Volkswagen Sharan

2.0 TDI SE

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

WHEN it was first unveiled in 1995 Vokswagen's Sharan came in for a bit of mickey taking because of the similarity to the popular Essex girl's name Sharon.

But the outstanding sales success of this popular and well thought out people mover has meant VW has had the last laugh.

The second generation hit the streets in 2010 and then underwent a number of changes in 2015. This year has seen a little bit of tweaking to ensure that the model remains fresh and appealing.

But while the Sharan now has a sharper front than earlier generations the body hasn't changed too much cosmetically. After all if you have a product that sells well you have to be careful not to be too radical.

The appeal of the Sharan is interior space and it has that in shed loads.

All models now come with seven seats which means superb flexibility when it comes to passengers and luggage.

The three individual seats in the second row all move backwards and forwards independently - as well as recline - so you can create more leg room or even more luggage space behind them.

And with the EasyFold seating arrangement it's simplicity itself to drop the two rear seats into the floor and then fold the centre row flat to create a huge flat luggage area.

Another bonus is that the front passenger seatback folds completely flat onto the squab, so long articles can be loaded right up to the dashboard giving you the carrying capacity of a medium sized van.

Many vehicles which have seven seats have limited legroom for passengers sitting in the third row so often they can only be used for children. In the Sharan, however, the legroom is adequate for adults although they need to be a little agile to get in.

Having said that huge rear sliding doors make entry and exit much easier and in the case of my test car they were electrically operated, a nice little touch for a reasonable additional £625.

Most people don't buy a people-mover for its handling quality but if you opt to buy a Sharan with Dynamic Chassis Control you will be pleasantly surprised.

It will cost you an extra £835 but it means you have a choice of three suspension settings - Normal, Comfort and Sport - so you can vary the ride to suit your mood or passenger load.Drive it Sport and the firmer setting makes for very enjoyable motoring when you want to press on with urgency. There's a little body roll - as you might expect - but not a lot and the Sharan gives a good account of itself.

And with 150bhp under the bonnet and a sporty and beautifully smooth six-speed manual gearbox it's an enjoyable car to drive and certainly no slouch, hitting 62 miles per hour in a very respectable 10.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 124mph.

The high stance means good all-round vision as well as making it easier for less agile passengers to take their seats.

And like any VW the build quality is up there with the best, the front doors closing with just the gentlest of pushes.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Sharan 2.0 TDI SE

Price: £30,505

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

Max Speed: 124mph

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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