VW Sharan a new

meaning to life

Volkswagen Sharan, front
Volkswagen Sharan, front
Volkswagen Sharan, side
Volkswagen Sharan, side
Volkswagen Sharan, rear
Volkswagen Sharan, interior
Volkswagen Sharan, boot

WORKINGfrom an office in a city far, far away has a bonus where this job is concerned.

Every day there are added opportunities to measure a car against mixed conditions like country lanes, motorways and the Star Wars bar which is life at city traffic lights.

Here are found the delights of the nasal cavity excavator, some reaching depths so great kangaroos are made homeless.

Of course this is not forgetting blokes who think it acceptable to belt out Adele songs or women putting on make-up in the rear view, sorry, cosmetics mirror. On really special days these roles are reversed.

It is something dearly missed when life in Gotham is swapped for trying to carve out deathless prose back on the farm.

No more wondering what makes saddos stick BMW M badges on whatare not or cursing the size of multi-storey parking space because their car should really come with its own bell and conductor.

However there are advantages. Rather than sitting wondering who in their right mind, unless particularly unacquainted with birth control, would want a hulking great MPV for the daily commute you can actually enjoy the benefits of seven seats and an elevated view of the driver next door texting his mistress.

Which is how I come to be leaning the laptop on a seat-back table, halfway up a mountain, enjoying the view from a Volkswagen Sharan. Two-litre, six-speed DSG, 178bhp, TDI for the record.

Twenty years ago when the Sharan was launched, bragging rights went to the MPV with the most flexible spine, the ones which could contort themselves into a small holiday home or, bizarrely, a fully mobile office with face to face rear seats and a handy hat stand.

My grandfather, who loved to fit out small vans with everything including, I kid you not, a kitchen sink would have been in his element. Today's MPVs are more about soccer mums carrying herds of cackling mud rats.

The Sharan has had facelift this year, not much of one, rear light clusters, redesigned steering wheel and the latest VW infotainment display as a standard feature. It remains a quality product with a more practical than flash dash and loads of storage places.

Practicality is obviously going to be top of all lists. The middle row of seats slides individually to allow ease of access for the little darlings heading for numbers six and seven.

This is helped even further by the option at £620 of electric sliding doors and another £495 adds a powered tailgate.

With a price tag of £36,630 the Sharan comes with a massive list of standard features but fully kitting the test car out took it to a heady £41,000.

Comfort and convenience aside, there is still the important question of performance and the cost of running such a big vehicle. This is far from slow MPV transport. Left in automatic the DSG box still responds well and 62mph comes up in under nine seconds. Even so VW says an average consumption of 53mpg is possible.

Tax is still a reasonable £110 a year and all engines have stop start technology.

On the road progress is smooth and effortless as would be expected but it is also a surprisingly lithe MPV when you take to the back roads and have to deal with tight bends and oncoming drivers with the spatial awareness of lugworm.

Obviously contained in the equipment list is all sort of alarms and a reversing camera to help clear these obstacles. That camera costs an extra £300, though.

Briefly, safety features include a post collision braking systems along with the usual preventative feature. Cruise control and air conditioning are standard as is battery regeneration and heated screen washers. Couple of nice touches there.

Lovely as an MPV drive the Sharan may be the main drawback is going to be cost. Those without a badge prejudice may well look at its sister SEAT Alhambra which comes almost as well equipped and save some money.

And just to prove that the original living room on wheels concept has not been ditched completely, the first item on the interior design manifest is a coat hanger.

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