Used 2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan - Consumer Reviews

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Fun little car with some quirky issues
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Andrew
on

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan GL 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)


Review

First thing, I love my Jetta. Despite it's tiny 115hp, it is a blast to drive thanks to the manual transmission, great steering and fun ride. I have owned my Jetta for three years now, and have had very few issues. I live in Wisconsin, and this car surprised the hell out of my friends who had trucks and SUVs by its' performance in heavy snow and ice. For some reason, it is unstoppable in winter weather. I am also 6ft 1 and have plenty of head and legroom while driving. I am disappointed with the gas mileage, I usually average 26 mpg combined, but have gotten 31-32 mpg on long highway trips. The biggest downside with this powertrain is undoubtedly the engine. I frequently have difficulty passing or I have to downshift 2 gears to make it up a small hill. I wouldn't mind if the return was excellent mileage but the mileage as I mentioned is somewhat mediocre for a car of this size. My only truly negative experience was an EPC censor that would put my car in limp mode. The censor randomly would go off when I would start it, and acceleration was limited and the car would max out at 50mph. I took it to several mechanics and a dealer and eventually found out that a botched repair from a previous owner was to blame. Just be careful with these cars though, as the electronics are really touchy and can be expensive to fix. Other than that, I love my car and have had no other mechanical issues to speak of. I highly recommend this car as a cheap, fun to drive car that isn't as vanilla as a Ford, Chevy or Hyundai.


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Won't buy another car until this one EXPLODES!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By bradspunky06
on

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)


Review

I have owned this 2003 VW Jetta, since 2006, bought w/23788 miles. It now has 196483 miles, still on its original clutch, its fifth set of tires. The first set went via burning rubber on launches for the first 20k of my ownership. If any portion of this car has a problem it would be caused by my abuse. I've only replaced the timing belt twice, and its still good as new. Interior is still as new except driver side entrance bolster. The engine has only gotten better and the transmission easier to shift. This car is miles of smiles for the dollar, and should be tops on your list. 31 mpg on long drives, 25-27.3 in town avg. Keep tire pressures all around at 4 lbs under max, for best handling!


Best Features

Once broken in the transmission is the smoothest in the business, the blue and red dash lights, and that all the buttons on doors and dash vents light up too! Denim like fabric, deep bolsters, tie downs in the trunk. The Monsoon sound system rocks, makes your hair move, with subwoofer deep bass, from just two rear door speakers, 1 per door. Hold the open knob for roof, after it has opened, in open position to fully open sunroof.


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Fun to drive, but MANY quirks
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By jfromphilly
on

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan GL 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)


Review

My Jetta got totaled a few weeks back. She was a great car in many ways, (fast, fun to drive, gas efficient) & I got 130,000 miles out of her. However, I decided not to get another Jetta. Here are a few of the reasons: -Anytime there's a repair (and there will be many) you will pay $1000, minimum. -REEKS of crayons. (inevitably the first comment anyone makes setting foot inside the car) -Strange clicking noise coming from the turn signal -Lights turn on and won't turn off again (had to have the mechanic take them apart to get them off) -The electrical outlet/cig lighter stopped working a month in & after multiple repair attempts I had to just give up on it


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Constant expensive repairs, but fun to drive when working.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By rocketknight
on

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)


Review

Fun to drive. Too expensive to own! Breaks often, all unusual problems, always over $1K to repair. Engine design is terrible! Water pump broke at 32K miles/4yrs. 2/3 of transmission needed replaced at 100K from the plastic hydraulics reservoir bursting. Plastic parts throughout engine are designed to last <10 years. An engine fuse didn't burst when shorted causing a small engine fire. Plastic parts break when removing to get to broken parts. Metal fuel lines bolted over plastic coolant parts with no line flex make DIY very difficult. Most parts can only be obtained through dealers. Aftermarket parts cause check engine light to be constantly on, only solution is dealer parts @>2-3x cost. ETC.


Best Features

Fun to drive. Comfortable interior. Fast but not overly fast, yet feels fast when driving. Tight turn radius. I just wish the reliability wasn't so horrible. Even with the pros, it was the most costly and worst car I have ever owned. I should have gotten rid of it years ago, and wish I never bought it to begin with. And it doesn't retain its value at all, for obvious reasons. The car was practically a waste of money!!!


Worst Features

Replace plastic engine parts with metal or high quality heavy duty rubber. Add sufficient flexibility to all lines to allow for 2 inches or so of movement for repairs. Do not bolt metal brackets for fuel lines over plastic coolant system components when connecting to the engine block. Add extra space in the engine compartment to allow space for tools for repairs. Properly train your engineers to be mindful of accessibility for repairs! Those who designed this engine have obviously never performed a car repair themselves! Labor costs are always very high - takes extra hours. VW should stop ripping everyone off on the part costs (ex. over $150 for a $7 plastic air hose only sold at dealers).


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I loved my car, but it was unreliable.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By vdub4lyfe
on

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan GLS 1.8T 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)


Review

I got a jetta turbo. the timing belt blew, then the tranny went out. i sold it cheap and bought a bug. I loved the jetta. I would buy another one, but i fell in love with the bug. make sure you check the history with any foreign car. especially make sure the timing belt was changed before you bought it and that the oil has been changed regularly. And don't let the VW dealer lie to you and steal your money.


Best Features

Cute car, fast, and fun to drive.


Worst Features

Better reliability. Timing chains. and put a transmission dipstick in, so i can check my transmission fluid.


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