- Typical VW refinement
- Seven seats
- Dull MPV style
- Been around for a while
- More expensive than rivals
What's the Volkswagen Sharan like?
It's hard to believe that the present Volkswagen Sharan has been around since 2010.
Of course it's been regularly updated during that time, with new engines and changes to the trim and equipment, but nonetheless the basic vehicle is getting fairly long in the tooth.
Petrol engine options start with VW's well known 1.4-litre TSI turbo, which has 150bhp and sprints from 0 to 60mph in just under 10 seconds. It's rated at 43mpg.
Later in the run there was also a 197bhp 2.0-litre TSI with a standard DSG automatic gearbox. This covers the sprint in about 8.3 seconds and gives a best possible economy of 33mpg.
Apart from these there's a 2.0-litre TDI diesel power unit with a number of different power outputs ranging from 140bhp to 184bhp.
The 140bhp and later 150bhp models cover the sprint in 10.8 seconds and are capable of between 50mpg and 55mpg.
Higher powered diesels with 170bhp, 177bhp and 184bhp will get to 60mph in under 9.0 seconds and can still better 50mpg.
All of the engines are available with the DSG 6-speed automatic gearbox but apart from the top petrol, the standard offering is a 6-speed manual with an easy, slick change.
The Sharan drives well and can keep up with most of the competition in almost every way. The earlier model shared underpinnings and much of the body with the SEAT Alhambra and the Ford Galaxy, but this second generation only shares with the very similar SEAT.
The Sharan feels very much like a car to drive, with good handling and road holding and beautifully tactile steering.
On upper models, there's an optional adaptive suspension system that can change driving dynamics by adjusting the dampers from the driver's seat. This does improve the ride a little, but the standard suspension, despite giving a good ride over most surfaces, still allows fast safe cornering.
The driving position is good for people of all sizes, with plenty of seat adjustment, and a steering column that adjusts for reach and height.
Refinement is top notch with very good insulation allowing only a minimum amount of wind or tyre noise, and all the engines are smooth and quiet.
Equipment and Practicality
It's a big and spacious seven-seat MPV that is versatile enough to handle just about anything a family could throw at it and then some.
The big interior has room enough for seven adults and even has reasonably easy access into the rearmost two, with wide opening sliding back doors that are electrically operated in upper models.
The spacious cabin is filled with clever storage and even has useful items like a hanging boot net to stop items rolling around when the rear seats are stowed.
Mid-range SE versions comes with alloys, audio remote controls, electric driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, parking sensors, alarm and traction control.
It also has front and side airbags, heated mirrors, air conditioning, a CD stereo and multi-position folding rear seats.
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If you're after a well-made seven-seater that's got acres of space, then the VW Sharan is well worth a look. It also drives very well, a trait not normally found in an MPV and being a VW, the build quality and refinement is also excellent.