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

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.


Wish I'd gotten one of the good ones

I'm glad some of these reviewers like their Passat's and have not had problems. My 2003 wagon has the 1.8 turbo engine and has had problems almost from the get go. I've had vacuum hose problems, had the water pump impeller fail, had the brake light recall problems (twice,) had a problem with the cam shaft, rear rotors (and brakes of course) replaced twice, fuel injector problems, and more! While many of these were fixed under the warranty I didn't plan on spending so much time dealing with repair issues for a new car. I had a ten year old Saturn that presented fewer problems. Now that the warranty is mostly done (I have a few months of power train warranty left) it's starting to cost money I'd rather not be spending on a five year old car. And Volkswagen just seems to think it's not a problem, I guess they don't expect that much quality in their vehicles. We'll find out tomorrow what's up with the most recent flashing check engine light and burning smell. But hey, it's been a month since the last repair, I suppose I should be glad. I do like the way the car drives when it's working and like that it fits me comfortably.


Four Years of Satisfaction

bI've owned this Passt GLX automatic V6 for over four years and still really enjoyed it. I've take good care of it, changing oil every 3,500 miles or so and have driven 40,000 miles. My biggest complaint is that in city mileage is terrible--about 16 mpg (tried to adjust it, but could not be done) which is expensive when using the recommended high test gasoline. Highway mileage is a respectable 29-31 mpg. Oil changes are expensive, because I use the recommended high test fuel. (I have a friend who uses low test and says she has no problems.) I was disappointed that shortly after the warrantee expired, I needed new rear brake rotors, but that seems to be a common problem. VW uses a very thin original rotor. The higher performance replacement I purchased cost aout $250. Also, no matter what windshield blades I use, they start to squeek after a month or so. For a few days, the moonroof refused to close without a nudge, but that fixed itself. Driving on the highway is a lot of fun. The car simply cruises along- totally pleasure. The interior leather held up well. The electronic adjustable heated seats are super comfortable at all heights. Despite kids and dogs, the seats still look as good as new but the thin cloth roof lining shows damage easily. The exterior paint looks great--people still ask me if its a new car. I like the dashboard design, The dashboard colors were revolutionary when introduced and oh yes, the radio/cd/stereo with the woofer is fabulous-better than Bose. So I definitely recommend this car. Volkswagen made it a bit bigger in 2005, I think, and my 2003 model has a sportier look. I also don't like the new rear light design. I understand there are lemons out there, so maybe I've just been lucky, but I used to "upgrade" cars every two years, and have no intention of trading in this one, even after four and a half years.


So Good I Bought one

I've owned this car for about 2 months now, and I've never enjoyed driving so thoroughly. I purchased a 2003 Wagon with the 1.8 litre turbo 4-cylinder engine, with the 5 speed standard transmission. It's a sea-foam green, which I'm not too fond of, but most everybody else seems to be. It has a beige leather interior with a single disc CD changer, a sunroof, roof rack rail bars and cargo area retractable cover. It came with 16" alloy wheels, and power windows, among other amenities. I payed $13K for it with 67.5K miles on it, which seemed like a bargain, being that it was in mint condition, which nary a scratch or dent on the exterior, and the only noticeable wear to the interior to the outer side of the drivers seat leather, which is understandable. Everything has worked well, and I've never been so satisfied with a car. Definitely a nice surprise


My Last Volkswagen

I loved this car when I bought it, and I was even happier the day I got rid of it. I don't know if I disliked the car more, or the lousy dealer service that I received from both dealerships that I went to. The car gives the appearance of a high quality vehicle like a Mercedes or a BMW, but it is only skin deep. If you insist on buying one, stay away from the 4cyl turbo, unless the owner can produce very oil change receipt that the oil was changed at 5000 miles. The engines are prone to sludge and VW will not honor the warranty if you don't have the receipts. Also stay away from ones with sunroofs as the drains clog, and the interior floods and the computer under the rug will be ruined. Good luck if you buy one but dont say I didn't warn you.


A total money drain! Save yourself!

If you want a car that spends more time in the shop undergoing expensive repairs then this is the car for you. We bought this car brand new and it has been nothing but trouble since we got it. the electical system is always completley doing wierd things that even the dealership can't figure out how to fix. I think volkswagon intentionally designed this car so no one would be able to fix it without it costing an arm and a leg. Please save yourself the pain and buy something else.


Great car for the money

I bought this car new in April 2003. My dealer experience was very satisfying. The car has very good handling reponse. It is very quiet,almost no road or wind noise.Very good sound system. I bought the wagon so it has more than ample storage space.I like the no nonsense european styling.Gas milage averages about 23 MPG combined city-highway.I think it is a much better choice than the upper line Accord,Camry and Altima in handling ,quietness and Fun Factor.


W8 - Enjoy the ride . . .

Love this car (PASSAT W8). Fun to drive and is the perfect touring car. The buttery soft leather bucket seats and comfy ride are something I look forward to with each drive. The acceleration is smooth, powerful and predictable . . . a joy with each launch. Take my advice and get one, today.


Good Performance but expected more reliability

Although I was happy with the handling and performance of the car, as soon as the warranty expired (literally at 48,000 miles), the breaks had to be replaced.



Passat has a smooth ride.good disain,and extensive safety features, the V6 engine is quiet and strong. I had no problem with this car.