2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 Variant W8 4.0 from Australia and New Zealand


Solid, but unreliable


Rough idle that the dealer has been unable to resolve. I had been told that it has a faulty coil (one of eight) and that they were just working through them one at a time until the problem was resolved. The agency changed to another dealer as the warranty expired and now no one wants to know about the problem.

The Torque Converter gave intermittent problems and then failed (just after the warranty ran out) The dealer replaced the unit with some financial assistance from VW NZ. The down change still has an intermittent clunk at low speed.

General Comments:

A good passage maker. This car can cover a lot of distance with little effort. Driving position is good and the car does all of the work for you. Passenger's are comfortable and because the car is so smooth a fair speed can be maintained without a slap on the back of the drivers head from the left hand seat.

I have found the fuel consumption very good (for an eight). The car will run at about 10.5 litres per 100km on the highway at 110kph with the odd burst to pass. Driven hard around town it can consume the 75 litre tank in less than 250km.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th September, 2007

22nd Jun 2009, 06:57

Thx for sharing.

17th Feb 2012, 20:36

My name is Robert. I have recently purchased a 2003 1.8t Passat. It drives and performs great on the highway, the fuel consumption is great, it runs very smooth, and is fast and great to maneuver. Of course I bought this vehicle used, but I test drove a 2008 Honda Civic also before driving the 2003 Passat, and I was more impressed with the Passat than the 2008 Honda. I love my Passat.

2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8 turbo from North America


Happy to be getting rid of it and I'd never get another one


Loved it for the first year. Rotors warped at 10k and all brakes/rotors were replaced under warranty. Rear brakes and rotors went again at 17k (3 weeks after dealer inspection). Rear brakes went again at 25k. Dealer said its normal wear. Front brakes went at 29k. Had lots of other issues with lousy dealer service. Had switched dealers after the 2nd brake issue, and they were out-right rude. 2nd dealer is polite, but never finds problems that should be covered under warranty. I bought this car with the intent to keep it until it would go no more. I purchased a 10year extended warranty. It now has 33,000 miles and I am very happy to be getting rid of it. Volkswagen customer service stinks. I am only happy that I have not encountered some of the major issues that occur frequently with Passats- sludge, turbo failure, interior flooding from clogged sunroof drains, seat fires from heated seats, etc.

General Comments:

It handles well, but the four cylinder is always reminding you of how hard it is working. The exterior design is beautiful, and the interior fit and finish looks like it would come from Mercedes or BMW. But beauty is skin deep and you get what you pay for. Unless Volkswagen can start producing some dependable vehicles and can improve the deplorable customer service, it will get few repeat buyers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd August, 2007

2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T from North America


Amazing car that needs a good owner to take care of it's engine


There honestly have not been any problems with the car. The interior is great, the exterior is great, and so is the engine. I would have to say that the only problem is that if you hit a curb the alloy wheels do scratch and is very noticeable.

General Comments:

When I walk up to my car I notice the fine exterior design. Unlike the other cars in it's class, it has distinctive styling. Toyota Camry's and Honda Accords all look like a normal 4 door sedan. The Passat has a nice bubbly front common on '00-'04 Volkswagens. The wheels have nice designs and the car has silver trims on it adding to the styling. The looks of the car are just fantastic.

Like all German cars, the interior is king. I have the black heated leather package and it is just amazing. The seats are comfortable, there is a massive amount of leg room, and there are a lot of places to store things. I would have to say that I am upset that there are no under seat storage boxes to keep first aid or other common things that you would find in a car.

Also in the interior is the good looking center console. Even though the knobs are plastic, they look and feel great. They aren't the normal bubble grey plastic that you normally have. The sound system is also amazing. I bought the Monsoon package which really makes it sound good.

The other thing in the interior that is noticeably different from other cars is the colors of the car at night. Instead of the boring and unattractive green or orange, the Passat has neon blue highlights.

Finally, the engine. It's so quiet that sometimes I don't realize that I am hitting 85 miles per hour. The engine just whispers a little whine of turbo and that's about it. I have the 1.8T Automatic and it is great. The turbo doesn't have any lag like people say. If you know how to drive you can get around this "problem". For an in line four car, this thing moves. I can get off the line faster than any other car in it's class. In all, the acceleration and speed are fantastic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th August, 2007