From £25,870
A seven-seat MPV that majors on space and quality - but not dynamic flair

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Sharan
This Volkswagen MPV will not be the choice of the committed driver

The Volkswagen Sharan is a refined, flexible and spacious seven-seat MPV, albeit one that is more expensive than its Seat Alhambra sister car

12 July 2010

What is it?

As you approach the new Volkswagen Sharan, the MPV hides its size well. The family styling from the Golf and Polo neatly tricks the brain into thinking that the Sharan is smaller and, therefore, more nimble than its rivals.

The reason for this is that although the Sharan is 220mm longer, at 4854mm, it’s also 92mm wider and 12mm lower than the previous car, which gives it a well proportioned if slightly dull look.

The increase in size, however, doesn’t mean an increase in weight. The car is now an average of 30kg lighter across the range, thanks to improved seat design and lighter engines.

What’s it like?

When the new Sharan goes on sale in November, there will be a choice of four engines – two petrol and two diesel. The bigger sellers will be the diesels – 2.0-litre units with 138bhp and 168bhp outputs. Although the 168bhp unit is usefully quicker, it’s less refined, with marginally more noise and vibration being evident from the driver’s seat. However, both are impressively refined on the motorway.

The two available petrol engines are the 148bhp 1.4 TSI and the 197bhp 2.0 TSI, which have already featured in a multitude of other cars from the Volkswagen Group stable.

The 197bhp model was unavailable to test at the launch, but a drive in the 1.4 TSI revealed a lack of torque lower down the rev range – not ideal in a large MPV. It also required frequent gearchanging to keep the revs above 4000rpm when you wanted to make progress or overtake.

All available test cars were fitted with the optional DCC adaptive chassis control, which is expected to cost about £650 in the UK. DCC individually adjusts the dampers at each wheel to give better body control yet improves ride comfort. The system works well and also offers drivers the option to override the Normal setting with a Sport or Comfort mode.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that this Volkswagen will not be the choice of the committed driver. That crown still remains with the Ford Galaxy.

The Sharan is not the kind of vehicle that you’d want to hustle around. It very quickly begins to understeer if you’re too fast into a bend. The steering, too, is a touch vague at the straight-ahead on the motorway, although it weights up well in the bends.

Inside, there’s plenty of room for seven adults, with access to the rear seats now provided by sliding doors (with optional electric operation). Only the tallest passengers seated in the third row will take issue with the available headroom. A six-seat configuration is available too.

Boot space isn’t brilliant in seven-seat mode, at 300 litres, but then no car in this class can carry seven passengers and all of their luggage. In five-seat configuration the boot space rises to 711 litres, and then to a serious 2297 litres if you fold both rear rows of seats and load to the roof. Still not enough? Then the back of the front passenger seat can be folded flat, allowing nearly three metres of load length.

All rear seats leave a flat load floor when folded. The rear row can be folded and repositioned with one hand, but the centre row requires a two-handed action to reposition the seats after they’ve been folded.

Up front, the dashboard is standard VW, which means excellent fit and finish with high-quality materials that are soft-touch in all the right locations.

Should I buy one?

It may not be more nimble than its rivals, but buyers will love the high-quality feel of the new Sharan and its ease of use. That will ensure it is a serious contender in the seven-seat MPV market.

Tristan Young

Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI 140 PS SE

Price: £22,500; Top speed: 120 mph; 0-62 mph: 10.9 secs; Economy: 51.3 mpg (combined); CO2: 143 g/km; Kerbweight: 1740 kg; Engine: 4cyls, 1968 cc, turbodiesel; Power: 138bhp at 4,200 rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750–2500 rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
32

16 July 2010

As dull as this is, I'm glad that VAG are at least continuing to make a full size MPV. The mini MPVs are all well and good but not for frequent or long trips 7-up. No sign of a new Espace from Renault yet.

I wonder will they do a Skoda version this time or a SEAT? Maybe a Porsche?

....That was a joke btw.

16 July 2010

There is a SEAT version on its' way. It is almost identical to the Sharon, but has slightly harder plastics on the dash and a SEAT badge on the steering wheel.

16 July 2010

[quote Will86]There is a SEAT version on its' way. It is almost identical to the Sharon, but has slightly harder plastics on the dash and a SEAT badge on the steering wheel.[/quote]

and £3k off the retail price?

16 July 2010

Agree - smaller MPVs just don't cut it if you need to accomodate more than 5 (and some luggage) on a regular basis. From news feeds it seems that the Espace won't be replaced, the 807/C8/Ulysse have now been withdrawn from the UK, Toyota no longer has the Previa, and the Chysler Voyager has an annoying 2:2:3 seating configuration.

So the only options are the Galaxy and the Sharan (+ derivatives). And if you find sliding doors to be a "must have" feature (as many who have experienced the benefits do) you are down to one option....!

It's also great that VW have managed to create a larger more versatile and luxurious vehicle whilst simultaneously shedding weight!

16 July 2010

[quote Will86]There is a SEAT version on its' way. It is almost identical to the Sharon, but has slightly harder plastics on the dash and a SEAT badge on the steering wheel.[/quote] Judging on the previous generation of both Sharan and Alhambra (the SEAT version of the Sharan), they were identical everywhere, even in the quality of the plastics in the interior, as they were made in the same factory in Palmela-Portugal. The only differences were found in the badges, the price tags, the equipment, the colour of the lights on the dash and the fabrics.

And finding no reason for them to change their policies, I expect that the SEAT version, ie the Alhambra, shall be again the more logical move for the one who 'd be interested to buy the Sharan, but who would not be afraid of the snobbery or the more severe comments of the press on the Alhambra's virtues (compared to the Sharan's ones).

16 July 2010

[quote supermanuel]

I wonder will they do a Skoda version this time or a SEAT? Maybe a Porsche?

[/quote]

I think there is a team at Weissach currently trying to bolt some 911 headlights, a fat rear end and a lot of Porsche badges on it right now. It will shortly go on sale for about £85,000. But officially it will have nothing to do with the Sharan and will have been developed purely in response to customer demand.

Footballers with large families are said to have already placed deposits on the new car, which Porsche are calling the Crapola...

16 July 2010

[quote jbroadis]So the only options are the Galaxy and the Sharan (+ derivatives). And if you find sliding doors to be a "must have" feature (as many who have experienced the benefits do) you are down to one option....![/quote]

Don't forget the Kia Sedona - 7 seats and sliding doors.

16 July 2010

[quote WheelIdeas]Don't forget the Kia Sedona - 7 seats and sliding doors. [/quote]

Good call - I had indeed forgotten the Sedona, which I believe sells very well on account of it's keen pricing.

16 July 2010

[quote supermanuel]

[quote Will86]There is a SEAT version on its' way. It is almost identical to the Sharon, but has slightly harder plastics on the dash and a SEAT badge on the steering wheel.[/quote]

and £3k off the retail price?

[/quote] Quite possibly. They had pictures of the Sharon and Alhambra in Whatcar (apologies for mentioning this on the Autocar forum) last month and they were pretty much identical. Am quite impressed that with all seven seats up, there is still 300 litres of luggage space. To put that into perspective a Focus has 385 litres. Plus it sounds like VAG have prioritised comfort and practicality exactly as they should.

16 July 2010

[quote Will86]Am quite impressed that with all seven seats up, there is still 300 litres of luggage space. To put that into perspective a Focus has 385 litres. [/quote]

Yeah I questioned the article criticizing the luggage space; made it sound like the third-row seats were practically touching the inside of the tailgate, but 300 litres is certainly useable...

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