2003 Volkswagen Beetle Reviews

2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS 2.0L from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.0L Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.6 / 10
Distance when acquired23000 miles
Most recent distance121000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Malibu

Summary:

This car is nice looking, but a maintenance nightmare

Faults:

Every window motor on this car has failed at least once. The second series of window motors are now failing. The cost is over $2000.

The transmission has been replaced at a cost of $5800 at approximately 65,000 miles.

The head light low beams continue to blow out fuses. I've resorted to leaving the beams on high, although other motorist do not like the high beams shining in their face.

The air conditioning continued to blow fuses, but I finally found someone who repaired that poorly engineered electrical circuit.

There are other minor issues inside the car, but they are trivial compared to the other costly issues.

General Comments:

I will never buy another German car. I've similar issues with BMWs. I've found that my domestic cars are now at least as well built as the foreign cars I own. I've owned Mitsubishi, Mazda, GM, Ford, Toyota, and Isuzu vehicles, and all the maintenance costs put together have not equaled what has been spent on this Volkswagen. I just can't afford to part with it, since I still own money on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th October, 2010

2003 Volkswagen Beetle GL 2.0 from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.0 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired50000 miles
Most recent distance56000 miles

Summary:

The car is poorly designed and engineered, but cute to look at

Faults:

The check engine MIL light came on.

Replaced the temperature sensor, without resolving the problem. ($20)

Replaced the thermostat ($20), which did resolve the problem, and it has not returned after 6 months.

Broken door lock ($400), replaced under the extended warranty.

Shattered oil filler tube ($20).

Note: I do this work myself. A dealer would charge $100s in labour.

This car drinks oil. 1 quart every 1000 miles is normal.

General Comments:

This car is very stylish, but not it is not a good car.

Access is very poor, so doing work on the car is difficult.

The trunk is very unpleasant to use, due to the style of car. Lifting shopping in/out is really hard work.

Cabin is small and rear seats are uncomfortable.

Trunk is too small: won't take a set of golf clubs without folding the rear seats.

Build quality is dire. I have also owned a German built Passat, which was excellent. The Beetle is of the quality I would expect from GM in the 1980s. Very disappointed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th June, 2010

2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLX 1.8L turbo from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 1.8L turbo Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.6 / 10
Distance when acquired20 miles
Most recent distance115000 miles

Summary:

Great at first, sadly a money pit in the end

Faults:

So far, and I'm sure I'll leave something out:

Rebuilt alternator, twice.

Black paint on interior (handles, dash, instrument panel) is peeling.

Center console latch broke.

Cup holders broke off and were not able to be fixed without ordering new ones.

Drivers side window doesn't go down all the way.

Upon reaching 90,000 miles or so the engine coils began to short circuit. Have replaced all of them once now, and within three months they are dying again.

Problems with keeping hoses in place in engine, causing almost constant check engine light.

Timing belt broke while at a stop light one afternoon, causing engine damage. Had engine rebuilt (valves replaced).

Headlights consistently blow out.

General Comments:

The car I have is a limited edition color "Cyber Green". Visually attractive, green leather interior accents, green alloy wheels to match. Super cute super fun car. Got it brand new, have truly enjoyed the car.

Things started going downhill around 60,000 miles. This is when the alternator had to be rebuilt. Other problems have compounded and now I am looking for another car.

I must point out, the car I have has been driven hard! VW's are intended to be driven hard, and I definitely did that! Put over 100,000 miles on my baby, and sadly once they get over 60,000 miles on them, it seems they start to fall apart.

Must also point out, seems the problems I have had are common with the TURBO new Beetles from the 2002-2004 range. My mechanic has mentioned he has seen a few of these turbos come in with the same problems. Must be an issue with the design of the turbo, at least that is his opinion. If you are buying a beetle buy a NON Turbo!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th September, 2009

Average review marks: 5.4 / 10, based on 21 reviews