2003 Volkswagen Beetle Reviews and Owner Comments

2003 Volkswagen Beetle owners review and rate their 2003 Volkswagen Beetle.

2003 Volkswagen Beetle (18 Reviews)
Body, Interior & Misc.
Drive Train
Electrical & Lights
Exhaust & Emissions
Heating & Air Conditioning
Suspension & Steering
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Bought my 2003 VW Beatle Turbo S in 2008 (automatic) with 19,000 miles on it from a Honda dealer no less! I am fanatical about maintenance on any car I have owned. I do regular oil changes and have followed the dealer's maintenance schedule all these years. I did have the timing belt and water pump replaced on schedule ($3,000, whew!). Two or three recalls for parts replacement under warranty. I now have 80,000 miles and no major problems. Tires, brakes and timing belts are all normal maintenance in my book. Hopefully, she keeps on truckin'! My biggest concern is having the turbo fail, as all mechanics have told me that turbo on any car will fail before any major engine component.
I've owned VWs all my life and love my 2003 beetle since I bought as second hand with 13,000 miles on. It is a great city car, easy to park and maintain; we've traveled to Canada, around the East Coast and so far, so good ... Sorry for the people that did not have such a good experience but I have to say that I am as happy as I was when I first got it. About to replace the battery and looking to get advice and/or suggestions. Thanks!
We helped our daughter buy this cute little POS - the dealer we purchased it from bought it at an auction and had no idea what nightmare awaited. My daughter (21) has wanted a green bug since she was 10 years old. After we bought the car, it immediately had problems. We contacted the dealer he graciously told us to take it somewhere for evaluation, which we did. It had a cracked gas tank, a JB welded oil pan and the turbo needed to be rebuilt. The dealer fixed all of these items and did not charge us a dime. It had even more problems can't remember them all but he offered to take the car back. My daughter did not listen to us and so the nightmare continues - the starter went out (tow cost me $104.00) had to be replaced, the MAP sensor had to be replaced, now the alternator needs to be replaced as well as the pulley/tension device - were having them do the drive belt because it's already apart - luckily my husband has experience with American cars but this German thing is a real piece of work - DO NOT BUY ONE - EVER!!
Purchased an 03 Beetle Convertible for my daughter, 53K miles. Previous owner did not maintain the car very well, so we performed several major mechanical services at an independent VW shop. Everything was great.....for about 2 weeks. This car has been nothing but a headache. Some things minor, most things expensive and exclusive to this vintage Beetle. The roof had to be replaced because the fabric is bonded to the glass...once it starts to separate you CAN'T repair has to be replaced. Last week was $950 for a Bottom Manifold that is exclusive to the 2003 model year only. Yesterday the car finally got the best of us. 48K miles after the last timing belt service, the belt failed and destroyed the engine. I'm a VW guy. Loved my 98 TDI Jetta...327K miles...Great car. My current VW, 2008 GTI, 110K miles....great car. The 03 Beetle is JUNK. DON'T BUY ONE!
never in my life have i been so infuriated with a car!!!! i havent had my 2003 vw beetle for two years and the timing belt just broke!!!!! this was right after this stupid coolant leak!!!! now i am without a damn vehicle and i JUST started my new job!!! So instead of saving for rent, now im saving for a stupid 2k fix!!!! VW should be shut down, how dare they sit there and sell these crappy cars to innocent owners just for money!!! shame on you!!! I am 22 years old and never should be going through this crap!! thanks vw for wasting my money and my time!!! JUNK CARS!! (btw i was warned about you, and your $$$ fixes. but i thought, hey, this cant happen to me, its just a car. ) bs.
Well I've owned by 2003 Bug since my Mom passed away in 2010. She bought it brand new and she never had to do anything but oil changes. Now that it is 11 years old it's falling apart, but only has 50,000 miles! The check engine light has been on 3 times in 3 months. First mechanic replaced the thermostat, then coils, plugs & wires, NOW $1000 later they say that it's the catalytic converter (and says I should also do the timing belt/water pump too) which will cost a total of $1,800! I guess it's cheaper than buying a new car, but what the hell!!
Have had my 2003 convertible new beetle turbo for a few years now. VW decided to extend the transmission warranty to 10 years. Mine went out 10 years and 2 months. Called VW and they said to bad so sad. The it quit in the middle of an intersection about a year later. Found out that the timing belt pulley seized a and warped the heads. Now 6 months later the AC started leaking the oil on the ground so no AC in the middle of the summer heat. Also it's a convertible so the back window is falling out because the glue doesn't hold in the heat. If you want a cute convertible don't buy a bug. The Bug has too many bugs crawling through it.
I owned a 2003 VW Turbo S from 2003 to 2008. Maintained as scheduled mostly by dealer. About 4 VW recalls while I owned it. Fixed with no fuss by local dealer. I only ever had 1 repair that was not normal maintenance related. I noticed the rear taillights weren't working (≈ 2005). Some faulty relay diagnosed by my auto guy in the shop next to mine. He handed the matter off to a local car electrical specialist who tracked down the part. No recall at the point I had it happen. Only cost about $50 (since I knew a guy that knew a guy, you know?)

Annoyances were the inability to change a headlight when it burned out, but dealer would change for no labor only bulb. I had to replace a wheel (rim - Turbo S specialized & hard to find at the time) & then then all tires after I clipped a broken storm drain near street edge.
I loved the car, but hated the premium gas. Wouldn't have given it up if my business didn't warrant the need for a bigger vehicle.
Bought a 2003 convertible and fixed some water damaged electrical issues. I was surprised to find that very pricey bosch relays are not water proof at all?
It would seem that VW cares a rip less about the bulk complaints of non operating door locks electric windows and other elec issues that plague the line, not the least of which is the immobilzer system.
I regret having bought the car.
Never again. Stay away from it and wanabe Mercedes . Simple as that.
Electrical Shorts in headlamps, battery is ruined in less than a year from no recharge, Electric motors for top and windows are crap, fabric on the interior is falling off, hinge on drivers side split in two for no apparent reason, A/C unit died, Oil Plastic Dipstick crumbled into the block, Over heated and now ceased up with a blown head gasket (no temp gauge), Piece of crap! There are about thirty other items that are subpar on this piece of crap! NEVER BUY GERMAN AGAIN!
I have an 03 conv. and its is the biggest piece of crap ever assembled. Back glass is coming unglued and falling out, back pass window is broken (500.00 part) the power locks dont work most of the time and the tranmission is shot at 73 thou miles. DO NOT EVER PURCHASE A VW BEETLE!!!!!!!! THEY ARE JUNK!!!!!!!!
We bought this care for our daughter and it has been nothing but trouble. A money pit. Now we're told the problem is the modulator and there are none to be found.
I've had my beetle for years, doing a god job on maintaining it, etc.
Yesterday I pulled forward out of a parking spot, heard a loud crack. Apparently I ran over my left light eye (lens?) cover. REALLY?? How does that fall off??????? Possible glue issues?? Recall? Dont feel like this should be my responsibility. So the lens isn't good to use anymore. Anyone else experience this???
This car is cute as a button but it's been my worst nightmare...after two months after purchasing at a used car dealership with 74K miles the engine went out!!!!!!!!!! I'm paying for a car that I can't even drive!
Never again! I purchased this car used at 74,000 miles. It now has just over 100,000 miles in the three years I've owned it. I've replaced brakes, rotors, tires, the left window, battery and ignition coil. Now I'm told I need to replace motor mounts and the gear shift - it's a stick. So, I still owe $3,000 on a car that is worth $2000 and will take another $4,000 to fix. Enough!!!
I really enjoy my 2003 New Beetle! It's super fun to drive (it's a 5 speed manual). I bought the car one year ago, it had 64,000 miles and it now has 75,000 miles.

The biggest downer is that we've put a total of $1,300 for repairs (that includes the oil changes and 2 new tires-the dealer we bought it from paid for half of the amount). All in all, that isn't too bad.
I've enjoyed the beetle since new.Stylish in it's own way.It grows on you.Simple 2.0 Liter
engine runs and runs.
I wore out the clutch at 50,000 miles , replaced brakes now and than.
I drive hard , the car does well.