MPVs aren't the fastest selling vehicles in the country, however, if you've got a growing family the an MPV or an estate is the way to go. The Volkswagen Sharan is a large MPV and it goes into competition with its cousin, the SEAT Alhambra, the Ford Galaxy and the Grand C4 Picasso from Citroen. These vehicles are versatile and very family friendly. While we will talk about performance and drive in this article, we have to guess that practicality is on the top of the list of any potential customers.
There is just one engine available to the Irish market in the Volkswagen Sharan. This is a 2.0 TDI engine that offers 150hp. The car does not feel sluggish on the road and it can be mated to either a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox or a 6-speed manual. Both are fine with the car, but for no major reason except for pure laziness, we would suggest opting for the DSG option. On-paper, this engine will bring you from 0-100km/h in 10.3 seconds (in both the automatic and the manual). All options to the Irish market are front wheel drive.
This is an excellent cruiser on the motorway, and even on city streets it would fare well. Because of its size, some may consider it difficult to park, but if you opt for all of the parking aids that are available with the vehicle, then this shouldn't be a problem. On country roads, the Sharan surprises. It doesn't suffer any major body roll and the steering is well-weighted. The suspension set-up also deals well with road imperfections. So, while this car won't be at the actual races anytime soon, it will provide great comfort while driving.
Aerodynamically, this car should really make noise when it hits wind on the motorway. However, this car is nicely padded and there is little intrusion from wind or road noise. The 2.0 TDi engine, which we're familiar with from other Volkswagen Group vehicles, is actually pretty hushed in the Sharan too.
The build quality of the Sharan is excellent, however, the dash can appear a little dull. The seats are comfortable and the driver's seat and the steering wheel is very easily adjusted. The second row is on rails and there are nice options for the side doors - our test model had a button on the key which allowed us to automatically open the door.
The Sharan received a full five stars in the Euro NCAP in 2010. It scored an excellent 96% for adult occupancy and a very good 80% for child occupancy. The car is surrounded by airbags and there is a myriad of safety options as standard and available with the vehicle.
With row three in place, the Sharan offers 300 litres - which is actual good for a seven seater. Put the third row down and you're looking at a mammoth amount of space. Row three has enough space for two adults. Row two is on rails and three adults would very comfortably sit in there. It also helps that row two is on rails. The front cabin is very spacious.