2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan
There are 1 user reviews for the GLS TDI trim shown below
- 51mpg (Combined), Long Fuel Range, Lots of Low RPM Torque, 10k mile oil changes
- Seats stiff on long rides, Creaky dashboard during cold weather
Purchased As Used
I bought a 2003 Jetta GLS TDI in 2006 with 85,000 miles on the odo. I have never purchased a car with this many miles on it, but did a lot of research on the diesel engine and its life span and learned people were getting over 200k-300k+ miles with standard interval servicing. I have put put 40k miles on the engine since 2006 and have never had a problem mechanically. I attribute this to keeping the maintenance up to date and NEVER USING VW DEALERS TO SERVICE my car.
Let me explain this.... At 100k miles the diesel engine needs the timing belt changed, but while you have the engine torn apart, it makes sense to change the water pump, serpentine belt, cam seal, vac pump seal, EGR o ring seal and rollers etc etc. You can buy this kit for about $330. I then contaced a local guru who works on TDI engines and he charged $300 to replace all the parts.....The cheapest a VW dealer would change "just the timing belt" wanted $1050 for labor and parts. Not to mention they work on 1 diesel engine for every 50 gas engines, you really are taking a gamble that the dealer knows what they are doing. I avoid the dealers for all maintenance as a result, so buyer be ware, if you find a vw diesel for a good price, make sure you can handle routine maintenance (oil, air filters, fuel filters) for your own piece of mind, much less that cost. About the 10k miles oil changes I listed in the PROS, I used Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck synthetic and havent had an problems going 10k miles between changes.
As far as performance, this car has a turbo that kicks in at 1900 rpms. At 65mph in 3rd gear with the A/C on full blast on a 100 degree day I can beat everyone else next to me on the freeway up steep hills. You will not win any races off the line, not by a mile, but take on a BMW 3 series with an inline 6 at 40mph and see who can get to 60mph first....I love this aspect of the diesel/turbo design.
As far as Cons I listed, the seats are fine for daily driving which is what i use the car for 95% of the time. When i take it on long trips, sometimes the seat backs are a little stiff (though they have seat warmers and are cloth seats...never seen in another car personally). And the dashboard started to creek like styrophoam rubbing together the first winter I owned it and it got down around 0 degrees. I fixed this problem by buying 3 foam paint brushes for $2, took the foam off the brushes, sandwiched them together and shoved the padding between the windshield and the dash board...solved.
Finally, fuel economy...what everyone is looking for these days. Dont let the new fuel economy revisions by the EPA fool you. This is how I see it, if you drive like an idiot, you get bad fuel economy mpg numbers. Im not saying I baby this engine, I like to kick down the turbo and excellerate hard on freeway on ramps etc, but driving like a moron 24/7 and then complaining you dont get the numbers listed on the window sticker is assanign. Heres what i get after 40k miles and 3 years of ownership:
All numbers are 85% freeway, 15% city, 5spd transmission
Winter below zero for entire tank: 40mpg
The official sticker in 2003 said 42 city, 49 freeway.
The revised EPA numbers are something like 38 city, 44 freeway.
Overall I give this car 5/5 stars...read morehide
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