Volkswagen Sharan

2.0 TDI 150 SE Nav

Volkswagen Sharan, front
Volkswagen Sharan, front
Volkswagen Sharan, side
Volkswagen Sharan, side
Volkswagen Sharan, rear
Volkswagen Sharan, interior
Volkswagen Sharan, interior
Volkswagen Sharan, rear seats
Volkswagen Sharan, boot
Volkswagen Sharan, detail
Volkswagen Sharan, engine

AS facelifts go the one that the Volkswagen Sharan has just undergone would leave most discernible plastic surgeons somewhat perplexed.

The revised version of the German car maker's large family wagon shows few signs of change to the untrained eye.

Look long enough and you might eventually notice that the rear light clusters are now LEDs and have a new design but you'll be hard pressed to see any more exterior alterations - although there are new, more modern alloy wheel designs available too.

Inside there is a new steering wheel and updated upholstery while the infotainment system has been upgraded to VW's latest version in line with other models.

All of which means that the Sharan remains very reserved in the looks department - clean and smart, certainly, but hardly a head-turner, even by MPV standards.

Fortunately, flashy design is not high on the agenda for the buyers of such motors. Practicality and space are the key considerations in this market - and by not tinkering with the exterior shape and dimensions VW have ensured that the Sharan's interior has retained all the benefits that the second-generation has had since it launched in 2010.

Sliding rear doors are essential on a modern seven-seat MPV and make getting in and out of the rear uncomplicated in tight parking spaces. If you're feeling flush you can even specify that they're automatic.

VW's EasyFold seating is among the most versatile in any MPV. The middle row all slide forwards and backwards and recline individually while built in child booster seats are an option in the outer ones - which also tilt forward at the pull of a lever to allow easy access to the third row.

The rearmost seats will be adequate for adults on shorter journeys while children will be able to make themselves comfortable on longer trips too, and when not needed they quickly and easily fold flat - the seats that is, not the kids.

With seven seats in place the boot is still a very useful 300 litres - plenty big enough for the weekly shop - while load capacity rises to a van-like 2,297 litres with all five rear seats folded flat.

An abundance of storage around the cabin includes a cubby hole on top of the dash, two in the roof and two in the rear footwell, plus compartments in the boot - so those in the rearmost seats have somewhere to stow their stuff too.

While exterior changes are at a premium, those that have been made under the bonnet of the new Sharan are more significant.

The engine-line up has been upgraded so that all units meet stringent EU6 emissions standards and are up to 15 percent more fuel efficient than those they replace.

A 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol power pack and three different powered versions of a 2.0-litre diesel are the options, with all but the entry level diesel available with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

The mid-ranked oil burner I drove is likely to be the popular choice thanks to a good blend of performance and economy.

There's plenty of pull from low revs and a good throttle response makes for smooth overtaking while it is hushed and refined at cruising speeds.

And the Sharan is nicely composed for a big motor, handling much more like a car than a van with less body roll in corners than you might expect and a supple and comfortable ride.

Something else new is the SE Nav grade which I drove. Based in the mid-range SE model it, predictably, adds satellite navigation to the package and has more than enough kit to keep all the family comfortable and safe.

Other standard equipment includes Bluetooth, three-zone air conditioning, chrome roof rails, rear privacy glass, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, traction and stability control and a full suite of airbags.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI 150 SE Nav

Price: £30,790

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:123mph

0-62mph: 10.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 130g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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