2003 Volkswagen Passat Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Volkswagen Passat Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
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.

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Great car except... 2 things

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I'm writing this review because I just got backed into. And if the blasted horn were to work when the car is turned off it would not have happened. What I want to ask you Mr. Hans Designor is why must the hatch lock everytime it is closed? How is this a safety feature? And how in the world is it safe to be unable to use a horn when your car is turned off? A paranoid hypocondriac grandmother could not design a more annoying electric locking system.



16 of 16 people found this review helpful

Classy ride

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

My wife and were looking for something that would be a good fit for our growing family of 3. It seems everywhere we go we needed a stroller and had to get groceries and haul a baby bag. A wagon was the best choice for us. We looked between a Subaru Outback, Mazda Protege5, Kia Spectra5, and the Passat. All of which are increasingly hard to find in good condition without having to sell the farm. We picked the Passat wagon and are very please with the good mileage and smooth power of our 1.8T and Tiptronic. Our is a GLS so it doesn't have everthing but is very comfortable with black leather. The Monsoon audio system sounds great! Great car for us so far.



2 of 16 people found this review helpful

Repairs equal purchase price

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

My brother bought this car for a little old lady 9 months ago for 5k. Haha, ya right. He has already spent 4k fixing it and his mechanic says the ball joints are going, onther 1k. What a lemon. I drove the car, it may or may not have been owned by a little old lady but it definitely drives like one. What a piece of junk.



5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Worst car i have ever

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Bought this car brand new off the lot, brakes squeeked from day 1, when I inquired with the dealer I was advised "all new car's brakes squeek". I took to an independent mechanic at 8k miles, the mechanic stated my brakes were completley failed, rusted. The mechanic told me the brakes were so bad I should stop driving asap, I had the car towed to the dealer. The dealer b.s.'ed me and told me my brakes were fine, I believed them. They were not, at just over 12k miles, they were gone, dealer said brake warranty over at 12k, they strung me along until the warranty ran out. The dealer stated it was because i lived near the ocean, that is why my brakes failed!!Numerous other issues as well.



18 of 18 people found this review helpful

Oil sludge at 120k! read

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

Sure I took a risk buying this car used at 119,500 miles, but all the reviews online were pretty good for this car. 400 miles later I started having oil pressure lights and engine lights come on and when I googled the symptoms, I got all kinds of bad news about the car. Oil sludge is a problem and if it's not fixed fast, the engine will need replacing. I'm not even sure if there really is a fix for this problem. If you have this car, get it checked right away. These reviews make it look like a good car, but be careful and read the forums to see what will really happen if you purchase/own this car. 2002 also has this problem



7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Great car, expensive to own

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Vehicle: 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion AWD 4dr Wagon (4.0L 8cyl 5A)

I think the title says it all. I absolutely love driving my wagon around town and killing it on the highway. It will do about 140 mph pretty quickly, although you'll still get 23-25 mpg at 65-70 mph. It is a rather expensive car to maintain...an oil change runs 120 bucks but it's good for 10,000 miles. Everything and anything that is on or near the engine is a nightmare to work on and costs lots of moola. If you don't have the money to spend on repairs, do not buy. However if you're looking for something fun in the sun, and cool in the snow, than this is the ride for you. Also, I'm 6'6" and there is plenty of room for me.



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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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
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