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2003 Volkswagen Passat

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
7.5
Out of 10

Based on 813 Ratings for the 2001 - 2005 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    7.8/10
    Quality
    7.9/10
  • Reliability
    7.5/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.4/10
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Passat TDI B4 wagon is amazing!

By on Friday, August 8, 2014

I want this car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Solid German driving dynamics! DAS AUTO! Torque!"

Cons: "Lack of horsepower"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"There are not many German engineered vehicles like the Volkswagen Passat TDI sedan and wagon. They have best heated seats. The blue and pink diode gauges are a nice added touch to the interior. I wish that VW had this car in a GLX that would offer the automatic Climatronic and the rain sensor, auto dimming interior mirror, pwr. seats and last but not least the pwr. folding mirrors. The B4 passat wagon is hands down the best built and reliable Passat on the market. I would highly recommend this vehicle."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Excellent

By on Thursday, February 11, 2010

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"This car has had a bad rap with sludge issues but that is for the careless owner. I have had mine since new, 120,000 mi, 7 years, and the factory battery is still in it. Superb family car, still very tight after all this time and very safe. The ONLY complaint anyone might have is that the preventitive maintenance at 100k is very expensive, timing belt, water pump etc need to be done and it is VERY important, this takes over 7hrs and costs north of a grand. Small price to pay, this car owes me nothing!"

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

162K miles and still running strong.

By on Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

"I'm a very long term VW fan. My first car was a 1962 Beetle. over the years I've had plenty of cars, but he VWs are still my favorite. I currently have a 2002 Passat GLX 4Motion Wagon with the 2.6 liter V6. We love this car. It has been very comfortable and quite reliable. As with all cars, we've had a few maintenance issues that were quickly addressed by the local dealer. Problems to date include: Leaking sun roof; plugged sun roof drains (recall issue); slight slipping of the transmission during acceleration between 35 and 50 mph. That's about it. One thing to keep in mind regarding service, always use synthetic oil (VW recommends 5W-40). So, back to the car... Quiet, comfortable and dependable. We can haul around more stuff than my father-in-law can in his Toureg! Mileage has been pretty good, about 23 mpg on average, peaking at 30+ mpg on the highway. if you enjoy affordable quality German engineering, consider the Passat."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

My first commuter car

By on Saturday, March 2, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, heated seats are best"

Cons: "1.8 T I-4 cyl. is bit underpowered."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Bought a 2002 GLS Wagon at 52K miles. So far I have driven 3K miles and had no major repairs. Driving and handling is superb, however I feel the base model 1.8 liter - 4 cylinder- Turbocharged engine is bit underpowered at 170 HP, especially if you live in hilly areas carrying 3 or more adults plus luggage. This wagon is certainly not a performance car by any means. If given an option, opt for V6 or W8 engines. Also, it jerks quite hard when you shift gear after startup, not while driving though. Gives about 18/24 mpg. Monsoon stereo is very good. Other than that, it has a lot of space, 4 basic electrical outlets, tons of safety features, AC works fine but takes a toll on mpg. A good basic people hauler."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great Gas Mileage

By on Monday, October 13, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"This 4 cylinder turbo engine Passat gives very good gas mileage on freeways. I get closer to 31 mpg on free ways. But during city drive I get around 24 mpg. It's a sturdy vehicle with good controls. The thing I don't like about this vehicle is the maintenance expense, especially if you take it to VW dealer. In addition, I noticed I had an issue with its moon roof operation which was very difficult to isolate and fix. Also, this vehicle had too many recalls. In the end, I would recommend this vehicle for its road comfort, sleek style and sturdiness."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best of comfort and reliability

By on Thursday, August 15, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 129,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Affordable, comfortable, reliable, practical"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've had my Passat for eight years and it has never needed any work outside of routine maintenance. Volkswagens are extremely reliable and comfortable. Were it not for a few cosmetic issues that have popped up over the years in addition to my dog eating three out of five seatbelts in the car, I would be driving it into the ground. The car has always been fun to drive and easy to maintain."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Everyone is envious, I love mine.

By on Monday, April 2, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very comfortable ride, super quiet too."

Cons: "City mileage is only between 20 and 25 mpg."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"From the heated leather seats in the winter to the custom, super quiet ride I love my car. All my friends want one and two even bought one. A great used value."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Wonderful!

By on Monday, October 24, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 171,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Set the cruise control and GO!"

Cons: "Tight spots to change lights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my 2002 VW Passat after a terrible series of sour lemons. I've been very pleased with the car especially since I did buy it used not knowing what I was getting myself into. The big drawback in this endeavor is the fact that I am college student so yes, there is a definite "scarcity" in money! Getting repairs and maintenance has been a pain but well worth it. So, yes I didn't realize that VW was in the league of Mercedes, BMW, etc. therefore parts and service would be more than other cars out there... Yet, I am very pleased with my VW. Plus, I couldn't believe it when people told me they were envious of my Passat but hey, it does look pretty nice. Do yourself a favor, if you don't like Hondas; check out the VWs."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Some Things are Great, But..

By on Saturday, February 19, 2011

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"We bought this car new in 2003, Passat Wagon 1.8T. There are things I really love about it, but it has been costly to maintain - certainly compared to our other car which is 5 yrs older. The big issues I have had are routine replacement of brake rotors (haven't seen others mention this, but, I have never replaced rotors on any other car - these cannot be turned.) Also, the water pump had to be replaced at 40K?! So, they convinced us to do the timing belt at the same time to save on the labor cost of doing it later (apparently you are right there when doing the water pump and the whole front of the car has to come off). Now, I'm at 86K and am told the water pump is leaking and we should do it all again for $1300??!! The original maintenance recommendation is not until 90 - 100K. Shouldn't the cars parts last longer than that? We have replaced 2 CV boots, fuel pump was replaced under recall. The driver seat broke under warranty (it again has creaks and pops - not a big deal but, cannot be fixed, only replaced for $1000), am being told the motor mounts need to be replaced. We have maintained this car to a "T." Every check up has been done - synthetic oil has always been use and premium gas. All done at the dealer. For those people who think these things are because the car is not being maintained - it's not always....what more could we have done? Except buy a different car. Maybe it's just a lemon, or maybe it's the dealership that's doing the repairs - I don't know. It's sad. the car gets very good gas mileage, runs great, is very solid and handles beautifully after 8 years. But, it's expensive to maintain. I don't work full time, so the trips to the dealership aren't a huge hardship, but it's still a pain. Great car - never left me stranded, but high maintenance/cost in my opinion."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Worst car Iv'e ever had

By on Saturday, February 5, 2011

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

"I bought this 04 Passat when it was 4 years old with about 62k miles on it. I love the styling and standard features, the AWD in the snow was amazing in this Colorado weather. But at about 80k miles, I started having problems. Electrical issues- warning lights going off for no reason, headlights not working, display on the dash fading in and out. Replaced head gasket, coolant tank, some hoses and belts etc. due to coolant and oil mixing- cost about $2k. Replaced ENTIRE engine at 86k mile due to cracked engine block- oil and coolant were mixing inside the coolant tank- gasket was not the culprit. Now, more warning lights, every time I turn right the car beeps and says "warning: brake fault: STOP". I just had the brakes checked and they were fine. So, can't wait to dump this lemon as soon as possible. It has cost me hours of no pay from work, $600 in rental car fees and thousands in repairs."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

pretty on the outside, hunk of junk under the hood

By on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"Bought this used from a dealer, a year later am dealing with engine sludge due to the previous owner not putting synthetic oil in the car. The costs for premium gasoline, synthetic oil, and the ridiculous maintenance make this car unaffordable for the average person. Maintenance on a VW generally requires some part of the car to be removed - so you get charged an extra few hundred dollars for labor. I bought a VW because my previous VW Beetle was great and very reliable (despite ridiculous maintenance costs), but this will be my last VW and the last fistful of money I throw at VWoA."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

ehh

By on Friday, September 17, 2010

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"I bought my 04 Passat GLX used (2 previous owners) with 73,000 miles. Thought it was a good deal but had major issues within first 2 years. (1) Both CV Joints replaced (2) Cam Seals - twice due to dealer error (3) Water pump (4) Belts replaced (5) Fuel Pump replaced at 103,000 (6) Purge valve replacement recently. The list could keep going. The water pump and belts were precautionary when the cam seals went. That repair alone cost me $1600. If it wasn't for that repair I would have gave this vehicle better ratings. Just had bad luck with Volkswagon this time. Wouldn't recommend my vehicle to someone else but maybe a similar model."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

2002 Passat Wagon 1.8T

By on Friday, March 20, 2009

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"Owned since new (7 years now)...no major problems, although several recalls. NEED to keep up with maintenance schedule and change Timing Belt/Water pump at 65-80K..do not wait until 105K (as manual indicates). Would never buy Used unless I had all documented maintenance records. Wife loves the way the car drives, also very sturdy/safe."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Never again

By on Thursday, March 5, 2009

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

"I own one of these things. never again will I own another. Continued to have problems with this car. It has cost me a small fortune to try and keep it running. Everytime that I have taken it to the shop for repair it has cost me over $700. I have put more money into repairing this car than I paid for it. I had always beleived that VW were good cars. Maybe the old one, But not this one . Please stay away from this car. I wish I would have."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Friday, May 23, 2008

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

"I have had this car for 3 years and its a great car. It was 1 year when we bought it and it still looks new. No major problem. The car as good milage and excellent comfort and lots of space for cargo and a big Dog."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Wednesday, February 6, 2008

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

"This car has 8 cylinders and still gets about 23 MPGs. Has plenty of power and is deceptively fast. Great touring car. Very quiet interior, controls are well thought out and placed. Very easy to put 500 miles on in a day. I love this car and would recommend it to anyone.. but it is expensive to maintain and to operate. High octane gas required, oil changes will run about $100.00(takes 9.0 quarts of oil) and it has to synthetic oil."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

First VW, Love Love Love it.

By on Friday, September 6, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Very fun to drive and still gets 30mpg!"

Cons: "Cupholders do kinda stink,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought my VW Passat Wagon (2003 model) with 1.8 engine and 5spd manual over a year ago. Car had 123,000 on it then, has over 150,000 now. Yes, it cost about a grand to do the timing belt/water pump/cam tensioner routine maintenance. I would have tackled that if I currently lived where I had a garage, but I don't, and it's -30 here in the winter. I put good tires on this wagon (Michelin Pilot Exaltos) and keep the oil changed in it. A few things (power mirror, cruise control, center caps for wheels, rear windshield wiper) have given me some trouble, but for a 10 year old car with over 120k miles on it, I'm not shocked or dissappointed. I either fixed or had repaired the few minor problems I've had with this car. Overall, my wife and I love the car, love the power, love the handling, and LOVE the fuel economy. We've seen 32mpg on interstate roadtrips, and have never seen less then 26mpg with lots of town driving. We will buy another Passat wagon as soon as we have the cash for an upgraded year."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

German engineering

By on Friday, May 24, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 220,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "drives amazing, great gas for a turbo, speedy"

Cons: "typical vw quirks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"bought it for a family car with 200,000 miles plan on putting another 200k on it maintenance can be fairly cheap. getting the car over 100k miles and having problems with it typical expect it vws are only built for the life of the car witch is typically 100k miles but they can go forever with proper care. for over 10 years old handles like a dream picks up and goes when needed. only major maintenance problem is oil change needs synthetic. you can "Americanize" it. can run it on the next gas down from premium with only horsepower loss."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Sunday, February 17, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive. TONS of space in back of car"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Very nice car. Excellent handling...feels like a sports car not a station wagon. Expense so far has been the frequent replacement of the breaks... I do city driving and/or short highway driving. I plan to drive it into the ground as I doubt I will do better with a new car."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

perfect for every day driving.

By on Saturday, January 26, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 157,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "everything, fun to drive."

Cons: "premium fuel hurts a little"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a great car. Ive owned it years from 100k to 165k and counting. I like "spirted" driving and then once you lay off the turbo it will get 33mpg highway all day."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Passat has German build quality.

By on Thursday, January 12, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 158,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive diesel gives great fuel economy"

Cons: "Known mechanical weaknesses"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Automatic transmission torque converter has know weakness and is expensive to repair. Affects ALL Passats. Oil pump is chain driven, later upgraded to gear driven, chain wears out also expensive to repair. Window regulators also known weakness, no VW recalls on any of these known issues. Fuel savings off-set by cost of repairs to above mentioned mechanical weaknesses."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

First and last VW

By on Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "looks nice, handles great when running..."

Cons: "constant problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I haven't had this car more than 60 days at a time w/o some warranty defect since I bought it. I'd say it's a lemon, but it is always something new. Turbo went at 60K, ignition coils went twice (VW finally fessed up with a recall on that one), radio needed to be replaced (thank goodness I bought the extended warranty). MANY other problems early like swing arms, sensors and cv joints. Worst car I've ever owned."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Reliable, great mileage, fun to drive car

By on Sunday, November 27, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 158,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Mileage"

Cons: "Prem.gas,expensive to repair"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Only owner of this car. Gets great mileage, fun to drive. The fact that it takes Prem.gas seems to off set, with around 35 MPG for a nice size car.Spendy for repairs good thing it hasn't needed many."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Super TDI

By on Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"Bought the car new in 2004...now has 113K miles..the car is super reliable...it has only given me problems once...and that was in the cold of winter..sitting outside. Turned out the original battery needed replaced after 5 years...not too shabby. Over all I love the car...it rides nice, handles like a German car should and for a 4 banger oil burner can get up and move. The fuel consumption is superb...38+ for a 2.0L Diesel...don't see a Hybrid in my future anytime soon. My only regret: not waiting for one with electric seats...but guess we can't have it all!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Reliable and almost green

By on Sunday, August 22, 2010

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"I purchased this vehicle new in 2005 and currently have 130000 miles driven. In many ways the car is almost new. So much so that I recently had a friend ask me if I'd gotten a new car since the last time we met. I have experienced some fall off in gas millage lately which I suspect is due to engine wear. Even at that I still consistently get 35 mpg. My long term goal is to keep this car for another 130000 miles or more. The only negative I have about the car is its German engineering. Unfortunately no one other than a certified VW dealer will service this car. The TDI is a unique engine and frankly not something you want to have serviced by someone who is not intimately familiar with its ins and outs. This includes getting the oil changed. I made the mistake of having the oil changed by an oil change service only once and that was enough. Thus the oil changes are more expensive than what you would pay at your local jiffy lube. There are advantages to getting your oil changed at the dealer including there going over the vehicle looking for issues that may need to be addressed before you find yourself on the side of a highway calling for a tow. I can gladly say that at 130000 miles I have not had a breakdown and remain confident that the car can make the long trips I tend to make from time to time. Lastly, If you have a reputable VW dealer in your local area this is a great car. If your VW dealer is less than you would desire, than I would encourage you to steer clear of this or any VW product for that matter."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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