2003 Volkswagen Passat Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Volkswagen Passat

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Volkswagen Passat Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 5900 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 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.

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Almost 100,000 and feels like

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

We purchased this car new in 03 (03 Passat Wagon 5 MT, heated seats, monsoon sound), my wife drove it for 98,000 miles with minimal hassle. She replaced with an 08 Passat Sedan (6 MT not offered in 09). Car has been well maintained by dealer with mainly wear and tear items. Car is a blast to drive. Kind of a sleeper; five year old station wagon that can get up and move. You feel safe and sure footed in all weather and all road conditions. Mileage: I have been getting 26 to 27 in city driving (I do stomp on it a bit but coast steady when I can); I think on highway only trips it gets 32 or 33.




2003 wagon great car

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

2003 Passat GL Wagon, 5 sp MT. Heated seats and monsoon audio. Great car. My wife drove for 5 years 98,000 miles and we bought her a new 08 Passat sedan (arrest me red) with a 6 sp MT. This car is new to me since I only drove it a handful of times since 2003. Ride: Great Performance: Great Comfort: Great Safety: You feel very secure in a VW Reliability: Fine, we have a very good dealer near by that is a pleasure to deal with.




Nice car, but

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

Still a nice car after 2 yrs and 40,000 miles. Car brought in for 40,000 mile service, rear break pads were worn and I was shocked to find pads and rotors need to be replaced as same time. I'm used to honda & toyota & subaru where the front breaks do the work (and need service) and the rear breaks can be pretty much ignored.




Don't buy a vw w/

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

The Passat with a 1.8T engine is horrible! it has been in and out of the shop with many problems including the engine had to be replaced at 31,000 miles. VW North America would not stand by the product until a law suit was threatened. Bottom line... avoid the car. There is a reason why VW is rated next to last by JD Powers for customer satisfaction.




Great wagon

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

Very nice car (my wife's). Wonderfull fit and finish, loaded with safety features (air bags, anti-lock, pinch free window) very comfy. Rides on air with enough road feel to make it seem like you are part of the car. More room than most SUV's without lugging 4000lbs around. Quick around town and on open road. Great on long trips (took turns and drove staight through from NY to FL)




Love our family wagon

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

Purchasing the Volkswagon Passat Wagon was a compromise between me and my husband. We previously owned an SUV which I hated from day one. I wanted a comfortable sedan. He thought we needed more space. We were also in the market for a new car for him. He got the sedan at the same time. We love them both. There are a couple of pet peeves I have about the vehicle - the blinker doesn't shut off until the steering wheel is almost in a straigt position and I find the windshield wiper controls hard to maneuver - but minor details compared to everything else. The back seat is also a bit tight with two car seats back there.



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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.

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Talk About The 2003 Passat

2003 Volkswagen Passat Discussions See all Started By

manni24
manni24
12-26-2013
Hello, I could really use some good advice here. I've just replaced the timing belt in my 2003 VW passat wagon. While aligning both left and right camshafts to fit the camshaft alignment tool, I turne...


shaneatlanta
shaneatlanta
12-17-2006
I was sitting in a drive through waiting for my order and my 2003 passat started shaking like it wanted to stall. The engine light came on and luckily I was about a mile from home. I drove slowly home...


extra80
extra80
01-31-2007
VW is not very responsive. Google Volkswagen Passat Engine Sludge and related keywords, and there appear to be alot of issues out there in terms of VW supporting their product....



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