The Sharan’s easy to drive, fairly frugal and won’t cost the earth to run – just don’t expect it to be much fun
You can get the VW Sharan with one petrol and two diesel engines. Do a lot of town driving? Then go for the 1.4-litre 150hp petrol – it’s the smoothest engine on offer and is quieter at slow speeds than the slightly grumbly diesels and uses less fuel in stop-start traffic, too. VW claims it’ll return 43.5mpg but expect to see a number in the mid thirties.
Pick one of the two diesels if you regularly cover longer distances. Both use less fuel at motorway speeds than the petrol and are reasonably quiet once you’ve settled into a cruise. The 150hp model isn’t quite as quick as the more powerful 184hp version but it’s slightly more efficient – it’ll return around 45mpg.
The VW Sharan’s a bit of a snore-fest in the driving department. That’s far from unique for an MPV, however, and your passengers surely won’t mind
All Sharans come with a manual gearbox as standard but you can upgrade to a smooth twin-clutch automatic for around £1,500 across the range. It might sound like an expensive extra but it’ll really help take the stress out of long journeys and seemingly endless bank holiday traffic jams.
The Sharan might look huge, but its giant windscreen and square side windows mean it’s easy to see out of and there aren’t any particularly large blind spots. All but entry-level S models come with front and rear parking sensors too, for a little extra peace of mind.
You’ll find it’s relatively easy to drive around town, too, thanks to its light steering and raised seating position that gives you a good view over the road ahead. Large potholes can send an unpleasant jolt through the cabin but the Sharan does a good job of ironing out most small bumps at higher speeds.
The Ford Galaxy feels slightly sharper to drive than the VW but the optional £855 adaptive suspension helps the Sharan take tight corners without leaning excessively and comes with a comfort setting to take the edge off bigger bumps and potholes.
You’ll hear a slight roar from the tyres at motorway speeds and a little wind whistle from the Sharan’s large door mirrors but neither are particularly intrusive.
The VW Sharan received a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2010. The Sharan – with no automatic emergency brakes or self-drive functions – would probably perform significantly worse if tested today.