2003 Volkswagen Passat consumer reviews

$21,750–$22,825 MSRP range
side view of 2003 Passat Volkswagen
70% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.2
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value for the money 3.6
  • Exterior styling 4.2
  • Reliability 3.5
Explore the 2003 Volkswagen Passat

Notoriously unreliable

The most unreliable car ever !!!! just stay away from it. the MIL light comes on every few months and the VW dealerships don't have a clue.not worth the high price. i will never buy a VW again


Get rid of it before it breaks down

The most unreliable car that I have ever owned. Numerous and very expensive trips to the dealer made life stressful for me. The check engine light comes on every few months. I will never buy this brand again. German engineering at its absolute low !


Good comfy ride..but creates a hole in your pocket

I had the 2003 Passat GLS for over 4 yrs. When it drives it is great ( nice, comfortable, smooth ride ). However I got tired of the endless repair trips that I had to make to the mechanic and the cost involved. The cost of ownership is very high and the reliability is very low compared to other cars in it's class. Not sure if a lot of people are willing to sacrifice reliability for comfort these days!!! VW should make sure that reliability of future Passat models is high to ensure continued loyalty amongst the consumers. As for myself I will not buy another VW or recommend one to my friend !!!


Expensive Repairs

Have GLX wagon. 87Kmiles. Still looks good but this has been the most unreliable car we have ever had. Since 60K have spent 6K in maintence. 3K on A/C. $1500 on premature timing belt. Other regular repairs more than mercedes due to high labor. Air bag warning light is on and will cost at least $400 to fix. We have had cars with 150K plus with less problems. We will never consider VW again.


Best Car Ive ever owned!!

I just purchased my 2003 Passat and Im in love its fast quiet smooth riding very roomy even though it looks small from the outside Im extremely happy with my new car!!


Most Enjoyable Car I've Owned

Just purchased a 2003 Passat W8 Sport Wagon,love this vehicle! Bought it and drove it a 1,000 miles home on my first day,awesome highway driver.I give the ratings I did based on the price I paid and the miles I have on the car which is 56000.The heated leather seats, Monsoon audio and 5-speed Tiptronic are just a few of the many features.Also this wagon came with the sport suspension and the 17in alloys from BBS.These wheels take the car from a 3 to a 4 on styling.Reliability remains to be seen but two weeks have seen $450 in maintenance costs including a brake fluid change,cabin air filter and a faulty brake vaccum hose which set off the check engine light. All that aside though I love this car and after the 10,000 I paid I figure I have a lot to spend on maintenance on a 40,000 dollar car. If you want a solid performance sedan that you wont see on the road then this is the car for you.


The most expensive car to maintain I've ever owned

The Passat has great styling, and nice features. It drives well on trips. Unfortunately, it is unreliable, and has required frequent maintenance. This is complicated because the 3 or 4 dealers that I've used are poor, and very expensive. They are secretive about their computer codes, making it very difficult at times to go to an independent mechanic. Sadly, Volkswagen is no longer the automobile of the people. You will need financial resources to operate this vehicle.


My 2003 vw passat GLX

I bought this car in summer 2006 with 38K on it. now it has 120K. The car is very good, and it stil drive like new. The only two problems I had with it are at 57k I had to replace the axle boots, and at 115k I had to replace the enigne mounts. The car is great, strong, but expensive maintance. Timing belt coast $1200.


Sweet Passatt

2003 Passat GLX Wagon, 91K miles. Needed a few repairs. Bought 6 weeks ago. Ran rough at first, but good fuel and some highway miles have smoothed things out. Some minor electrical problems still to be corrected: heated front seats, intermittent wipers, rear window washer. Original tires! A dream to drive. I hope to keep this beauty for many more years.


Buyer Beware

VWs are nice looking and a smooth ride, but unreliable and expensive to maintain. My car began having problems after only 3 years and 65k miles (nearly all highway). Most of the issues have been electrical-related, and repairs have been frequent and expensive. Among other things, it began leaking oil into the turbo at 75k miles, which would cost thousands to repair. An independent repair shop indicated that the car "was having problems at 75k miles that no car should have until it has at least 150k miles on it." This probably explains the car's fast depreciation and low resale values. My plan was to own this car for 8-10 years but it looks like I will have to replace it at just over 6 years. This is my second and last VW.