2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8 turbo from North America


Fun, fast, cute, unreliable, expensive


Not sure what is wrong with the car, but it occasionally will completely lose power while I am driving. Most of the time, it will eventually jerk back into gear and go again, but I have experienced about 10 times where the car completely shuts off while driving. It first loses power then the battery light comes on. After I pull over and shut it off completely, it will start up right away again. No one has ever been able to tell me what is wrong since it does it so infrequently.

It is hard to go from park to any other gear. Once in drive however, the car acts like it is in neutral, and I have to put it into forth gear in order for it to drive.

Radio and tape deck completely stopped working. CD player still works though.

The headlights have gotten so yellow and foggy that I constantly have to have my brights on. I have tried numerous times with special cleaner to fix this, and nothing will work.

General Comments:

I really enjoy this car when it is running properly. It is fast and controls very well. Unfortunately, I feel it is too unreliable to drive long distances anymore.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th January, 2010

2003 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 from North America


Costly and excessive mechanical issues, primarily electrical


Heated seat died.

Radio died.

Battery keeps getting drained overnight because the fan keeps turning on when the car is not running.

Tons of recalls over the time I have owned it.

Cigarette lighter died.

Other electrical issues over the years.

General Comments:

At this point of ownership, I feel I made a poor choice to purchase the car.

Initially, I loved how it was so soundproof from the road.

I loved the stereo sound with the speakers throughout the car.

But the last few years, I have experienced nothing but trouble with the car.

I will never buy a VW again due to this experience.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th January, 2010

2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Wagon turbo diesel from North America


High mileage lemon


Leather interior wore very badly. Very poor quality.

Rear passenger window fell into the door.

Engine intake gummed up requiring $1000 repair, blamed on the quality of diesel gasoline in America.

Rear window of of the wagon door has shattered spontaneously 3 times... VW says it is a glass problem. Glass people wonder if it is a problem with the brackets holding the glass in. Maybe a defroster problem. Very expensive.

Rattles and shakes, wind noise. Not well built inside.

Sun roof leaked and had the front floors fill with 3 inches of water each time it rained. Finally VW recognized it was a problem with sun roof.

It does get 45-50 mpg. The only saving grace. This has been a real lemon unfortunately. We have had VW bugs before, but will think twice since VW hasn't backed up the vehicle well. Maybe Honda next time.

General Comments:

See above.

Fun to drive. Good pick up for a diesel.

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

Review Date: 31st December, 2009

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon 1.9 TDI from North America


Great fuel economy, horrible reliability


Intermittent electrical problems, interior lights occasionally short out, engine overheating light comes on despite the engine being fine, intake and EGR valve clogged with carbon, requiring the intake to be cleaned and EGR valve to be replaced ($1,200). Problems with window regulators, windshield wiper control arm came loose from motor.

General Comments:

This is my Mother in Law's car. The good is that it gets stellar fuel economy. It regularly gets over 50MPG freeway. The interior is very comfortable and well laid out. The torque and handling is more like a sports car.

But... the car is falling apart. It ran fine until this year and ever since seems to have problems every month. Apparently the TDI's VW puts in these cars has a tendency to build up carbon, meaning that eventually the intake has to be removed and cleaned and the EGR has to be replaced... a $1,200 repair. This occurred before 60,000 miles thus its safe to assume that it will probably need the procedure again in another 60,000 miles. The car is plagued with electrical problems. The dash lights blink on and off meaning you have to tap the dash at night to see them.

Overall it's a pretty unreliable car, which is a shame. I had thought about getting a Jetta TDI myself. But seeing how this one had turned out, I'm having serious second thoughts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd July, 2009

30th Sep 2010, 13:14

You have to drive it like you stole it. I cleaned out the intake myself, and found that if I plugged the EGR valve tube, it stopped coking-up. Runs like a raped ape now. You need to shift it at 3000 rpm often to help keep the intake cleaned out. Haven't had any problems with mine since I've done that. I have had a few electrical problems, like electric window motors failing ($900 for both in the rear), but that's been it. Kinda eats-up the savings from the excellent fuel mileage pretty quick.

Mike in Mich.