Volkswagen Sharan MPV
Price £25,325 - £34,790
- Practical and versatile
- Robust and high-quality
- Refined and comfortable
- Fairly dull styling
- Quite expensive to buy
- More modern rivals available
At a glance
"The Volkswagen Sharan is a very capable family car, but it’s a bit on the pricey side."
The Volkswagen Sharan is a seven-seat MPV, or people carrier. It takes on a wide range of rivals, including the Ford Galaxy, Renault Grand Scenic, Ford S-MAX, Peugeot 5008, Ford Grand C-MAX and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso – as well as its similarly-priced sister model, the SEAT Alhambra.
Key to the Sharan's appeal are its versatile and spacious interior, efficient petrol and diesel engines and rock-solid VW build quality. And despite the fact that it's a similar size and shape to a van, it's also one of the most ‘car-like’ MPVs to drive.
On the downside, the design of the Sharan is getting a little long in the tooth these days, despite a recent facelift. The near-identical SEAT Alhambra is roughly the same price as a Sharan of equivalent specification and some buyers may prefer the image of the livelier Spanish brand – although a VW is almost certain to fetch more on the second-hand market after a few years of ownership.
The VW Sharan engine range comprises two TSI petrols (a 1.4-litre producing 148bhp and a 2.0-litre producing 217bhp) and three TDI diesels (producing 113, 148 and 181bhp), with the least powerful diesel offering the best fuel economy in the range, at 57.6mpg, as well as reasonably low CO2 emissions of 130g/km.
There are four trim levels to choose from: S, SE, SEL and Executive – the last one is aimed more at corporate and VIP transport users rather than family buyers, as it features six full-size seats rather than the seven found in other models.
We’d recommend the 148bhp diesel engine in SE specification, which adds alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control to the entry-level S model's climate control, folding seats, iPod connectivity and fuel-saving stop-start system.
SEL adds luxuries such as 17-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, a panoramic sunroof, DAB radio, leather trim and front foglights, which are all nice to have, but feel a bit superfluous in what's supposed to be a simple and practical family car.
The Volkswagen Sharan engine range manages to mix strong performance with competitive fuel economy and emissions figures
One of the best MPVs to drive, the Volkswagen Sharan combines powerful engines with agile and responsive handling
The Volkswagen is quiet and comfortable inside – if not the last word in design flair
The large and well thought-out VW Sharan scores extremely well in this area
Proven technology and plentiful safety kit make the Volkswagen Sharan a dependable choice