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
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.
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.
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.....
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.
Handling and comfortable ride.
Upscale cabin materials (when new), but fall apart over time.
Better build quality overall (electrical, body and engine)
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
Recall the entire year and offer an apology to all those deluded people that thought German engineering meant something other than cheap defective manufacture.
2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX Fwd 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5A)
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.
Suspension is great! Again the leather is very luxurious. The sound system is good. The wagon gives much needed space. I am more of a BMW person but I will have to wait and get an 09 model. It is very roomy for head and legs. It is very solid.
Gas millage is terrible! It is built so you have to take it to the dealers for service. My car friends refuse to work on it because nothing is accessible.
You have to take the body apart to do any real work on the car. It lacks power and hesitates on acceleration. The timing belt replacement is a nightmare and very expensive compared to most cars. My next car will be an Acura so I can get help from my friends to work on it.