REVIEW DATE: 20 Apr 2007
Volkswagen's Second Generation Sharan Claims To Add A Touch Of Quality To Full-Sized Family MPV Motoring. Jonathan Crouch Checks It Out.
Volkswagen's Sharan People Carrier continues on little changed, but can still take on newer large MPV rivals at their own game if you value quality, strong handling and versatility. It shares its design with SEAT's Alhambra but offers a wider range of engines and stronger residual values in return for slightly more expensive pricing.
Early Sharan owners who haven't yet tried this second generation version will find a package that smacks of much greater quality, crammed with features to please family users. The first and most obvious improvement that buyers of the original Sharan will notice is the higher quality dashboard, which could have been lifted from a Volkswagen Passat. This includes lovely touches like silver-ringed instruments, backlit at light with the familiar Volkswagen blue glow.
There's also a smart centre console with space for the optional satellite navigation system and a chunky four-spoke steering wheel. More practical touches include retractable cupholders, extra map pockets in the doors and a pair of useful lidded cubbyholes on top of the dash.
"A package that smacks of much greater quality, crammed with features to please family users."
These days, all models feature a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. If that doesn't suit, there's the option of a 5-speed automatic with Tiptronic override that allows you flip manually between the cogs if you're in the mood. Which might often be the case thanks to the range of engines on offer.
Many buyers opt for the entry-level 115bhp 2.0-litre petrol, or the base 115hp 1.9-litre turbodiesel variants. Better than either, however, is the 140bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel option. This engine is a step on from the 1.9-litre units of old with a more advanced injection system, smoother performance and greater refinement. It will get to 62mph from a standing start in 12.2s and average over 41mpg. This unit can also be purchased in super-economical BlueMotion form with a series of modifications that allow it to achieve 45.6mpg.
Seven seats are standard on all models and as far as their layout is concerned, things are pretty familiar - though early Sharan buyers should find that the removable chairs themselves should feel a lot more comfortable in this current model. Sadly, they're no lighter, so lugging them in and out remains a job not to be undertaken by the weak or faint-hearted. The two front seats can be swivelled round completely to face the rear - which is great for picnics and business meetings if you're stationary and there's only four in the car. It's annoying however, that you still can't do the same with the middle set so that occupants behind the driver can face each other and talk on longer journeys.
The Sharan's roadgoing behaviour has always been at the forefront of its class and a series of suspension tweaks for the second generation models improved things still further. The German engineers concentrated particularly on improving the ride over poor surfaces - the kind of thing you notice around town - and they've largely succeeded without compromising the higher speed handling that makes this car the surprisingly rewarding drive it is.
Despite the most recent improvement in standard specifications (curtain airbags, 16" alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors), prices remain competitive, ranging from £18,140 to £24,150 across four trim levels - S, SE, BlueMotion and Sport. As before, air-conditioning and the reassurance of a three-year warranty is standard across the range. As for other items of equipment, even the entry-level model gets security remote central locking, roof rails, an alarm, a trip computer, four airbags, ABS, an electronic engine immobiliser, electric front windows, power steering and a good quality radio cassette player.
The second generation Sharan corrected most of what was wrong with the original and continual enhancements since then have made the whole package more competitive. Yes, there are newer large people carriers you could consider but don't ignore this one if you get offered the right deal. It's well sorted. It's well designed. And it's a Volkswagen. Which has to count for something.
The results below show the top SHARAN deals on buyacar
|Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI CR BlueMotion Tech 140 SE 5dr diesel estate|
|Price £13,990||Save £6,685|
|Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI CR BlueMotion Tech 140 SE 5dr DSG diesel estate|
|Price £15,995||Save £7,006|
|Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI CR BlueMotion Tech 140 S 5dr DSG diesel estate|
|Price £16,960||Save £3,166|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT SHARAN DEALS|
|For SHARAN RANGE|
|OVERALL||6.6 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||6|
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