Volkswagen Sharan Review logo

Volkswagen Sharan Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2010
      Body type
      MPV
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Spacious, roomy, cumbersome to drive”

Best bits

  • Huge interior, very flexible
  • Seats five very comfortably and seven well
  • Upgrades in 2015 and 2019 brought big improvements

Not so great

  • Can be cumbersome to drive
  • Can be expensive to run
  • Long running model - feeling old

Read by

Volkswagen Sharan Front View

Overall verdict

Volkswagen Sharan Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Sharan Rear View

Driving

Volkswagen Sharan Right Side View

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Sharan Bootspace

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Volkswagen Sharan has been a mainstay in Volkswagen’s range since 1995, a model that’s been popular with larger families looking for something that’s roomy, well-equipped and incredibly practical."

Volkswagen Sharan Front View

It’s now becoming something of a unicorn in the car world. People carriers (or MPVs as they’re sometimes known) have fallen out of favour in recent years, with buyers preferring to opt for things like The Skoda Kodiaq, Peugeot 5008 and Volkswagen’s very own Tiguan Allspace, which all offer seven seats in a more conventional bodystyle.


As a result, many car manufacturers have discontinued their people carriers, which means the Sharan is one of the last options if you’re looking for a ‘proper’ people carrier, and something with two sliding side doors, but don’t want to buy something that’s based on a van (for instance a Ford Tourneo Custom or Volkswagen Caravelle). As a result, it’s a really good used buy and one that you shouldn’t discount just because it’s slightly unfashionable these days.


There’s a reason why Sharan is one of the last standing - it’s always been one of the very best. This version, originally launched in 2010 and substantially upgraded in 2015, is no different. 


Part of the Sharan’s appeal is the ease in which it can be transformed from a seven-seater, to five seater to two-seater. If you’ve ever owned an older people carrier, you’ll be well aware about what a faff it can be to remove seats - both in how heavy and awkward they are and also how difficult they can be to store. 


Not so with Sharan. Since launch the rear five seats fold effortlessly to create a flat floor and an incredibly useful load area. It’s easy to do, too, by just pulling a couple of handles and straps. Of course, should you need the space, those seats can come out too (but, be warned, they are heavy). 


There’s also a neat option where the middle seats have a built-in booster seat. Pull a handle at the base of the seat and the squab will rise up - a demonstration that the Sharan has been designed with a sharp focus on families. Opt for a car with a panoramic glass roof and the interior feels even more spacious, thanks to the amount of light that fills the interior.


Now, back to that 2015 facelift. Initially there was a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, with the 140PS 2.0-litre TDI being described as the most efficient engine to be fitted to a car of this size and was a popular choice. However, buyers opting for the refreshed option benefit from a host of changes from under the bonnet. Engines were upgraded and all of the diesels were revised and brought up to Euro 6 standard, which means they are more powerful, more economical and emit less CO2. 


On the road, it’s as you’d expect for a car of this size. A bit of a handful around town or tighter roads, but nothing that should put you off, and much more happy and confident on the motorway. Steering is light, it corners well for its size and the ride soaks up all but the very worst lumps and bumps in the road.


From the exterior, you’d struggle to tell the facelifted Sharan apart from its predecessor. In fact, from the front, it's almost impossible to tell the two models apart. Tweaks included new bumpers and lights, and new rear light clusters which feature LEDs. 


Inside, there’s more standard equipment, including touchscreen infotainment, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth and automatic post-collision braking.


Sharan benefited from a range of further upgrades in 2019, designed to prolong the model’s life into the early 2020's. Discover Navigation is offered as standard across the range, there’s a blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert and lane assist - ideal as the car is so long -  and dynamic road sign assist that brings up things like speed limit signs onto the info screen on Sharan’s instrument cluster. 


Worth noting that this Sharan - originally launched in 2010 - has been around long enough to be Euro NCAP crash tested twice, once in 2010 and again in 2019 - it’s pretty unusual for a model to be tested twice in its lifespan. First time round, it was a five star car, but was only rated as four-star by 2019 - the goalposts had shifted by this point and gaining that five-star rating was much, much more difficult.


Because it’s been on sale for so long, Sharan offers a lot to many buyers in this market, with a wide range of trims, engines and price points. If you’re after a car for a larger family, this may just be it.


Is the Volkswagen Sharan right for you?

The Volkswagen Sharan is an attractive proposition for anyone looking for either a seven seat car or, specifically, a people carrier. Its styling may not be as appealing as more modern seven seat options, but the Sharan is very practical, very flexible and has been around long enough to appeal to almost every budget.


Its size will be off-putting to some, both in how cumbersome it can be to drive and the obvious knock-on effects with running costs (i.e fuel consumption, road tax and insurance). The smaller seven seat alternatives from Volkswagen like the Touran and Tiguan Allspace are likely to be more appropriate if you only need seven seats very occasionally. But, if you need those seven seats almost all the time, then the Sharan is for you. 


Go for a Sharan that was registered after 2015 if you can - these cars benefited from a major facelift. 


What's the best Volkswagen Sharan model/engine to choose?

If you’ve got a decent budget, then any Sharan after 2019 is preferable - this is when it received a series of upgrades and improved equipment. SE Nav and SEL are the two trims to go for. On older Sharans, look for the SE trim. This got chrome roof rails and tinted rear glass, front and rear parking sensors and cruise control among other items, which made driving a Sharan - especially if you’re not used to the size - much easier.


For engines, look for something that’s post-2015 if you can. This is when Petrol (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines were redesigned. These turbocharged direct-injection engines were up to 15 per cent more fuel-efficient, and all conform to the Euro-6 emissions standard. TSI petrol engines are better if you’re covering lower mileages (less than 12,000 miles per year), go for a diesel if you're doing the miles to justify it.


What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen Sharan?

There’s three different types of car that are similar to the Volkswagen Sharan. There’s smaller seven-seaters like the Volkswagen Touran, Vauxhall Zafira Tourer and Peugeot 5008, then there’s the cars that are similar in concept to the Sharan. 


These are the likes of the SEAT Alhambra, Ford S-MAX and, in years gone-by would have included the Renault Espace and Chrysler Voyager. Then there’s vans that have been converted into (quite often very plush) people carriers. These are the Ford Tourneo Custom and Volkswagen Caravelle.


Learn more

Volkswagen Sharan Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Sharan Rear View

Driving

Volkswagen Sharan Right Side View

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Sharan Bootspace

Prices, versions and specification