Volkswagen Sharan MPV
Price £26,680 - £36,660
- Practical and versatile
- Robust and high-quality
- Refined and comfortable
- Plain styling despite 2015 facelift
- Quite expensive to buy
- More modern rivals available
At a glance
“The Volkswagen Sharan is a sensible, practical and capable seven-seat MPV, but it feels expensive compared to newer rivals.”
The Volkswagen Sharan is an MPV people carrier that offers seven seats, a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines and a versatile and practical interior. It competes in a crowded market amongst rivals like the stylish Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and sharp-driving Ford Galaxy and Ford S-MAX. In such company, the Sharan is beginning to seem a little expensive and long in the tooth, although it's still a sensible option for larger families. Despite looking a little boxy and uninspiring, the Sharan is remarkably car-like to drive.
If you want a little more flair to go with your seven-seat practicality, the SEAT Alhambra from Volkswagen's Spanish sister brand is about the same price and offers a similar amount of equipment – although the Sharan is likely to hold its value better than the Alhambra.
Volkswagen offers the Sharan with a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine and three 2.0-litre diesels, producing 113, 148 and 181bhp. The petrol is zesty and definitely worth considering if you don’t cover a lot of miles, but most Sharan customers will go for diesel. We recommend the 148bhp engine, which blends good performance with decent efficiency. Despite having more power than the 113bhp option, it returns the same 56.5mpg economy and 130g/km CO2 emissions for an annual road-tax bill of £110.
The Sharan is available in three main trim levels: S, SE (with a Nav upgrade available) and SEL. The entry-level S comes with DAB radio, air-conditioning and a USB connection, while upgrading to SE Nav (which we recommend) brings sat nav, alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control. Top-spec SEL trim adds a panoramic sunroof and other bells and whistles, but at over £33,000, this makes the Sharan an expensive proposition.
In terms of reliability, the Sharan certainly feels well built, but Volkswagen's reputation for reliability has taken a tumble in recent years. In our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, it finished 22nd out of 32 manufacturers, but a 27th-place finish for reliability may give Sharan customers pause for thought.
There are no such concerns over safety: the Sharan scored the full five stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests, with an excellent 96% adult occupant safety rating being particularly impressive.
The Volkswagen Sharan engine range mixes 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