2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual Consumer Review - Constant expensive repairs, but fun

2003 Volkswagen Jetta - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

560 Total Reviews

Wolfsburg Edition Sedan (1.8L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual)

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Constant expensive repairs, but fun to drive when working.
By rocketknight on


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


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.

Favorite 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!!!

Suggested Improvements

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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