2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX 2.6 V6 from North America


Living with a nightmare... don't buy a Passat


Rear brakes failed at 88,000 miles, $550 repair.

Both catalytic converters failed at 92,000 miles. Volkswagen charges $2,400 for repair.

CV boots fail, destroying the CV joints. Half shafts replaced at 97,000 miles. $650 repair.

Water leak develops in passenger foot well at 102,000. If passenger side floods, it can fry the computer under the passenger seat that controls the automatic transmission, costing thousands to replace. Window regulator seal has failed, leaking water into cabin ABOVE exterior door seal. I solved this myself with a $4 tube of GE Silicone, rather than go to VW at $100 an hour.

Purge valve fails at 103,000. $175 part from VW plus labor for installation.

Unless you are a mechanic or have a lot of free time to learn how to fix it yourself, this car will cost you a mint in repairs.

General Comments:

Beautiful car, great interior and great performance, but you can't enjoy driving it because you will be always waiting and wondering what will break next. Very expensive car to maintain and repair. So long Passat... good riddance!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th December, 2010

2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America


My monthly payment was $150, average monthly repair bill $500 - calculate and lease Lexus instead


Turbo didn't work (twice) - problems with switch.

Transmission blow-up first time at 62,000, second time at 72,000 (just month after warranty).

Problems with vacuum lines (three repairs).

Replaced coil.

Replaced rear brakes.

Replaced oil pressure switch.

Problems with throttle.

Replaced bearings in front wheel.

Constant problems with electric installation.

Leaking water through trunk door.

Rear wiper stopped working.

Plastic finish inside was peeling.

Totally, I owned that car for 27 months; repair bills were around $14,000. I was really lucky that I bought extended warranty, but after a few repairs, I had also problems with that company. They very carefully reviewed every repair.

Having this car is very costly: needs premium gasoline and synthetic oil. Dealer service is ridiculously expensive (diagnosing and changing a vacuum line was $470, and was not covered by the extended warranty), and it is really hard to find any other mechanic that can repair that car.

When everything was OK, it was real pleasure to drive this car, until next the repair bill...

General Comments:

When everything was working OK, it was a real pleasure to drive this car, but it wasn't the common experience...

Never had less a dependable car in my life.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th October, 2010

25th Oct 2010, 16:57

Sorry to hear about your bad experience with your car.

Volkswagen has a great reputation, but it seems like they send all their junk to North America.

Some friends of my family had a 2004 Passat, new off the lot, that was nothing but trouble and completely unreliable. Every problem in the book, one after the other. The guy's wife ended up driving their 1976 Toyota 4x4 Landcruiser to work almost everyday, as it was more reliable than the Passat!

People think domestic cars are badly made, but that is a misconception, Volkswagen is very cheap, and don't care about their customers at all. My uncle also owns a 2007 Jetta, which he loves, although he complains maintenance is expensive, and that the interior and features are worse than a Hyundai. A replacement cupholder costs $200 from Volkswagen! What a ripoff...

2003 Volkswagen Passat Wagon 1.8T from North America


I should have bought a Camry or Accord


Driver's door latch position switch was faulty, causing intermittent "door open" warning messages when hitting bumps in road. The switch used was very cheap looking, it probably went bad years before I bought car.

Glove box latch/handle is very flimsy, handle broke off and a whole new door must be purchased for several hundred dollars to fix the problem.

CV shaft boots were bad when I bought the car. My Saturn has its original boots with nearly 200,000 miles, still going strong. Can't VW get a better quality boot?

Hood prop cylinder went bad shortly after buying the car (bad seal on rod end). Another expensive part to buy.

Plastic dipstick and dipstick housing - the under hood temps are very high and anything plastic in there gets brittle and breaks after a few years.

Control arm bushings are noisy, will probably need replacement soon. Probably cheap parts like the CV joint boots.

General Comments:

It is a good performer, very good acceleration for a 4 cylinder and a relatively heavy car.

It is comfortable to ride in and fun to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th June, 2010

21st May 2012, 17:36

My 2003 Passat had 91,000 miles when the engine sludged; a known problem with this engine. This car has been more stress than the $14,000 purchase price. The original sludged engine had to be replaced with a new engine, installed and the engine reset, plus the cost of a rental car. Stress and towing not included.

VW's CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT regarding the sludging of its Passat vehicles has been anything but easy. VW had multiple hoops to jump through. The Oil Sludge Settlement Administrator group is handling all complaints. What a shame. This engine had problems, VW was aware of these problems, and VW was taken to court and made to reimburse those who purchased these problems. I would not recommend doing business with Volkswagen.