In January 2002, our family increased by 2 after the arrival of our twin daughters, so we needed a car that would comfortably fit 2 adults and 4 children that was car seat friendly, and spacious enough for bags and a double buggy. The VW Sharan, it has to be said, is a fantastic vehicle. The car is comfy, reliable, and an easy drive. It handles all road types with ease and cruises comfortably. The interior is basic but sufficient, and let's face it, you're not going to be boy racing in this or blasting out the music (the only Kenwood we have is a food mixer). This is a car that is built for the family and lugging half the kitchen around.
Most car seats will fit the Sharan, but obviously check first before you buy (either the seat or the car). All seats in the rear of the car can be taken out with ease (we recently moved house and it was a god send), and it's great for car boot sales. The seats recline easily and there's plenty of room for 2 consenting adults to have a lie down and have a game of "where's the gear stick". Buy new or used - I am a bit bias because I would never buy a new car due to loss of value the moment you leave the forecourt. A used VW in my opinion is as good as a new one and I'd rather pay a mechanic to fully inspect a used vehicle for the not so obvious faults. We wanted to go for diesel, but don't drive enough miles - if you can afford and justify diesel, go for it. I would recomend the Sharan to anyone who needs a spacious, reliable, practical, reasonably priced vehicle. It's a workhorse and you'll love it.
We have now owned our Sharan for two years, touch wood nothing has gone wrong with it. We love this car for lots of reasons, here are a few -
The size - although it is an MPV & looks like a monster from the outside it is infact very easy to drive & park (my wife may beg to differ as the scrapes down the side tell a very different tale)
Comfort - All seven seats are very comfortable. The front two also have adjustable arm rests which can be used or pushed out of the way. The front two seats can go forwards, backwards, up & down & they have a lumbar support which can be adjusted also. The five passenger seats can all be removed very easily, it's amazing how much space you have once the seats have been taken out. In the back of the middle seats there are lift up shelves which you can pull up so the people sitting in the middle row can use them as tables, it also has cup holders. In the front there are two cup holders also.
There certainly is lots of space for passengers in this car. The middle row of seats fold very easily & quickly to allow access to the rear two seats. There is plenty of leg room in the car.
Airbag - Our Sharan has double airbags - one fitted in the steering wheel & one fitted above the glove box. Luckily we have never needed to use these but we have peace of mind knowing they are there.
Looking down on the world - Having an MPV is great if you love sitting above everyone else on the roads. As the car is so high you have a much better view of everything on the road. We find that if we drive a 'normal' car after driving this that we feel very small & can't see half as much as in the MPV. It will be very hard for us to return to a normal car after driving an MPV.
Electric windows - All six windows are electric. The rear two can only be operated from the front dashboard & open outwards. The middle two can be operated from the middle doors or the front dash. There is also a child lock so the driver can lock the middle windows if needed. The sunroof is laso electric & tilts or slides.
Reliability - This car has been in our ownership now for two years & has never let us down. We had to call the RAC once as it wouldn't start outside the hospital but it turned out to be something very minor which was sorted there & then. VW's are known for their reliability. We have it serviced once a year.
Air conditioning - Our model doe not have air con, this is our biggest regret as in the summer months the car heats up like a green house due to all the big windows.
Blacked out windows - again another regret, with an MPV & all it's glass you really need tinted windows especially if you don't have air con. Sadly again our model does not have tinted windows.
Petrol consumption - very poor. The tank will cost you around £50 to fill right up, out of that you should get 350 miles around town & 500 if like us you drove non stop from Somerset to The Highlands.
Boot space - if like us you have a big family & need all seven seats in place then the boot is tiny. Yes you can adjust the very rear seats so they are far forward but this still only gives you a tiny boot space. One of the nice things about the Sharan though is the foot wells are spacious so you can put all your shopping in them.
Costs - as with every big car when it comes to servicing, renewing tyres & even getting road tax it costs quite a bit more than if you had a 1.1l Fiesta. We need reinforced tyres on ours which don't come cheap, we can expect to pay about £50 er tyre & we get through them at quite an alarming rate!
VW Sharan's, Ford Galaxy's & Seat Alhambra's all look very similar & they are very similar but with one big difference - the VW badge. Our previous car was a Renault Espace & we hated it, within weeks it was letting us down just when we needed it most & the costs to repair were terrible. With the Sharan so far we have found parts to be very reasonable & easy to find. If you are looking for a MPV then I really reccommend the VW Sharan but please bear in mind the mistakes we made with our purchase - air conditioner or tinted windows are a must!
Review written by James, husband of Herbie