The Golf feels solid, handles well and can really stretch your fuel dollar. However, its superlative fuel economy must be balanced against modest acceleration numbers. Overall, we think it's a small price for the diesel's 41 mpg. A higher price to pay: increased emissions from the diesel engine.
Alerts
There are 6 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
The 2003 Volkswagen Golf has been recalled 6 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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Overall Reliability Verdict
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POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
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Engine Minor
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Engine Cooling
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Transmission Major
NA
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Transmission Minor
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Drive System
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Fuel System
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Electric System
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Climate System
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Suspension
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Brakes
NA
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Exhaust
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Paint/Trim
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Body Integrity
NA
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Body Hardware
NA
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Power Equipment
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NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
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NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 329,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2020 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Recalls
PROVIDED BY
AIR BAGS
Jun 13, 2018
In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, the inflator could explode with metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
Summary:
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2003 Volkswagen Passat sedan, Jetta, Jetta wagon, Golf, EuroVan, EuroVan Camper Van and EuroVan Chassis vehicles. Upon deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to explode.
What should you do:
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver's frontal air bag inflator, free of charge. The recall began May 2, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 69X3.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 18V406000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 2564
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Mar 07, 2014
A failure of the timing belt may cause the engine to shut down, potentially increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.
Summary:
The Gates Corporation (Gates) is recalling certain aftermarket Tru-Flow Water Pumps, part number TFW 41127, sold at certain NAPA Auto Parts and/or installed by automotive service technicians after November 1, 2013 (and manufactured August 2013 through October 2013) that have a black-colored pulley/sprocket or do not have 'US9377' stamped on the water pump housing. These service replacement parts were sold for use in model year 1999-2005 Audi A4, 2000-2006 Audi TT, 1998-2005 Volkswagen Beetle, 1999-2006 Golf, 1999-2008 and 2011-2013 Volkswagen Jetta, and 2000-2005 Volkswagen Passat. In the affected water pumps, the pulley or sprocket that turns the timing belt may develop microfractures causing the timing belt to fail.
What should you do:
Gates will notify owners, and dealers will replace the water pump, free of charge. The recall began during May 2014. Owners may contact The Gates Corporation at 1-303-744-1911.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 14E007000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 50
EXTERIOR LIGHTING
May 11, 2009
DECREASED LIGHTING VISIBILITY MAY RESULT IN A VEHICLE CRASH.
Summary:
DOPE, INC. IS RECALLING 42,540 COMBINATION CORNER AND BUMPER LAMP ASSEMBLIES OF VARIOUS PART NUMBERS SOLD FOR USE AS AFTERMARKET EQUIPMENT FOR VARIOUS PASSENGER VEHICLES. THESE HEADLAMPS FAIL TO CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 108, "LAMPS, REFLECTIVE DEVICES, AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT." THESE LAMPS DO NOT CONTAIN THE REQUIRED AMBER SIDE REFLECTORS.
What should you do:
DOPE, INC. WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND OFFER A FULL REFUND FOR THE NONCOMPLIANT COMBINATION LAMPS. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON JULY 28, 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT DOPE, INC. AT 1-626-272-1798.
For more information:
THIS RECALL ONLY PERTAINS TO AFTERMARKET REPLACEMENT EQUIPMENT AND HAS NO RELATION TO ANY ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON VEHICLES PRODUCED BY THE VEHICLE MANUFACTURER.IN ORDER TO DETERMINE IF YOUR AFTERMARKET LAMP ASSEMBLY IS AFFECTED BY THIS NONCOMPLIANCE, PLEASE REVIEW THE LIST OF MODEL NUMBERS PROVIDED TO US BY DOPE, INC.THE LIST CAN BE FOUND UNDER "DOCUMENT SEARCH" LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO <A HREF=HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV>HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV</A> .
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09E025000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 42540
EXTERIOR LIGHTING
Apr 07, 2009
DECREASED LIGHTING VISIBILITY MAY RESULT IN A VEHICLE CRASH.
Summary:
SABERSPORT IS RECALLING 16,270 COMBINATION CORNER AND BUMPER LAMP ASSEMBLIES OF VARIOUS PART NUMBERS SOLD FOR USE AS AFTERMARKET EQUIPMENT FOR VARIOUS PASSENGER VEHICLES. THESE HEADLAMPS FAIL TO CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 108, "LAMPS, REFLECTIVE DEVICES, AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT." THESE LAMPS DO NOT CONTAIN THE REQUIRED AMBER SIDE REFLECTORS.
What should you do:
SABERSPORT WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND OFFER A FULL REFUND FOR THE NONCOMPLIANT COMBINATION LAMPS. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON MAY 11, 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT SABERSPORT AT 1-909-598-7589.
For more information:
THIS RECALL ONLY PERTAINS TO AFTERMARKET REPLACEMENT EQUIPMENT AND HAS NO RELATION TO ANY ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON VEHICLES PRODUCED BY THE VEHICLE MANUFACTURER.IN ORDER TO DETERMINE IF YOUR AFTERMARKET LAMP ASSEMBLY IS AFFECTED BY THIS NONCOMPLIANCE, PLEASE REVIEW THE LIST OF MODEL NUMBERS PROVIDED TO US BY SABERSPORT.THE LIST CAN BE FOUND UNDER "DOCUMENT SEARCH" LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN.OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO <A HREF=HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV>HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV</A> .
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09E012000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 16270
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC
Mar 29, 2007
LOSS OF BRAKE FLUID CAN RESULT IN POOR BRAKING PERFORMANCE, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A VEHICLE CRASH.
Summary:
CERTAIN CARDONE MASTER CYLINDERS WITH PART NUMBERS 10-2925, 10-2987, 10-2987MZA, 10-3083, 11-3015, 11-3042, 11-3044, 11-3045, 11-3047, 11-3064, AND 11-3156, AND WITH DATE CODES LOWER THAN DCA7078 SOLD AS REPLACEMENT EQUIPMENT FOR USE ON THE VEHICLES LISTED ABOVE. THE SEAL ON MASTER CYLINDER CAN FAIL AND LEAK BRAKE FLUID.
What should you do:
CARDONE WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND OFFER TO REPURCHASE ANY DEFECTIVE MASTER CYLINDERS. THE RECALL BEGAN DURING APRIL 2007. OWNERS CAN CONTACT CARDONE AT 1-800-777-4780.
For more information:
THIS RECALL ONLY PERTAINS TO AFTERMARKET CARDONE MASTER CYLINDERS AND HAS NO RELATION TO ANY ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON THE VEHICLES LISTED ABOVE.CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 07E023000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 13128
EXTERIOR LIGHTING
Feb 20, 2007
THE BRAKE LIGHTS COULD BECOME INOPERATIVE, OR REMAIN ON. FAILURE TO PROVIDE THE PROPER SIGNAL WHEN BRAKING COULD LEAD TO A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER, WAGON, AND CONVERTIBLE VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH OR WITHOUT CRUISE CONTROL, A BRAKE LIGHT SWITCH MAY MALFUNCTION IF IT WAS INSTALLED INCORRECTLY.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSTALL THE NEWLY DESIGNED BRAKE LIGHT SWITCH FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL BEGAN ON APRIL 27, 2007, AND WILL BE CONDUCTED IN SEVERAL STAGGERED MAILINGS THROUGH SEPTEMBER 21, 2007. VEHICLES WITHIN THE MAKE, MODEL, AND MODEL YEAR OF THIS POPULATION MAY BE INVOLVED IN EITHER THIS RECALL OR 06V-183, BUT NOT BOTH. THE REMEDY IS THE SAME FOR EACH RECALL. VOLKSWAGEN DEALERS WILL APPLY THE REMEDY BASED ON THE VIN NUMBER OF THE VEHICLE. OWNERS MAY CONTACT VW AT 1-800-822-8987.
For more information:
VOLKSWAGEN RECALL NO. N4.CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 07V063000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1002000
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