Volkswagen has recently reintroduced the Sharan to Ireland and it’s one of the few MPVs on the market that is a genuine seven seater (i.e. adults welcome in row 3), and a blessing for large families. I recently reviewed the Volkswagen Touran; the Sharan is like a bigger Touran and sliding rear doors make it even more practical.
The Sharan won’t win any beauty contests but then again none of its competitors are likely to either. Aside from looking quite huge when stationary outside your house or in the car park – where it really does dwarf small hatchbacks – the styling won’t draw attention to it and that’s probably best.
Inside, the Sharan hasn’t had the same upmarket makeover as the new Touran and looks a bit more plastic. But it’s the quality that we expect from Volkswagen and will stand the test of time. The seats are really comfortable, and there are storage places in every row, all the way to the very back! They’re under the seats, in the roof, on top of the dash, behind the seats…yeah no problems on storage.
Passenger space is brilliant as expected. My test car had electric rear sliding doors, which made access to the back really easy. In row two, there are three individual seats with Isofix child seat fixtures and each can be slid forward or back independent of the others. This is good because you can use this to make more legroom for passengers in row 3. Access to row 3 is simple with a quick pull of a lever and once back there, it would be comfortable enough for your average adult, though these seats tend to be where the children sit anyway.
With row 3 seats in place, this is usually where MPVs struggle for boot space but Volkswagen has squeezed 300 litres into the Sharan. When the seats in row 3 are folded down into the floor, what’s left is enormous – 711 litres.
While space and practicality are a priority, the Sharan also happens to be a nice MPV to drive. For sure it’s big, but on the road it is as easy to drive and place on the road as a Golf. The controls are all light, it’s smooth to drive, and the cabin excludes most of the engine and road noise. The handling and grip are good for a large MPV – not sporting, but good enough to get from A to B quickly and safely.
There is just one engine for the Sharan and that’s the 2.0-litre 150bhp diesel. It has adequate power for this large MPV and the refinement of the engine is very good. With the manual gearbox it will return up to 56mpg, with emissions of 130g CO2 per km putting it in tax band B.
There are a choice of two trim levels, Comfortline and Highline, and the option of an automatic gearbox. Comfortline models are priced from €42,000 and come with 16″ alloys, a leather multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, 3-zone climatronic air conditioning, four electric windows, touchscreen infotainment, Bluetooth, parking sensors and front fog lights.
Highline models start at €46,760 and include leather trim, heated front seats, 17″ alloys, Adaptive Cruise Control including city emergency brake functions, Front Assist and keyless entry and start. Currently a navigation system, rear view camera and electric rear sliding doors can be added for just an extra €161.
The Volkswagen Sharan’s versatile interior and sliding rear doors make this an excellent family car, and it’s one of the few cars on the market that can transport seven full-size adults. Yet rather than feeling like a slightly more plush mini-bus, the Sharan goes about its business with serious polish and refinement.
Seven seat motoring ain’t all that bad.
Model tested: Volkswagen Sharan 2.0-litre TDI 150bhp Comfortline
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 10.3 seconds
Economy: 56mpg (5.0/100km)
CO2 emissions: 130g/km
Tax band: B1 (€270 per year)