2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan - Consumer Reviews

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Avoid the turbo without a thorough inspection
By checkengine88 on 06/27/14 18:16 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLS 1.8T Fwd 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Review

Bought it used from an as is dealer. Trunk only opened with a key and the coolant looked a little funny, but I talked him down and thought I was getting a good deal even after I had to sink some money into it. $1900 later I gave up. The car kept over heating as engine oil was getting into the coolant system. Had the engine oil cooler, water pump, belts and thermostat replaced and it overheated again. I had to call it when they said the next step was to replace the turbo and if that didn't work, the head gaskets. Oh and the electrical module under the seat was faulty causing the trunk problems. Please take it to a dealer for an inspection before you buy it used. Had it for a month
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2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Love and Hate Relationship
By tmf12192 on 04/23/14 22:16 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLS 1.8T Fwd 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Review

I loved my Passat, but hated when it went in for service. I work at a VW dealer so I'm thankful for an employee discount otherwise I'd had to get rid of this car long ago. It didn't matter if it came down to something as little as an oil change there was always something wrong. I owned my car 3.5 years and through 4 PA state inspections and it didn't pass any of them on the first try. I bought the car with 70k and trading it in on Tuesday with 115k on the odometer. Currently no check engine light, but to pass emissions it needs an O2 sensor and possible vacuum pump. After 3.5 years and almost 6k spent on service I've had enough. I loved the look and feel of the car just not the upkeep.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Ok car but expensive ongoing maintenance
By spomps on 03/22/14 05:42 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

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

Review

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.
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4 of 8 people found this review helpful
Avoid this car like the plague
By nakie on 09/19/13 23:18 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLS 1.8T Fwd 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Review

This is the most unreliable I've ever owned. This model is total rubbish and should have had recalls on the engine and all the hoses attached. It is the ultimate in cheap manufacturing. I have replaced the transmission all hoses and connections below the engine(plastic fittings that all cracked) the dip stick holder(plastic) that came out in multiple pieces when checking the oil the engine that froze and died when the oil strainer became clogged with sludge( the red light came on telling me to stop but by the time I could get off the road the engine was starved of oil and had to be replaced
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Good Car but doesn't leave room for upgrades
By kekoa1 on 09/02/13 16:44 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A)

Review

The interior is very nice and comfortable. I love the quality of leather. I inherited the Passat at 70,000 miles. I really wish it were turbo. I am going to put in a K&N CAI to give it more spunk. It does not accelerate quick enough for me. I wish I could do a turbo conversion on it but it would not be worth the cost. It is a difficult car to work on because you would have to remove so much of the front end to get to work. I am not looking forward to the 100,000 timing belt change. It will be very costly. No one likes working on these for fun. I like the tight handling. It needs more power. If I could find a good chip maker I would add one. Turbo is the way to go because you can modify.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
People need to understand their cars better
By vw2003b5 on 04/13/13 19:24 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLS V6 Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)

Review

This is my second VW i got this one very used it had 160K and one thing i can say for sure is you have to make sure all your maintenance is done up to date. These cars are very sensitive to that. I do my repairs my self Synthetic oil MANN filter Premium Gas and good K&N air filter I'm getting close to 30mpg on High way and 25.5 mpg in the city. Dealer is the last place i would go they are rip off specially Valley Motors in Hunt valley MD Changing oil and never touche filter or charging for service they don't do. Help your self and find a good small shop tech that knows VW and go to him he will keep you rolling for my repairs other than oil change I go to Izzy auto service in Reisterstown
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3 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would not recommend this vehicle
By deck3 on 05/21/12 16:36 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

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

Review

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.
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3 of 3 people found this review helpful
One of my favorites
By wg_h66 on 04/14/12 06:52 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLX 4Motion AWD 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A)

Review

Purchased mine used '07. Overall a very fun and satisfying car to own. The fuel efficiency really wasn't that great and it is premium only, so it can be expensive. The only issue I had with it was due to the cabin pollen filter not being maintained properly. Two days of heavy rain and the passenger side floor was filled causing computer damage. (I had no idea going in that this was an issue). If you are reading these reviews before purchase then you will have a very dependable car.
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Worst car ever
By dreidjr on 03/02/12 13:41 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GLS 1.8T Fwd 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Review

I purchased this car used in march of 08 with 70k on it, within the first month my car was back at the VW dealer water magically found its way into the cabin destroying the CCM $1200 fix. Two months later ignition coils go bad causing car to have a misfire... $350 fix. 4 months later i pull off from the stop light i smell coolant and see smoke coming from engine compartment.. pop the hood theres coolant squirting everywhere.. towed to vw dealer 1300 for a clamp.. really vw?? a day later same thing happens again..within the 4 years ive owned this car i probably paid more in repairs than its worth DO NOT BUY this car unless you like wasting money
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5 of 10 people found this review helpful
passat
By marlene2 on 01/13/12 15:53 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan GL Fwd 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Review

the worst car nothing but trouble after 3 years
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