2003 Volkswagen Passat Owner Reviews & Problems


42 Reviews

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Overall a very good car. Good looking wagon and comfortable with lots of power.

This car has a 6 cylinder engine so has plenty of power, very comfortable with leather heated seats. No car problems until 100, 000 miles when water pump went out and it was recommended that timing belt be replaced. The power steering pump needed to be replaced also. Otherwise just oil changes and cooling system flushed once. It has been a very dependable and comfortable to ride in and drive. Very well built and I have no problem with recommending it.

- Jon M

2003 VW Passat, excellent car.

This car has performed very well. The seats are incredibly comfortable, I have no problem driving for up to 8 hours in a day. The ac and heat work very well and quickly which is very important when I cannot park inside. This vehicle handles great in the snow for a smaller car. The only problem that I have is the gas mileage. If this car were more fuel efficient I would definitely give it a 5/5 rating.

- Beth W

I would not say there is one interesting detail. It is like any other car.

It has lasted a while. Overall I enjoy its amenities like seat warmers and sunroof. I dislike that it is so hard to fix and can only be taken care of by those who specialize in Volkswagen. Although I get why it is annoying. Also, the side covers seem to come off and are not easy to fix, it creates a lot of mess and looks ugly. But still overall, I love the way it look and the way it drives.

- Joss P

Good, but older car. Great for around town and good gas mileage on the highway.

My car is older and shoes wear quickly. It is a good, strong brand, and has many safety features. However, cars build back then were not made to last so long. This is the second Volkswagen I have owned and I am impressed with the quality. The interior has degraded and I do not want to add money to an older car. This car is easy to drive and comfortable.

- Gina S

I really enjoy about my car in the winter time are the heated seats and mirrors!

I honestly like my Passat. The only real issue I have had with it so far was a small crack in the coolant tank that had to be replaced. It holds gas well, and runs smoothly. I love the heated seats and moonroof- always makes my commute nicer in the morning. In terms of interior- I like the grey leather in my model and wish it was only a bit darker.

- Marina K

Car is spacious for a sedan the trunk space is great.

Really like my car but it is expensive to fix. German cars usually are. Lately I guess because the car is older has been having a lot of problems. We recently had to get a timing belt new thermostat and a couple other things we spent like $800 then a week letter a hose blew. Just seems like when the problems start they do not stop.

- Alison Z

Not the best but could be worse.

Sun damage, expensive repairs, outdated. Leather heated seats and sunroof are nice. Big enough for a large dog. Not especially powerful. Just old but gets from point A to B. Sunroof is starting to open and close on its own. Had to give up my heater to fix a coolant leak. Seats are starting to rip so I got seat covers.

- Michaela W

Spacious family vehicle!!

Plenty of room for the kids! Easy to clean with the leather seats! It is really good on gas and saves us a ton of money on longer drives. It has heated seats and a sun roof. Plenty of room for large car seat, either rear or forward facing. This is a great family car if you want something good on gas and spacious.

- Alicia G

The dependability of the Passat.

The Volkswagen Passat is not a glamorous car, but certainly dependable for long-term use. My vehicle is currently at 240, 000 miles and is still operating well. The car tends to emit a good amount of exhaust but still functions well despite the hiccup. Overall, it is extremely trustworthy and has served me well!

- Zach W

It handles amazing in all forms of weather.

This is a smooth riding car that is very spacious and comfortable. You can practically put two bodies in the trunk. It has great turbo power so if you are pulling out in traffic and you need to speed up so you do not get hit then this car has you covered. Plus it is a car to ride in that will turn heads.

- Amanda V

Great car to have without a lot of maintenance, low fuel economy.

Great fuel economy and pick up. It is the perfect car for a single person or couple. Lots of trunk space. Durable 1. 8t but should keep up on the timing belt. Handles wear and tear well. Struts will need to be replaced around 60-70k. As well as the thermostat, which always seems to go out before winter.

- Jennifer P

I love my VW Passat. I am so happy I am part of the Volkswagen family.

I really love my car. The performance is great especially when driving on the highway. It is very reliable and comfortable. The seats are pretty comfortable and work perfect for my family. The heat is my favorite part! There are many mechanical problems so far, but even if there was, there an easy fix.

- Jessica H

Reliable and comfortable Passat

I love the space that the car offers. It's also a good running car as long as you keep up the maintenance on it and it's also good for trips since it's good on gas. Love the wagon feature allows me to load plants, groceries and even my kids toys in the back easily.

- Dawana J

Excellent turning radius!

Expensive oil changes (synthetic only), expensive maintenance, the check engine light tends to turn on a lot. The car is very comfortable to ride in, and very quiet on the road for the most part. Small gas tank. Accelerates quickly and has a great turning radius.

- Callan B

They should know that it had very good gadgets mileage, especially since it's a turbo.

I like that it is a turbo, and I like that it is a manual because purchasing it forced me to learn how to drive one. This was a great first car to learn how to drive a manual on. The dashboard also provides so much useful information at all times, which I love.

- Brooke N

It is reliable and it works.

Heater does not work and always runs out if coolant and the engine messed up a couple of times. We love the heated seats and all of the space. It gets us from point a to point b. Does not use a lot of gas. It is really reliable. It was cheap. Needs better bass.

- Kay H

Great reliable car. Take care of it and it will take care of you.

Normal issues with age of car. Window off track which is common with VW. Very reliable, comfy and good size. Down side you need special tranny fluid & special oil due to being a European car. Premium gas only. Drives great. Lots of nice extras for basic model.

- Leslie D

Proceed with caution. Reliable car that is reliably costly

Although I haven't had any engine problems with this car, I have issues with maintenance and repair costs. Every and any time there is an issue other than routine maintenance it costs a lot more money that it would to fix an American or Japanese car.

- Harrison R

Passat: Love it or Drive it off of a cliff.

I loved it until recently when the check engine light came on with a vacuum leak. A thousand dollars later the light is still on with many codes. Taking it back to the mechanic to see if it can be repaired. Already changed 7 or 8 hoses.

- nanci M

it's reliable and cheap to run with a manual 2 L engine.

it's a good reliable car . It's been sitting on my drive for over a year without being used and the other day I started it and it started first time. Really good bodywork no rust at all. I would definitely buy a new version of this car

- Steve a

Garbage 2003 volkswagen car

It runs reliably well for now, but it also consistently has issues. Some sensors are broken so it's always telling me the engine has problems. But it also has various issues where the car will shake when accelerating or standing still

- Paul G

V6 turbo AND great fuel economy

The vw passat is a great car. Very fuel efficient for a v6 turbo. Smooth ride and great pickup and stopping speed. Great handling as well. Be careful of issues that may arise because repairs are pricy. It also requires premium gas.

- Matthew B

It takes premium gas and can be expensive.

I love this car. It drives smooth even after 15 years however it is fairly expensive to maintain and fix. Aside from that, the features it has are basic but nice. Leather seats are comfortable and the air conditioning is cold.

- Sydney F

My car is the "luxury" version of the Volkswagen line, and this has proven to be true.

My car has been mostly reliable. I have owned it for a little over 2 years, and have only had maintenance issues with it. I am the third owner of the vehicle and it came with no maintenance records so that's to be expected.

- Madison K

A fancy car for not the fanciest people.

The car is very classy, comfortable, and stylish. The negatives would be that it is repair heavy, not very good on gas, and seems to need valve cover gaskets repaired pretty often, which causes the engine to smoke.

- Brandon R

Overall it is a good buy for the price and a good bang for your buck.

I love the commodities my car brings such as a sun roof, seat warmers, and garage door opener. I dislike the expenses it takes to repair the car and how only specific dealers will take it.

- Jo T

It's smooth like most eight-cylinder cars, but it won't break your budget filling up!

My Passat with the W8 engine really feels very smooth while driving. And being that fuel mileage is between 20-23 mpg, it's quite exceptional for an eight-cylinder car!

- Norman I

Its cute, but maintenance and upkeep are expensive.

Oil changes are really expensive. Lots of mechanical problems as well. A sensor just went out and needed to be replaced as well as parts being very expensive.

- betsy b

Be prepared to spend more money on upkeep and repairs than you would on a Honda.

Drives wonderfully. Very aesthetically pleasing car with sunroof and leather seats. Very expensive to fix - German. Lots of small electrical issues - German.

- Olivia G

It has a 5-speed manual transmission.

I really like my vehicle. It is a standard and easy to control in the winter. It is easy maintainable. It has plenty of room in it for me and my family.

- Michelle W

grey sedan, some paint damage

Runs well, upholstery on seats a little ripped. engine and turbo are in good shape for the most part, there is a small coolant leak though

- sean h

Great performance long-lasting vehicle.

Like the motor runs very good, the AC works perfectly, the color is pretty. Dislike the color inside, does not have glove compartment.

- Lucia P

It's not all wheel drive but still goes pretty well in the snow

I love my car but just wish it was all wheel drive and had 3rd row seating for a larger family and the windows steam up really easy!

- Tam L

It's extremely quick, but it has the appearance of a standard Passat.

My Passat is a very unique one. It is a W-8 4 Motion, meaning it's an 8 cylinder engine with all wheel drive. It's sneaky fast!

- Frank C

Has a high safety rating.

This car is a great drive. Has been very dependable with few issues. I only wish it got better gas mileage.

- Shannon M

The car has good gas mileage and is easy to drive in the city.

It is a little low to the ground and hesitates when you press the gas pedal. It is also very easy to park.

- Melissa H

High mileage but still dependable.

It has a manual transmission. Small engines so it has very good gas mileage. It has been very dependable.

- Mike K

Wonderful gas mileage!!!!

Drives smooth. Gets great gas mileage but I do I to have to use a higher grade. It cost more for repairs

- Ashland O

Great car for all types of weather, handles great, and has a ton of trunk space.

This car handles great in all weather, the 4motion all-wheel drive really makes it a dream to drive.

- Crystal S


i like that it's a volkswagen, and it's well-made — but it's getting old and needs maintenance

- Nico L

V-6 is great. Incredible acceleration. Smooth ride.

Great car. Runs well for 15 years old. Problem with getting it into DRIVE.

- Peg N

I like that it is reliable and keeps going steady as long as I take care if it. There haven't been any major fixes I've needed to do on it. I dislike that it is older and the plastic is getting brittle throughout the car.

It keeps going! May not look pretty, but works well.

- Rosalia G