2003 Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion 2.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


An amazing all-rounder


Climate control buttons got 'sticky'.

Centre armrest latch broke twice. Replaced with a cheap part from eBay, and it never broke again.

Gear lever boot wore badly and came adrift. Again, eBay to the rescue very successfully.

Seemed to chew through brakes quickly, but it's probably more due to my 'enthusiastic' driving. Enough brake dust on the front wheels to cover Tasmania.

General Comments:

When I first purchased the VW, it was standard, but over time I made many changes to enhance its performance.

As a standard vehicle, it is an almost perfect blend of luxury, performance, safety and economy.

The bad:

- Back seat legroom is minimal. No good for adults, and it means kids can easily kick the back of the driver's seat. Not good.

- Cruise control is fiddly to use, and the indicator/wiper stalks feel like they're going to snap off.

- Don't really like the rotary sunroof control. I would prefer a simple open/close button.

- Always seemed to be replacing brake light globes, despite the electrical system being perfect and undamaged.

- Revs a little high on the highway for my liking. A taller sixth gear would be beneficial to bring down the RPM @ 110 km/h. The close ratio 'box is great when you're driving with passion, but it's a pest in city traffic.

- Bland styling according to some.

- Not much room to work in the engine bay.

- Leather wore out quickly.

- 95 Octane fuel required, 98 after upgrades. Economy/range quite poor once supercharged - not a surprise.

- The car was a written off following flood damage in 2011. Hope to replace with a Golf R soon.

The good:

- Excellent performance. Even when standard, this engine had 150kW and torque in all the right places. Once I added a Vortech supercharger and had some work done with the exhaust, induction, driveline and electronics, it was phenomenal (if expensive). I never had it officially timed, but I have driven plenty of brisk cars, and this VW could comfortably blow the doors off many of them. My seat-of-the-pants-o-meter estimates a 1/4 mile time of 12 seconds or 0-100 km/h in the fours. Custom extractors and Milltek muffler sounded glorious.

- Grip/Handling. I used to live for wet weather in this car. It lost very little acceleration on a wet road. In the dry it was very planted and responsive without being twitchy. As a standard car it was good without being great, but a few carefully chosen upgrades really brought it to life. However, to be fair, it was not quite up to Evo X standard!

- Interior Comfort. Supremely comfortable for a long drive. Superb seats in the front, and a good big boot to carry all my junk. Love the sunroof, too! Lovely steering wheel and gear shift - anything aftermarket would have been a downgrade!

- Styling. This car was the ultimate sleeper. Reflex silver, standard wheels, unobtrusive exhaust. I even stuck a 2.0 badge on it to help keep away the police and street racing idiots. Stylish enough without standing out.

- Reliability. This engine is bulletproof. Even with the mods, it never gave trouble. I expected gearbox/clutch issues, but they never happened.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th April, 2012

2003 Volkswagen Bora 2.0L petrol marked FD3 from Australia and New Zealand


We love the Bora


No. 2 spark plug lead blew. Replacement cheap but awkward.

The mini disc player (not popular here) does not go. Just as well there is a 6 stack CD player in the boot!

General Comments:

Funtastic! Loads of features and great to drive.

Solid, stable ride with all interior comforts.

Heaps of control knob lights for night driving - especially good for navigating the great stereo in the dark.

Fuel efficiency rates 42MPG best on highway and 32 MPG on average around town though the tyres must be smaller than spec as the speedo registers 57KM/H when the car is actually doing 50Km/h.

The V5 is a serious performer, but I prefer less performance and better fuel economy as with the 2.0L model.

Maybe we are lucky in New Zealand where we get used imports made in Germany ex=Japan! Imports from America in any brand tend to get bad reports for reliability here.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st May, 2010