The Volkswagen Sharan is a 7-seat people carrier that performs family-ferrying duties with the minimum of fuss. While its boxy looks won’t win any awards for radical design, it’s an efficient, practical and easy to drive MPV with serious workhorse credentials.
The Volkswagen Sharan’s solid, conservative exterior design doesn’t make it the most exciting MPV in its class – the Peugeot 5008 is much more of a looker.
The VW’s boxlike dimensions are great for going on camping trips, bringing flat-pack furniture home and lugging around kids, pets and shopping bags. It may look restrained and practical, but the Sharan is thoroughly fit for purpose.
The VW’s boxlike dimensions are great for going on camping trips.
What’s it like to drive?
An elevated driving position, height-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel you can adjust both for reach and rake make it easy to get comfortable in the Sharan.
Surprisingly for a tall vehicle the Sharan handles well, negotiating fast corners with minimal body roll. You’ll find nicely weighted steering and the car feels generally light and agile while on the go, while ride comfort is equally impressive.
The Sharan’s diesel and petrol engines all offer plenty of power and flexibility, allowing for swift progress on country roads and motorways.
Surprisingly for a tall vehicle the Sharan handles well, negotiating fast corners with minimal body roll.
As with its exterior, the Sharan’s interior isn’t going to make your eyeballs pop out. It is, however, spacious, comfortable and practical, with a clean, uncomplicated layout that makes it a pleasant place to spend time. All-round visibility is also good thanks to the car’s large windows and narrow front and rear pillars.
Equipment levels are generally impressive, with entry-level S versions featuring an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio and sat-nav as standard. SE models add front and rear parking sensors, while SE Nav models get a power-adjustable driver’s seat, folding tables, a leather steering wheel and cruise control.
Higher spec SEL cars boast a panoramic sunroof, heated Alcantara-clad sports seats and an upgraded stereo. Many cars also include optional stereo and sat-nav upgrades, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.
The Sharan’s cabin may be basic but it’s solid and the manufacturers screwed it together well, featuring quality plastics and sturdy buttons, and switchgear that look like VW designed them to withstand attacks from unruly children.
The Volkswagen Sharan’s forté is its spacious, highly practical interior. There’s plenty of head and leg room for all occupants, although a couple of adults on the third row of seats may find it a bit of a squeeze.
There’s a huge array of standard interior storage and compartments dotted about the cabin – you’ll find them in the roof, dashboard, centre armrest and passenger footwell – as well as cup-holders, a cooled glovebox and door bins. SE Nav models have even more places to put stuff, with drawers under the front seats, seatback storage pockets and a rubbish container.
The Sharan’s boot is impressively large, even with the third row of seats in place. If you don’t need to carry 7 people, you can fold the third row flat into the floor, turning the Sharan into an extremely spacious 5-seat car, while dropping all the seats gives you van-like amounts of room, perfect for moving furniture around or big trips to the dump.
Running costs and reliability
The Sharan offers good value against the competition. Its residual values are strong, while decent fuel economy and emissions figures make it a cost-effective choice.
The 2.0-litre TDI diesel model returns 56.5mpg, while the higher powered version of the same engine delivers 39.8-40.9mpg. The 1.4-litre TSI petrol model offers strong performance considering its size. It can’t match the diesels for frugality. C02 emissions for all engines are in line with the competition.
What cinch loves
We love the Volkswagen Sharan’s supremely versatile interior. It may not be flashy, but it does the job it was designed to do with quiet aplomb. We’re also fans of the Sharan’s extensive standard roster of safety equipment, which includes curtain airbags, knee airbags, electronic stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring and a post-collision braking system, which applies the brakes after a crash to make sure that further collisions don’t happen.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
If you like the Volkswagen Sharan...
Town and country drivers
OK, it’s not be the most stylish contender in its class. The Sharan is still definitely one of the best all-rounders. It offers high levels of comfort, refinement, interior space and safety in a straightforward, no-nonsense package.
This review was