2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8 turbo from North America


Good car, turbo :-), Good brakes, fun to drive


Well first off I had always liked VWs and wanted to own one. I had previously made a mistake buying an Accord with some real issues, so I needed to get out of it and into something else. I test drove the Jetta and loved it; the only problem was I didn't take it through its paces and was in too much in a hurry to buy.

After driving it longer, I noticed the transmission had some serious shifting issues. When merging on the highway it would rev up then slam into gear. I went back to the dealer and they gave me a crazy price to replace the tranny. I did my research and was convinced the solenoids were the problem. $1000 later, all new solenoids, and it drove like new.

The seems to be losing coolant, not sure where the problem is. Other than that (knock on wood), a burnt tail light bulb was the only thing I needed to fix.

General Comments:

I really love this car, for its age and mileage the paint still shines. All power works except the A/C needs charging. The power is great and I love hearing that turbo spool :-) Good torque. Since fixing the trans it's been very reliable. Ride is smooth and it handles the bumps great. Good brakes (4 wheel disc). Good stereo from the factory; the only thing I miss is MP3 hookup.

Very big trunk, can hold lots of junk LOL. The only problem I have is the need for premium and the parts need to be VW specific. For example I was told I need a new cat and the genuine VW part would cost $1000! I'll be buying aftermarket parts to say the least.

Mileage is about 22 average; not terrible, but I wish it were better, especially when buying premium. Anyway I've read mixed reviews on this car, but so far mine has been good to me and I'd recommend it.

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

Review Date: 25th August, 2016

17th Dec 2016, 12:32

Anyone know of a good plug gap to run? I know the platinum plus I bought had a BIG gap from the factory, but read .032 and was top of the stock range. Ran that for a little and it seems my mileage has gone down and I noticed a decrease in power.

Now just yesterday I decided to go to .038 and immediately felt more power, louder turbo and just a stronger midrange/top end pull. Thinking of trying .043 and seeing what happens, but IMO the .032 gap is too small.

2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Wagon 2.0 turbo diesel from North America


Woud NOT buy another VW except on a dare, basically


The most frustrating problem is that no mechanic wants to work on VWs, or if they try, usually with little success. The local dealer, once had our previous VW in the shop for FIVE (5) weeks (actually one day over)! Then after 4 weeks asked, "when we would like the car back?"

The current one had a habit of not starting, at random times. The garage could not say why. Finally a mechanic friend identified an air-control valve that sticks & immobilizes the vehicle. A simple click & it started, until the latest escapade. It was kind of fun showing people the "little" trick.

Now, it just died while driving, after going ~2 km. No start = another tow. There went the alleged fuel saving again! Mechanics are reluctant to work on it.

These VW diesels are very slow to warm up & not intended for northern Ontatio apparently.

I thought I'd give VW one more try (we had a great 1974 van in '83-'84 & a diesel Golf). Now, I'd have to get an amazing deal (even then, likely NOT) & have a second - reliable (non VW) car when I had to get somewhere.

VWs are OK if you have a high frustration tolerance & don't really have to be anywhere on time.

So, no, I wouldn't buy another. The issue is what to do with this one, which I'm told has "lots of miles on it"?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th January, 2016

23rd Jan 2016, 00:56

Old unreliable high mileage cars are worth more dead than alive sometimes. The small and big parts on it are still worth money. The term they use down here in southern California is part it out or parts only car. The salvage yard industry has made a fortune on getting cars, trucks and SUVs for peanuts. Then taking them apart, selling them piece by piece. Give it a try on Craigslist or eBay.