2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T from North America


All around best package



General Comments:

This car is what all other cars should be measured against. It rides like a Cadillac has the performance of an Audi and less expensive. Stops on a dime accelerates like a real sports car. Is good looking and comfortable the fit and finish is perfect there is "NO" internal noise. I think everyone should take one for a test drive and I think there'd be a lot more on the road. I just can't say enough.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th October, 2003

2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 2.8 VR6 24v from North America


Best sports sedan in its class


Relatively new car (just over one year). No defects to date.

General Comments:

I noticed there were no reviews of the 2003 GLI so I figured I would add one.

I purchased this car just over a year ago, for those not familiar with the GLI it is the sportier version of the Jetta. It has the new VR6 engine, which is finally 24v and is truly an engineering marvel (how they fit it in such a small chassis). It's rated at 200 HP (although rumours are it is underrated - and it sure feels like it) and only comes in a 6 speed manual fully loaded. I believe the only option was the power sunroof.

We test drove the BMW 320 and 325i, Audi A4 1.8T and Acura RSX before purchasing this car and I would definitely recommend it over any of them. It's faster than all of the above and a lot more fun to drive. The only advantage the BMW had was handling which was superior to that of the GLI.

The car is tons of fun to drive and never gets boring.

My only complaint is the understeer on turns, but it's nothing some suspension adjustments can't fix (if you are so inclined).

The car is very difficult to drive smoothly, the gear ratios are very close and so it feels shifty. However, I don't necessarily feel that this is a bad thing neither is the notchy feel of the 6 speed shifter, in fact I feel that it adds to the thrill of driving the car. I don't believe it is meant to be a smooth drive, it feels sporty and the slightest touch on the gas pedal makes the 17" tires scream.

The only way to understand the appeal of this car is to get behind the wheel, turn off the traction control (ESP) and take it for a drive. All it takes is a few minutes and you'll fall in love.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2003

7th Jun 2004, 09:28

To deal with the shifting, I found using 1st, then 3rd, then 5th gear, makes it an awesome city driver.

20th Jun 2005, 15:12

I agree about the shifting. I typically use first, second, third, then fifth, skipping fourth. To get faster off the line, I start in second. First is so low you can almost skip it. If I had a perfect ratio it would be a five speed with first being somewhere between the current 1st and 2nd.

This is an amazing car on the highway. I have to always be careful not to go 90. You never feel it.

2003 Volkswagen Jetta GLS from North America


Not worth the money or the time!


So far I have had my VW Jetta for about a month and a half. I took it yesterday to get the clutch and steering looked at. I did not buy a new car to deal with aggravating mechanical problems.

General Comments:

Had I thoroughly researched these cars. I would have stayed in my 2000 Hyundai Elantra, or went with something that is tried and true like Honda or Toyota!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th October, 2003

2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL TDI Wagon 1.9 turbo diesel from North America


Best wagon on the market


The dealer broke one of the engine-cover bolts at the first oil change and left it that way without telling me about it. I plan to ask them to repair it for free.

General Comments:

Excellent fit and finish.

100% reliable so far; zero defects.

Impressive handling at high speed.

Decent acceleration and tremendous mileage, averaging 50 mpg.

Tremendous leg room; I'm 6'5" tall yet I fit in this car very well.

Truly a joy to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th September, 2003

8th Sep 2004, 08:58

I agree 100% with this review, but have other issues related to my local VW dealer.

I have a 2003 Jetta TDI wagon with about 42K miles on it--it has reliably given me 45 mpg+ since we bought it, and, except for a minor fault in the wiring harness, has given us no repair problems at all.

Until August 26, 2004, that is. That is the day I noticed automatic transmission fluid and coolant dripping on the ground. We immediately delivered the car to our local dealer, and, the next day, were advised that the clamp that holds the ATF and coolant lines to the fender of the car had mysteriously broken, letting the hoses rub against the fan belt. Parts had been ordered, and we expected to have our car back the next week.

This Friday will mark 3 weeks that we have been without our cherished TDI, forced to drive a gasoline powered Jetta loaner. The ATF hose we are told is on back order, and, as of this morning, the dealer would let us know as soon as they knew that the hose had been shipped from Germany.

I spoke with one of their national customer service reps, specifically asking why it was so unreasonable to expect them to Fed Ex a hose from their factory--after all, it has to be costing them something to provide me with a loaner all this time.

I await their response, but wonder how customer oriented a business can be if it takes this long to get a part for a late model car.

I normally have my car serviced at an independent VW expert, and I am sure he will share some stories with me in this regard. I would still not hesitate to buy another VW TDI--I lust for a Passat TDI--but I find our current situation incredulous!!!

12th Mar 2007, 06:18

All VW wagons are still made in Germany that is why the wagons have fewer problems than the sedans made in Mexico.

12th Mar 2007, 23:45

Not the Germany/Mexico argument again...

The myth of German built wagons being better is just that - a MYTH.

21st Mar 2007, 19:19

2003 Jetta Wagon TDI. It's now 2007 and here's what went wrong in the order of events: 1. Front wheel bearings went at 80k (our friends golf went much earlier. 2. Door weather stripping froze to door posts in winter with no way to open doors except effort on handles which damaged them. 3. In winter months horn/alarm goes off and on periodically and when doors are locked via remote the horn sometimes won't sound. 4. Rear hatch electrical locking latch failed to latch and being electric the hatch is insecure even while driving and no "hatch open" light comes on. Rear hatch wiper comes on when vehicle is started. Wiper switches are all in off position, but it stays on then after a while stops by itself. Not bitching just stating the facts for web reference.