2003 Volkswagen Passat consumer reviews

$21,750–$22,825 MSRP range
side view of 2003 Passat Volkswagen
71% 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

Even a cavewoman would love it

I have owned my Passat GLX since 2003. (6 years now). The only real problem I have had is with the brakes, which had to be replaced after the warranty ran out (how do they do that so consistently). You must find a good, honest mechanic (they are out there). the VW dealers in the DC region have the lowest possible ratings. I only use synthetic oil, and change it every 5,000 miles, and only premium gas. City mileage is atrocious 15-16 mpg, but I get 29 on the highway. Lately I have had to put a half a quart of oil in the engine every 1,000 miles. The seats are incredibly comfortable (I have a bad back but can drive for hours on end) and the sound system, with a gentle subwoofer under the seat, is terrific for rock, jazz and classical . I read all the ratings, and am dreading the time when my luck runs out, but to date I wouldn't trade the car for anything. I don't like the new model designs, which are bigger, but less sporty. My only regret is that I wish I had gotten a rear spoiler, just for aesthetic reasons.


Excellent Purchase

after long search for replacement for an old gas guzzling SUV, decided on a used 2003 GLX Wagon. car had only 29K miles and a good service history on Carfax and from local VW dealer. had the car for over a year now and put 16K miles on it. car drives smooth, is quiet, handles good, is comfortable, has all features you could need, is stylish, but could use more power. have changed the oil to synthetic and changed every 5K miles. had auto tranny and differential serviced @ 40K miles. now that I know car is solid, performs well and up to date on all maintenance I have started upgrading and modifying. think if you decide to go with a Passat you must make sure to maintain it well from new or buy a used one with a good, documented service history. very happy with my purchase and will recommend to others.


Excellent car

I bought mine a basic GL used, I have never had any problems with it, I'm 21 and i do all my oil changes on it. I have no ideea why all these people complain about, if you take good care of it you shoudn't have any problems. I had a chevy before and i put way more money and time into that one then into the Passat.


The Best Car I Ever Had

bought in 2004 a used 2003 passat with 30k miles now i have 147k miles runs like a champ never had a problem but i do every 3000 miles oil change


Great Handling, Expensive to Maintain

We have the wagon. Fun to drive and we really like the ABS and traction control. Very comfortable interior; lovely ride. Lots of cargo space. The wagon is somewhat noisy inside. I am rather short and appreciate the good visibility. Biggest downer is the high cost of maintenance. Lots of repairs. Interior design issue: the ashtray in the center back is just the right place for little kids to kick it open and break it. Over and Over.


Would buy another Passat in a heartbeat

We have loved this car. It has always done well for us and we have never had any issues with it at all. I would definitely get another one. We had to sell our first VW because we were leaving the country for 3 years and it broke my heart to part with it. We will always have VWs. If you take care of them properly, you will never have issues.


My 5th VW and still fantastic!!!

This car was fantastic! There are a few lemons out there and VW sometimes has issues with the electrical systems in their cars because their tolerances are SO precise. My Passat was PERFECT. I kept it for 5 years and only got rid of it to upgrade to an Audi A4. I maintained the vehicle very well and never had one breakdown. There is definitely some turbo lag off the line, but this car is SO fast. The problem with these vehicles is people don't maintain them properly and don't understand that a turbo charged vehicle absolutely needs to have 91 octane gas or higher... Anyway, I would do everything the same again in a heart beat.



Just over 50000 and everything is falling apart. Engine repair $6000! I have always wanted a VW and will never drive another. Very disappointed.


Caught on Fire

We bought this car in 2006 to save a few $$ on gas. And the mileage was great! Unfortunately the reliability was awful and we spent much $$ on repairs. Two weeks ago something happened and the car caught on fire (after we were out of the car and the ignition was off). The fire department had to be called to control the fire that occured under the passenger side of the dashboard. The fire investigator believes that the fire was caused by the electrical system. To the lady in LA who smells something buring, I say get out of the car now.


Danger! Turbo ahead.

At only 60,000 miles - I have put nearly $5000 in repairs on this car in the last 4 months. Most recently the oil pressure! which cost me $2500 and if I had produced receipts of oil changes (VW dealer receipts only by the way) then it would have been covered. Selling it this weekend - want it? Make an offer.