Used Car of the Day: 2003 Volkswagen GTI

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today's UCOTD is a 20-year-old sporty hatchback at a reasonable price. This 2003 Volkswagen GTI isn't expensive, but it is showing its age, as the seller admits.


This manual-transmission, GLX-trim car has 158,000 miles on it, and the seller says it runs well and everything functions as it should. He or she also says the car has been well-cared for and maintained and the recent maintenance records are available. The car is stock -- no mods -- and the suspension is new.

So, too, are the brake rotors and pads. Other items have been replaced over the years and the car has a new catback exhaust.

The bad news here is that the car looks every bit of two decades old, there are scratches and dents, and there is some rust.

For $4,000, you may be able to snag a sporty hatchback that runs well but needs some TLC for the exterior. Click here for the full listing.

[Images: Seller]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

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3 of 17 comments
  • L.Hutz L.Hutz on Feb 10, 2023

    I had a 2004 VR6 with the 6-speed, and it was one of the best cars I have ever owned. It ran great, and as long as you have a mechanic who knows VWs, the maintenance was not too bad. The only reason I got rid of her was because we were having a baby, so I traded it in for a 2016 GTI 4-door. I still have the 2016 GTI, running great with 100k miles, and it is a superior car in every objective measure, but I still miss the 2004 and the VR6 engine.

    • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Feb 10, 2023

      I too had a Mark IV, a '00 GTI, GLX VR6 manual, silver over black. Added some 17" MSW wheels, it looked like a much more expensive car. Great driver, supremely comfortable and the VR6 was smooth, almost turbine like. The suspension was soft, but it would hang on despite massive lean and remain planted. The VW dealers in Atlanta at that time were all awful and routine service was expensive. I ended up trading it for a '00 BMW 740iL that was beautiful but, once the warranty ran out made VW service look like a bargain. Sure wish I'd had kept the GTI.


  • L.Hutz L.Hutz on Feb 11, 2023

    Before the MkIV I had a 2006 Audi A4 3.2 MT, and had a similar experience with post-warranty maintenance. It was insane, so I sold it and picked up the MkIV for a steel because it already had high mileage. The Audi was a great car but the GTI was so much fun I didn’t miss it.

  • Sobhuza Trooper Like fusion power, the I.D. Buzz is only 30 years away.
  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)
  • Mister They've got their work cut out for them. I live in a large metropolitan city of 1.2+ million people, the is a single Mitsubishi dealer. It's really more like a used-car dealer that sells Mitsubishi on the side. With the remarkably cheesy name of "Johnny Legends".
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