Used 2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
ADVERTISEMENT

2003 Volkswagen Passat - Consumer Reviews

2003 Volkswagen Passat Sedan

Average Consumer Rating

431 Total Reviews

View reviews for a specific Passat model:
ADVERTISEMENT

Sort by

Most Recent|
Most Recent Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating
Best car I've ever owned
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By eggheader
on

Vehicle

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


Review

I bought new, now have over 230,000 miles. This is a fun car to drive, especially with the manual. Have not had any major mechanical issues. The paint and interior have held up very well. Only annoyance is that the headlights burn out more often than most, but are easy to replace. Keeping up with preventive maintenance and fixing small problems quickly are essential though! Parts are expensive, and I agree with other reviewers that dealer service departments are terrible- I found a great VW mechanic locally.


Favorite Features

Steering and suspension, build quality, transmission, leather seats, fuel economy.


Suggested Improvements

More power- the stock 1.8T is a little weak. I upgraded with a power chip that adds 20 hp or so and quite a bit of torque- definitely was worthwhile to me.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Excellent purchase!
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By vampirecat019
on

Vehicle

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


Review

I've had my Passat for two years now, and besides regular maintenance and a few repairs I could do myself (Aged plastic hoses, etc.) which ANY car would need replaced at 120,000 miles, it has been an excellent purchase! There are a lot of reviews on here saying the Passat is junk, but if you can't properly inspect a car to see if it has been maintained like any car should before you buy it, you're a moron, and have no right to slander a perfectly good car. After initial purchase with 110,000 miles, I changed the water pump and timing belt myself. Yes, I had to take off the front bumper. Boo Hoo! This is one of the EASIEST cars I've ever owned to work on. I've had an RX-7, Impreza, Accord.


Favorite Features

Turbocharger. I hate automatics, and promised myself I'd never buy one, but I like the Tiptronic. However, my next Passat or Jetta will be a manual transmission, and probably a TDI. They have ridiculous torque and superb MPG.


Suggested Improvements

I wish it came in a manual, turbo, all-wheel drive model that was easy to find for the same price.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Avoid the turbo without a thorough inspection
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By checkengine88
on

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


Favorite Features

Interior, features, design.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Love and Hate Relationship
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By tmf12192
on

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.


Favorite Features

I loved the look and feel of the car , from the timeless grey exterior to the leather appointed heated seats. Pickup was a dream powered with a 1.8t engine, always first off the stop line. Once going it handled just like you'd expect a German sports car would. The car aged very well as far as looks, still very modern inside and out. The interior was comfortable with higher end finishes and easy to use controls. I previously owned an 02 Passat (not much difference) and was involved in a bad T-bone accident with a Dodge Ram and while the Ram driver was injured I walked away without a scratch. My side curtain airbag deployed keeping me and my passengers safe. Very thankful for such a safe car.


Suggested Improvements

My only complaint about the car was the reliability, very expensive to keep on the road. I'm all for preventative maintenance but it's hard to stay on top of it when your spending all your money on hidden problems. CV boots are always on the list for replacing, as well as tie rods. 3.5 years owning this car and 6k in maintenance. Fun to drive when working but that's about it.....


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Ok car but expensive ongoing maintenance
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By spomps
on

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.


Favorite Features

Handling and comfortable ride. Upscale cabin materials (when new), but fall apart over time.


Suggested Improvements

Better build quality overall (electrical, body and engine)


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

ADVERTISEMENT

Write Consumer Reviews

Write Consumer Reviews

Write a review and rate your own car.

ADVERTISEMENT

New Car Buying Guides

See which cars and trucks our editors recommend

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411