2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan

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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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (36 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ok car but expensive ongoing

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

Bought new in 2003, still going with 172,000 miles. Comfortable and great handling car but it comes at the price of expensive, ongoing maintenance. The check engine light has been on for at least 1/2 its life and I just ignore it. Sometimes it goes off, sometimes it doesn't. Have had to deal with it every 2 years to pass state emissions though. Dash lights stopped working at 107k miles and had a wire meltdown. Required a new wire harness ($3,500) so I just use a clip on book light to illuminate the dash at night. If it weren't for the expensive and ongoing need for repairs, I'd highly recommend this car, but can't.



3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Would not recommend this vehicle

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

My 2003 Passat had 91,000 miles when the engine sludged; a known problem with this engine. This car has been more stress than the $14,000 purchase price. The original sludged engine had to be replaced with a new engine ($3,695), installed and the engine reset ($977 + $252), as well as the cost of a replacement car ($900). Stress and towing not included. VW's CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT regarding the Sludging of its Passat vehicles has been anything but easy. VW had multiple hoops to jump through. The Oil Sludge Settlement Administrator group had told me on more than one occasion that I would be "reimbursed 100% of the above expenses", but I just received a reimbursement check barely large enough to cover the cost of the engine ($3991.98). What a shame. This engine had problems, VW was aware of these problems, and VW was taken to court and made to reimburse those who purchased these problems. This company, Volkswagen, is not a reputable company to deal with based on my dealings with them. Both their product and business handlings have been of poor caliber. I would not recommend doing business with Volkswagen.




Avoid at all costs!

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

I loved my car when I first bought it. It is beautiful and the inerior is very well done and they use quality materials. That's where the love story ends. When it was just over three years old the check engine light came on and it was the brake light switch, which was replaced under warranty. Not long after the car broke down on me on the way to work, it was the fuel pump, they replaced it. They had to replace something that was allowing fuel vapor into the cabin a few month later. The new fuel pump needed replacement within a year of the original being replaced. The clutch had to be replaced (out of warranty) at five years old. The thermostat was just replaced the CV boot 2 yrs ago.




All of my love

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

This wonderful car is a reliable workhorse. After 4 years of 2k miles a month this car has only needed minor expenses for tune-ups. I can't express how well built and dependable it is. The ride quality is head and shoulders above Camry or Accord. I love my car.




Pretty good.

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

As my first real car, I lived in Orange County and bought it @ 66,000 miles Certified. Two car accidents. One cross country trip from California to Boston. One winter later it has 105,000 miles on it! GULP! But it's fared pretty well. I've had a few minor electrical issues, and an engine leak but after the terrible VW Customer service honored everything it was alright. After putting over 105k miles on a 5 year old car it still coasts the highways SO SMOOOOTHLY. I need brakes done shortly, first time since 66,000 miles. Just got my timing belt done and ready for more. Good Car considering everything Ive done to the poor thing.




Can the car last five

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

I was so happy with the car until June 2006 when the turbo went while driving, this just 1,000 miles after the 60,000 mile checkup at the dealership? Coincidence or engine design of the car? Does someone call and ask you how much do you love your car? Implying it is too costly to repair a car like this. Thank goodness I bought the extended warranty from outside (Continental) they covered most of the expenses except for full labor ($105+) here in NY they only cover up to $75 per hour the job took almost 10 days.



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

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs