2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T from North America


Love the car and would buy it again even with the issues


1- Brake Light Switch.

2- Coolant Temperature Sensor Replaced.

3- Two Headlights.

4- A/C control lightbulb.

5- Driver front wheel bearing.

6- Radio Antenna Replaced.

7- Waterpump replaced.

8- Weather Stripping on Roof Replaced.

General Comments:

I've loved this car from the first day and still love it after 3.5 years.

The engine is very smooth with unbelievable torque throughout the RPM range.

The handling is great, except for the body roll. I put a rear sway bar on, and it’s cured the issue. Not only does it handle great, it now FEELS great (without the body roll).

There is a sense of class and quality when examining at the car. I love the look of the stock 5 spoke 17 inch rims. I'm still not tired of looking at my car. It has aged extremely well in my opinion.

I cannot find a fault in the interior. It feels like a much higher class car. Quality materials are everywhere, and they've held up well for 3.5 years. People still get into my car and mention how it smells like a new car. Makes me smile every time!

I can't stress the utility of this car. I've been everywhere! I’ve used it for Road trips and camping trips. I've carried skis, bikes, 4 sets of tires, tables etc. This car does it all!

The only downside is the amount of issues I’ve had with the car in first 2 years. The good thing is the last 30000km has been trouble free and I've never been stranded or towed.

I'll be keeping the GTI for another 8 years. I’m eyeing the 6th generation GTI as its replacement.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2006

29th Sep 2006, 17:55

I'm now at 77000km, less than a month before my warranty expires. No new issues to report. I'll be back in approximately 6 months for another update.

28th Jan 2007, 01:31

I'm at 82000kms no real problems to report. I had the plastic clip holding the sunvisor half snap off so when you would move the sunvisor to block the sun it would move out of it's socket. That was my last warranty item occuring at approx 78500km. So far so good out of warranty, I'll update this in another 5-6 months.

14th May 2008, 16:44

I'm now at just under 115000km.

Issues since the last report:

1- Driver door does not sense that it is open. I don't even notice the issue and won't have it fixed.

I am going to be changing my timing belt and water pump withing the next month.

Until next time!

15th Jan 2009, 18:53



1- Vacuum pump and hoses replaced ($350) at 125000km because of a CEL and rough idle.

2- I changed my timing belt and water pump at 115000km.

I seem to have 1 repair every year... hmmm.

12th Sep 2015, 01:40

Original poster. Sold the car at 257500km. I mentioned I would buy it again even with the issues. Well I may take that back. I've probably put around 10k in for repairs and constant things going wrong. Alternator, coolant hoses, coolant tank, fans, fan switches, door sensors, thermostat, transmission solenoids, transmission speed sensor, engine speed sensor, rear hatch latch stuck, rust on the rear hatch, every bushing, rear and front strut mounts, lower control arms, turbo return line, and I'm probably missing a bunch. Back to Honda or Toyota for me with a family.

2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition 1.8 liter turbo-4 from North America


A classy, stylish, sporty, and very quick car that will keep competitors in your rear view mirror.


Nothing so far.

General Comments:

What can I say that hasn't been said already about this amazing performer? It's essentially a race car for the streets although that doesn't mean it's devoid of creature comforts necessary for daily commuting. Besides the 18" OZ wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport tires, Audi brakes, sports-tuned suspension, 6-speed manual transmission, and Recaro seats, it has all the regular features like air, sunroof, power windows and locks, and a nice Monsoon CD/cassette audio system that totally rocks. Nice touches are the brushed aluminum interior, golf ball shift knob, and the red striping on the seat belts.

On the street, this thing is an absolute blast to drive! It's suspension set-up is near-perfect offering great stability when turning corners hard but yet supple enough not to beat you up although with the stiff suspension and low profile tires, the ride can be somewhat harsh over rough roads but it's always managable. With the ESP (Electronic Stability Program)engaged, it can keep you in control even when you may overdo it from time to time. And it's a good idea to have it on if you are a spirited driver as it keeps the tire wear down to a minimum.

The body enhancements are very nice and adds an air of sophistication and sportiness without the tacky, assemblige-of-parts looks that are so common on many of todays Hondas and Acuras. The wheels fill the wells very nicely and the results of this exterior treatment gives the car a hunkered-down, aggreesive look that screams speed even while parked. The two colors that make this look stand out even more are Jazz Blue and (like my sample), Imola Yellow, but it does come in Black as well. Other classy items include the 'GTI' badge that was designed from the origianl Rabbit on both the front and rear of the car as well as the rabbit itself on the rear. Nice!

Volkswagen's interiors, along with it's sister company Audi, has already been voted among the best in the industry and the GTI is no exception. The Recaro seats are comfortable and very supportive and offer many manual adjustments. There are pockets, nooks and crannies throughout the cabin for your personal items including big pockets on the back of the front seats. The rear is also comfortable but there isn't a lot of room back there. They're best use for short trips but kids can find plenty of room. And what's the benefit of a hatchback if not to carry large items? With the back seats folded down, there's very little that you can't carry! Most large items can easily fit back there. A fast, quick, road-gripping, autorocket with the convenience of an SUV. It doesn't get any better than this, folks!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2004