version of the cars but I intend to keep this one and would purchase a diesel again.




German engineering?

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI 4dr Wagon (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)

The TDI engine and the handling of this car were certainly the highlights. Reliability was horrible, making me wonder why they emphasize "German Engineering". Overall, the car was very fun to drive and solid over my 60,000 miles of ownership. I sold it due to having to take it to the dealership over and over: bad wheel bearing, heater coil, heated seat caught on fire while I was driving, each light, f/r went out within 20K, flickering lights, shudder in clutch, creaking sound from suspension, rear washer fluid tube plugged, just to name a few, there were many more issues, but can't remember all. Sorry, VW, but your premium price has lost me as a repeat customer.




Diesels are great

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI 4dr Wagon (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)

Manual trans is fun. I feel like I am in control just like years ago with the standard transmission. The pick up is good working the gears.




Tdi - the best buy

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI 4dr Wagon (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)

While the TDI engine is more expensive to purchase, the original great gas mileage - 49 MPG/HWY with the automatic transmission, continues to improve (now 52MPG/HWY). This car is quiet (running at 2,000 cruising at 70 MPH) and cleaner than my Passat 1.8T (approx.1,500 lbs. less CO2 pollution/yr.). This turbo-diesel is a joy to run and drive. It has great torque! The many choices for fuel just tops off its versatility (standard diesel, biodiesel and with a few adaptations, vegetable oil and waste vegetable oil).



Full 2003 Volkswagen Jetta Review

What's New for 2003

Volkswagen eliminates the GLX trim level for wagons -- this means that those who prefer the VR6 engine to the 1.8T engine will have to stick with the sedan. As a consolation, GLS wagons equipped with the 1.8T are eligible for a premium package, which bundles traditional GLX content like power seats, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, wood interior trim and a trip computer. Additionally, VW has made the 1.8T available on both the GL sedan and wagon. GLs now have power windows and mirrors, cruise control and a CD player, while the GLS gets a standard sunroof and alloy wheels. All Jettas are available with stability control (ESP), heated seats and the Monsoon sound system. Other changes include a ULEV rating for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, redesigned cupholders and backlit buttons on the standard stereo head unit.

Talk About The 2003 Jetta

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 35
  • cty
/
  • 45
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs