2003 Volkswagen Passat Reviews - Page 9 of 14

2003 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8 turbo from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.8 turbo Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired30000 miles
Most recent distance53000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen GTI


The usual VW product


I haven't really had any of the small annoying issues with my car. I have had one issue with the transmission shifting awkwardly. Sometimes when I am driving around 50 mph and I press the gas pedal down to accelerate to pass, the car will almost bump and hiccup once during the process of passing. No engine light has come on, so I am just leaving it alone. I know how sensitive Volkswagen computer systems can be. But in general, the transmission takes some getting used to. It is a bit rougher than other cars because of the turbocharger that kicks in at the most inopportune times. If you have any ideas about my transmission jerking a bit, leave a comment. I appreciate it.

General Comments:

I love Volkswagen products despite their issues that all VW's do have. German cars in general drive much smoother and more like a drivers car. A lot of people do not understand that they must follow the manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule for their VW. Volkswagens do require higher maintenance than Japanese cars, but it is well worth it to me. The quality of the interior trim and materials they chose to use in the Passat are far higher grade than comparably priced cars in it's class.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2007

9th Jan 2007, 18:38

Your transmission has a jolt because its downshifting to the third gear when you get on the gas. Therefore there is a jump in the RPMs and then, your turbo has probably started to spool up and then that provides boost giving it another kick of power.

The turbo usually spools around 3000 rpms so if you keep going back and forth past 3000rpms, the turbo will keep kicking in and out.

2003 Volkswagen Passat SE 130 Tdi from UK and Ireland

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 130 Tdi Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance80000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Passat


Given the choice I would have kept this car


Minor problem with the radio - dealer replaced under warranty - no quibbles.

General Comments:

The options added to the car at purchase were metallic paint, sports suspension (kept the standard SE alloys) and the winter pack that came free with the car at time of purchase - the heated seats were spot on, especially on early cold winter mornings.

I found the 130 diesel engine to be a reasonable mix of performance and economy. It is a little on the noisy side, when compared to some of the competition, but I didn't find it to intrusive, in fact I quite liked it (weird maybe!!). On one occasion I managed to squeeze almost 60 mpg on a 600+ mile round trip (Didn't even need to top to fill the tank). On the whole it generally averaged approx. 52mpg, which for an estate car, that probably has all the aerodynamics of a wardrobe isn't too bad at all - especially considering the sort of kit that I had to run up and down the country.

The seats were OK, with plenty of adjustment to get comfortable and all the switch gear seemed to be in the right places. Something that sets this car apart from some of the others is the attention to detail, for example the small sun visor that flips down from behind the rear view mirror, closing off the gap that's always between the passenger and drivers sun visors - no need for the black stipple effect that's usually found in that area of the windscreen.

Although it is only meant to be an estate car and not really designed for chucking into roundabouts, keeping the standard wheels, but opting for the sports suspension, gave the car more precise handling in the corners, but did not effect it's motorway ride quality too much.

I found the dealership very helpful and efficient - I cannot comment on service costs etc, as this car was my company car, so all costs were covered.

On the whole this car is a good all rounder, it's probably not the best car in this category, but I found that it managed to do everything that I needed it to do.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th January, 2007

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 43 reviews