2003 Volkswagen Passat SPORT 1.9 TDI 130 from UK and Ireland


Typical VW build quality


4 new wheels replaced under warranty. Old ones were blistering.

Gearbox refurbished under warranty.

Rust on the rear tailgate. Dealer hadn't checked previous owner's poor repairs.

Dashboard has been removed and re-fitted. Rattled.

Driver's seat belt has been replaced. Wasn't returning preoperly.

Various creaks and groans from the interior trim.

Turbo stopped working one day. Loose pipes.

General Comments:

Replaced VW Golf TDI 130 with this Passat for more room for my family.

Typical VW reliability problems.

Dealer has been polite and efficient in resolving the problems. Despite having caused 1/2 of them themselves.

Cabin is gloomy, but the VW trademark blue illumination helps at night.

Mine's got the tinted windows in the rear which is excellent for passengers.

Fuel economy is excellent on longer journeys - around 47mpg. On shorter journeys - generally 40mpg.

Seats are exceptionally hard, so some people find them uncomfortable.

Performance is acceptable considering the vast size of the car.

VW roadside assistance will fix your car quickly and politely.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th January, 2006

15th Apr 2006, 16:53

For a company that makes claims about "reliability" and "build quality" VW have a lot to learn.

2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America


The car is beautiful, but has a few points to iron out


Actually, very little. The gas cap has had to be replace and the trunk light was not connected since day 1. Both things corrected without issues.

I can't get replacement windshield wipers at any auto store, that means more money for VW.

General Comments:

The car was bought for my wife who had to have a Passat. My only condition was I had to have a manual transmission. So it worked out OK.

Here's the straight story. (I hate it when people make a car out to be solid gold or a royal mess. Most should be rated in the middle.) The things I like about the car are the transmission, the handling, the full size spare, the mileage and reliability to date. I have had no issues with the mechanics of the car. The engine does NOT like, but a wee-bit of ethanol. A tank full of 10%Eth will produce hard cold starts regardless of octane level or brand of gas. I run pure gas at 87 octane and all is good. I have also run synthetic oil since about 20,000 miles. Mileage has average over 29 mpg in the first 35K miles. Mechanically it appears to be a solid value.

BUT here are the things I do not like, listed.

The turbo engine is unappealing. The turbo rush kicks in right as I shift which makes things awkward. I did change my pattern. When the air conditioning is on the car is a lazy old dog until the turbo spools up. I actually turn the A/C off if I have to go 0mph to??mph in a short time. I have almost gotten myself killed because of the turbo lag. DO NOT buy a turbo and the automatic transmission. If you have to have an automatic get the V6. You will be fine with the 5-speed and the turbo. We test drove almost all combinations of engine and transmission before buying.

The dash is unattractive i.e. boring. Quality is good, but there is nothing to be excited about.

The rear seat cushions are not very comfortable for anything longer than about 2 hours. (I have leather seats).

The center console between the front seats will not store any CD's and be able to close.

The hand crank reclining mechanism on the front seats is horrible. A lever is so much easier.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th September, 2005

17th Sep 2005, 06:08

Perhaps I might be ignorant of something, but you are running a turbocharged European car with only 87 octane fuel?? Or does the ethanol raise the octane level? In NZ, though most European cars will run on 91 octane (the engine management computer does this byt at the expense of less performance and possibly fuel economy), we generally run European cars on no less than 95 octane.