2003 Volkswagen Passat Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.8 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 190 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2003 Volkswagen Passat

  • This is our favorite midsize car -- in both sedan and wagon form. Don't make your vehicle choice without driving one.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Fun to drive, excellent value in GL or GLS trim, roomy interior with upscale feel, outstanding build and materials quality, available all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Expensive upper-level models, can't get AWD on GLS, less rear-seat room than Camry or Altima, some confusing interior controls.

  • What's New for 2003

    For 2003, a base GL sedan and wagon are available. Think of the GL as a GLS 1.8T for buyers who don't require any extras like alloy wheels, leather upholstery, seat heaters or a sunroof. Meanwhile, alloy wheels and sunroof are now standard on GLS models. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system will not be offered on GLS V6 models, forcing interested buyers to cross the 30-grand line; however, VW has made stability control (ESP) optional on all Passats (except the W8, which has this standard). Also this year, you'll be able to get W8 sedans and wagons with a six-speed manual transmission and a sport package that includes a firmer suspension and the requisite 17-inch wheels. Lastly, the standard stereo head unit gets backlighting for the buttons.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (40 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


The best unreliable car i

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

I loved this car but I could no longer afford the crazy maintenance costs. AT 60.000 miles the water pump failed - Timing Belt needed to be replaced - AC system started leaking and eventually ran out. ( after 3 trips to the dealership they finally found out where the leak was ) 2200 to repair I changed the break lights as often as I changed oil.




Low profile, low cost ownership

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

I've owned this midsized sedan for almost two and half years now. I bought it used with 40K miles on the ODO. At 52 K miles I've replaced a CV joint from an aftermarket parts supplier. The cost was far cheaper than dealership prices. Parts the were replaced under VW warranty were: the VW engine cover emblem, rear trunk struts, side blinker lights & rear ashtray. This car corners well with the right type of tires installed. I replaced the cheap tires that came with this car from the dealership and the difference was noticeable. Parts are best bought from online suppliers to save on cost if you plan to keep this vehicle for at least 10 years.




High maintenance

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

I really liked the look of the Passat. It drives well, handles good, and gets pretty good gas mileage (24 on average). The brake system is terrible. I have had to have the rotors and the brakes changed every year and most of my daily drive is highway. You have to go to the dealership for every thing (head light replacements, wiper blades, etc.). I've had to take it to the dealer at least 5 times for recalls. The kicker is the car requires high octane gas. It won't perform well on regular gas.




Don't buy if you drive

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

I got exactly what I wanted with this car. Comfort and good quality. It's quiet as well, and designed well inside. From the outside it's boring (which is fine with me, but bad if you drive to impress). But the build quality is excellent. The finish resists minor bumps and scratches. I had a minor fender bender and it didn't even scratch the bumper. It has three really bad points, though. First, it has terrible mileage (14 miles/gallon around town, which gets pricey when you also have to use 91 octane fuel ). Second, the fuel tank is small, so I only get 190 miles per tank. Last, the steering wheel takes a lot of effort to turn. That's fine with me, but my wife won't drive it.




Don't ever buy one!!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

I had very poor customer service. I had been doing service with them for sometime on a 99 Beetle that ran like a charm, 135K. Traded in for the Passat. Fell in love with it for one day. Light came on, and stated it had a vapor leak, the axle and cv joints were shot, front passenger seat replaced, oil and transmission pan replaced, two hoses replaced, very squeaky brakes, back right window didn't work, and two different sets of tires. Dealership had never shown or mentioned any of this until after purchase, and after I had been in 5 times in less than a month. I finally had enough and as I was about to trade it in, all of a sudden it started leaking transmission fluid everywhere!!!!




Wish this car was worth

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

I don't understand.. I hear that VW's are supposed to be great cars, but this car is so expensive to repair!! CV joints/axles are unbelievable and 5k miles after being replaced, axle is out again! VW dealerships are very unfriendly, and want over $500 for any little thing. Temp sensor has gone out, alternator out, transmission kicks ugly when downshifting from 2nd to 1st, sharp object about to poke through leather from inside of seat, interior is peeling really bad (doors, trim, console, back ashtray, etc..), car burns excess oil (approx 1 qt. every 1k miles) NOT NORMAL for 2003 with 75k miles and full castrol synthetic 5w-40! Poor gas mileage even though premium fuel is used as REQUIRED!



Full 2003 Volkswagen Passat Review

What's New for 2003

For 2003, a base GL sedan and wagon are available. Think of the GL as a GLS 1.8T for buyers who don't require any extras like alloy wheels, leather upholstery, seat heaters or a sunroof. Meanwhile, alloy wheels and sunroof are now standard on GLS models. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system will not be offered on GLS V6 models, forcing interested buyers to cross the 30-grand line; however, VW has made stability control (ESP) optional on all Passats (except the W8, which has this standard). Also this year, you'll be able to get W8 sedans and wagons with a six-speed manual transmission and a sport package that includes a firmer suspension and the requisite 17-inch wheels. Lastly, the standard stereo head unit gets backlighting for the buttons.

Talk About The 2003 Passat

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs