VW's full sized MPV

with luxury

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

I WORRY about the way society is vanishing up its own canal of strangeness and vanity.

Just imagine for a moment, no longer or you will make yourself sick, waking up in a crowd with men in gowns sticking a line into theparts of your body you use for hand sports.

Now forego themisfortuneof an accident or illness which has led to this sorry situation and nip down to the local beautysurgery and volunteer to have it done for fun.

No, honestly, there are now things called IV parties where you get stuffed with all sorts of beneficial vitamins while pretending to have been offered a cameo part on Holby City.

This is seriously bonkers. It is like deciding that today you would enjoy nothing better than to share a cell for 24 hours with Charles Manson.

Naked.

But you see it is a fad, a fashion, a pair of over tight jeans strangulating your hernia.

A bit like large MPVs were in their early days.

It became a case of who had the biggest, which had the most ways of turning itself inside out and the highest number of cup holders.

Then designers woke up and realised this was stupid and nobody cared if they had a captain's seat except for William Shatner.

So instead of fitting office furniture in a van the industry concentrated on putting a luxury car into er, well yes, a van.

But a smoother more cultured van.

In the case of the Volkswagen Sharan as cultured as a night at the V and A with Melvyn Bragg.

Now, before you start pulling up a chair to study the fine detail of the Caravaggio'sa word of warning.

This will cost and for a lot less you can get basically the same vehicle with a SEAT badge but without the superior finish.

In SEL spec for your £37,335 equipment is extensive although there is an extra charge for automatic tailgate and doors.

Other than that all is as it should be with a touch screen,in demandmodern appliances, leather trim and that VW defining quality interior finish.

We are talking here the 182bhptwo-litre TDi DSG with stop-start technology and sprightly performance for a small bus.

Tax in year one is £200 and £140 thereafter.

It will reach 60mph in under nine seconds while claiming an average consumption of 52mpg, far from greedy for such a big vehicle. There is a 1.4 petrol but the diesel turbo is my choice.

On the road the driver, thanks to multi-adjusting seat and a huge windscreen, has a commanding view which is just as well if you are going to be confident around town in something this big.

A reversing camera and parking warnings are an asset in achieving this.

In wider spaces the Sharan delivers fatigue-free cruising with good handling manners although, obviously, no MPV is ever likely to be described as fun.

There is adaptive chassis control selectable to sport or comfort which is where I left it.

Practicality is all with large MPVs and the Sharan has plenty of room for seven fully formed adults with vast sliding doors making for easy access.

The price usually paid for this is a cramped boot but this one is plenty big enough for everyday use.

Storage trays are fitted under the front seats, there are fold down seat back tables and cubbies in the floor as well as integrated sun blinds.

Fold the two rear seats into the floor, it's a simple leaver-pull task, and theluggage space is massive.

The Sharan and Alhambra are the only two true high-capacity MPVs on the market as makers seek to blend everyday use with what is essentially a seven seat niche.

VW's version fills the slot with a level of comfort which makes it not only acceptable as quality family wheels but also as luxury corporate transport.

Now if you could excuse me, I have discovered a seriously good way to take a Bloody Mary before lunch.

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