2003 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen Jetta Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 115 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 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.

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



146,000+ miles, lots of fun,

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8T 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I have owned my 2003 1.8T 5A GLS wagon since new and now have over 146k miles. It really is fun to drive and has amazing cargo hauling space. But . . . expensive to maintain and gets only about 21 mpg on premium. Make sure you have a good mechanic. Mine is one of the best, and I still have a funky/random issue - a beep, blinking dash lights, then a power drop, as if the tranny disconnected with the engine. As much as I like driving the car, I think I'm going back to Honda when old blue bites the dust.




My all time favorite car

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

Of course its looks caught my eye first. Cute, but more than cute - stylish. Some cars have a classic, timeless design like a certain Honda Civic. This generation of Jetta does too. Bought it used with 21K miles, and gradually fell in love with it. Never got great gas mileage, about 21mpg. But I liked its zippy handling. Great car for city driving (and parking). Very useful cargo area. Rear seat a bit cramped for big adults. Engine is remarkable. Once, by necessity, drove it 8 miles without oil. Replaced punctured oil pan, added oil, and kept on going. Difficult to clean the beige interior, so I sold it. Hard to find a car this small on outside, this big on inside, so fun to drive.



3 of 5 people found this review helpful

This one is a heart

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8T 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

What can I say? I've poured money into this little beast, and everything is still breaking. If its not a circuit board, its a vacuum hose or an oxygen sensor... Everything just falls apart on this car, and there seems to be no stopping the decline. I just rebuilt the transmission, replaced two axels, two boots, the A/C circuit board, the windshield washer pump, the windshield... you name it I'm replacing it. It drives great, and I loved it for a while... but this thing is high maintenance & annoying. Not worth the fun drive at all... I've already dumped an extra $6000.00 into this car, and that's what its worth now.... :(




Great commuter

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I've had this car for 4 months now and have put over 30,000 km on it driving from Calgary to Saskatoon and Calgary to Vancouver. Car is great for commuting and relatively cheap for regular maintenance. If you can do regular maintenance on a gasser - you can do it on a diesel! Just be sure to use a good diesel fuel additive/fuel filter to prolong the life of your injection pump and take it for a good run regularly to keep the turbo clean and prevent sticking. My injection pump recently went from cheap fuel filter, bad diesel and no fuel additive - $2000 bill, follow the above advice to avoid this costly repair and you'll be happy with the car!




Fun, small wagon

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8T 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

So far, so good with my '03 1.8T manual wagon. I have had other VWs and wanted a small but sporty wagon and I picked this one up certified pre-owned in September 2006 with 34k miles on it. I have had to replace wear and tear items (brakes, etc.) but I have get to have a mechanical problem with it. Sure, it has quirks (sunroof sometimes opens by itself; cupholders are useless but I don't use them anyway; sometimes te rear hatch doesn't like to open). To me, these are minor annoyances that don't impact my love of the car. I plan to run it into the ground since there aren't any fun, small wagons on the market I like (new Jetta too large). So far, so good at 82k miles.




Good at first but then......

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I loved this car for the first 60,000, then it was just problem after problem. I kept good care of the car but was having continuous issues with the water pump and other minor things. The major problem was the fact that a lot of parts in the engine were made of plastic so instead of replacing just a simple section of a part the whole thing had to be replaced. I averaged about $600 every time the car went in. About 2 years ago I spent over $2,400 at one time!! Recently the car had some more problems that included the fuel pump. I took the car in and the mechanic told me it was not worth fixing. The car had 119,000 miles on it. It did it's job. The sunroof was possessed.



Talk About The 2003 Jetta

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Discussions See all Started By

robertbk
robertbk
08-31-2014
I have a VW 2003 VR6 jetta and lately I need to turn my key 2-3 times to start the car. Then while driving during daytime hours its stalls after 30 - 40mins. With EPC light on. I also have an engine l...


ch515
ch515
05-15-2014
I bought a 2003 Jetta yesterday. When I test drove it everything seemed fine. Finalized the sale and drove it off the lot. About ten miles down the road going 60 mph, it was surging up in the 5-6000 r...


ajfranz85
ajfranz85
04-16-2014
I have a 2003 Jetta and recently had to have the starter replaced. Ever since then the transmission will not up-shift between gears until 4200 rpm, and wont down-shift until 1200 rpm. I was wonder if ...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
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