Volkswagen Sharan a car for the people
Iain Dooley checks out Volkswagen's long-serving Sharan full-size people-carrier.
Engines – Like the car, the Sharan's engine range evolved over the course of its life. With no shortage of motors to choose from, medium capacity petrol and diesel engines formed the bulk of the range. When choosing your car, aim for the most powerful engine you can afford, as you'll need all that power when the Sharan is fully loaded. Predictably, the diesel option will be kinder on your wallet as such engines cope better with full loads and plenty of miles.
Exterior – If you're in the full-size people-carrier business there's only so much you can do to disguise a vehicle's size. Volkswagen's Sharan makes no stylistic apologies for its existence, but its business-like, streamlined look ensures that it can't be mistaken for a van of similar dimensions.
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Interior – Volkswagen's consistent approach to car-making ensured that, when launched, the Sharan offered all the mod-cons and impressive attention to detail that fellow Golf owners have always enjoyed. The Sharan's sombre cabin ambience hid impressive build quality and space for up to seven seats. A later facelift further boosted quality and comfort levels.
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Driving – Despite its size, the Sharan is an agile beast. The lofty driving position enhances forward visibility, while the car's compliant ride makes light work of poorly-surfaced urban roads. Even parking is rarely a chore; if the car you choose includes parking sensors the task is no harder than manoeuvring a Golf – just beware of car park height restrictions.
Ownership – You'll need more space to accommodate a Sharan than you would an average family hatchback, but the driving and ownership experience has more in common with Volkswagen's Golf than you might think. Easy to drive and solidly built, the Sharan's spacious cabin allows you to mix people and belongings in a variety of different ways depending on seat configuration.
What to look for – Predictably, for something family focused it's important to check for cabin trim damage – boisterous children are rarely respectful. Also, make sure all the seats fold with ease and the car drives smoothly. A school run favourite, short hops could mean soggy brakes and plenty of parking dents. Latter cars require a full service history for maximum peace of mind.
Model history – 2000, Volkswagen launches all-new large people-carrier, available with five or seven seats. Petrol and diesel engines offered, along with wide range of equipment and a spacious and versatile cabin. Mid-life facelift improved looks, refinement and engine choice.
Reasons to buy – Spacious, practical, well built, good to drive, diesel engines.
Reasons to beware – A big car, a false economy if underused.
Pick of the range – Sharan 2.0 TDi SE 140.
What to pay – 2005 55 �8,275; 2006 06 �9,360; 2006 56 �9,700; 2007 07 �11,800; 2007 57 �12,575; 2008 08 �14,650; 2008 58 �15,600; 2009 09 �17,300; 2009 59 �17,975. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.