This is definitely the vehicle for the larger family with an appetite for adventure. The stylish seven-seater is packed with classy specifications and has plenty of room for seven adults along with all their baggage too.
The goodRoom for a footie team
The badQuite noisy
VW Sharan SEL 2.0 TDI SCR 184PS DSG
Getting the balance right between people carriers and load-luggers can be a tricky business. After all the vehicle has to be practical and versatile with room for seven people yet it can’t look like an ugly box which drives like a tank.
Thankfully the Volkswagen Sharan offers the best of both worlds as this multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) looks imposing, is deceptively agile, relatively economical to run and yet it features all the flexibility required for the active modern day family.
The test car was powered by an efficient 2.0-litre 184PS diesel engine and was priced at £37,955 (£42,830 with options). It could sprint from 0-62mph in a respectable 8.9 seconds, maxed out at 132mph and according to official figures can deliver combined fuel economy of 52.3mpg with carbon emissions of 141g/km.
The Sharan is neatly styled and looks quite athletic despite its large dimensions. It features an upright stance, 17-inch alloys, sweeping headlight clusters, chrome roof rails, a gloss black radiator grille, panoramic sunroof, tinted rear widows and sliding rear doors which opened and closed electronically on the test car as a £630 option.
The interior is incredibly spacious with three individual seats in the second row and a further two in the back row. With flexibility in mind these seats can be folded flat and the wide boot entrance makes loading bulky or awkwardly-shaped items such as bicycles that much easier. The storage capacity within the Sharan ranges from 300 litres with all the seats in an upright position (which is ideal for the weekly shopping or smaller cases) to a whopping 2,297 litres with just the two front seats in use.
In addition there are deep door pockets, a central bin, cup holders and a useful glovebox for storing away extra bits and pieces, plus handy trays in the back of the front seats
The range-topping SEL trim model supplied for the week’s test was generously equipped and featured a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, sat nav, keyless entry, a rear view camera, 3Zone climate control and all the connectivity functions that we demand these days.
All occupants are treated to high standards of comfort with lots of light flooding the cabin and the high roofline means there is no feeling of being closed in – even in the third row of seats. Another notable factor is the upright seating position which means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility.
Although the Sharan is not the liveliest of performers it is very composed on the open road where it accelerates smoothly through the six-speed automatic gearbox. The suspension irons out the uneven surfaces and the road-holding is assured. There is a little body roll if pushed into bends too enthusiastically, but apart from that it was unruffled and confident. The steering is precise and rather pleasingly there is very little road, wind or engine noise filtering through to the cabin.
In busier congested areas, the Sharan was nimble and easy to manoeuvre with the rear view camera and sensors making light work of any parking issues. That said; the sensors were a tad sensitive and the option to turn them off was quite welcome at times to escape the frequent beeping sounds.
As one would expect from VW, the vehicle boasts a comprehensive list of safety systems, including anti-lock brakes with hydraulic brake assist, electronic stability control, automatic post collision braking, driver alert, numerous airbags and plenty more besides.
Figures showed that up to June 2016, more than 72,000 Sharan models had been snapped up by UK motorists and after a week behind the wheel of this model the appeal is quite apparent. It’s a versatile machine that handles well, is richly equipped with all the mod cons and looks the business too.
VW Sharan S 1.4 TSI 150 6-speed
If versatility is a must-factor in your lifestyle and you are constantly required to ferry a bus-load of passengers around, then look no further than the VW Sharan.
For this second generation model has three rows of seats that can be adjusted or removed very simply and quickly to suit requirements and even those relegated to the back row are treated to pretty high levels of comfort.
The addition of sliding rear doors is another asset to the Sharan as it makes life much easier when parking the vehicle in narrow spaces.
The driver benefits from excellent all round visibility thanks to the high-seated driving position and all passengers are treated to plenty of light in the bright, airy cabin.
Driver comfort is exceptionally good for such a large vehicle.
Quite often you complete a long journey in a people carrier and emerge with a few aches and groans – not so the Sharan. The seats are very comfortable and thanks to the adjustable height and reach on the steering wheel, it’s easy to find that perfect driving position.
Further creature comforts are also very comprehensive and include dual-zone air conditioning, stop/start function, electric windows front and rear, an excellent audio system with CD player and plenty more besides.
Another impressive factor about the Sharan is how agile it is. Despite its length and bulk, it proved deceptively nimble to manoeuvre and glided through congested city centre traffic with ease.
Then out on the faster roads, the 1.4-litre engine delivered ample power and acceleration as it cruised effortlessly through the six-speed manual transmission.
Road-holding was good even on tighter bends at higher speeds and the cabin noise was also relatively quiet considering its shape and size.
VW has kitted the Sharan out with a first class list of safety specifications including anti-lock brakes with hydraulic brake assist, electronic stabilisation, numerous airbags and automatic door locking.
The model supplied for my test drive was priced at £22.8k and that is outstanding value for money when you take into consideration the vehicle’s stylish design, practicality, versatility, comfort and safety credentials.
True, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea and it’s not exactly the fastest kid on the block, but there is certainly plenty of room in the marketplace for the Sharan… and the model’s ever-growing sales figures are testiment to that.