The Volkswagen Sharan is a refined, flexible and spacious seven-seat MPV, albeit one that is more expensive than its Seat Alhambra sister car
What is it?
This is the VW Sharan Bluemotion, the venerable MPV receiving the eco-friendly treatment. The Bluemotion gets a revised engine management system, lower idle speed, longer gear ratios and lower suspension to improve the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The result is a saving of 18g/km of CO2 and an extra 4.9mpg on the combined cycle over the regular 2.0 TDi.
What’s it like?
The lower ride height creates an unsettled ride and the longer gear ratios make for a peaky power delivery, but as long as you do a lot of miles, the fuel savings you’ll make mean these are relatively minor quibbles.
The rest of the Sharan is ageing, but gracefully - it drives and feels like a car that’s one generation out of step rather than two. That said, much of the switchgear would be recognisable to anybody who has spent time in a mid-1990s Passat. No bad thing in itself, but the materials feel utilitarian compared to more modern rivals
Despite its seven-seat layout, the rearmost seats are more of a part-time addition, as they rob the car of most of its boot space. If you’re looking for raw space, there are considerably bigger MPVs.
Should I buy one?
Maybe. There are both newer MPVs and more effective ways to save the planet. Even VW only expects to shift 60 Sharan Bluemotions a year. But if you need a no-nonsense way to shift seven people frugally and in reasonable comfort, the VW Sharan Bluemotion is a sensible choice.