Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Comfortable and versatile family car
- Smooth and silent engines
- Ground-breaking design
- Limited luggage space
- Smaller petrol engines lack character
Sharan means 'Carrier of Kings' in Arabian and although this multi-cultural project wasn't intended to attract royalty, it has some features reminding of the magic carpet from the Arabian Nights. It is a generous and comfortable car.
The car was developed in collaboration between Volkswagen and Ford, hence the Ford Galaxy looks so similar. Later the Sharan was translated into Spanish and rebadged as Seat Alhambra. There's very little difference among the three cars. The Alhambra has a slightly lower level of equipment and the Sharan and Galaxy has different interior design and some exterior design features.
Exterior and Interior
The car was designed by an American designer, so you'll probably find similarities between the Sharan and the Pontiac Trans Sport. There is something American about this car and it took a while before it was accepted in Europe. The Pontiac, which appeared in 1989 had acted as a trail blazer; and the Sharan's peculiar shape didn't come as a shock. Eventually the car proved to be a good seller.
In 2000 the Sharan underwent a facelift that significantly changed the appearance of its front end (whether it was improved, depends on your view-point); the trims and equipment list was also revised.
Due to the different body proportions, the Sharan leaves an impression of a narrow car. It isn't as narrow as it looks actually as it's a good 2 ‐ 3 inches wider than a medium sized passenger sedan. However, it is slightly narrower than large-size sedans or 4x4s. To make comparison even easier, we'll say that the Sharan is as wide as the Renault Espace and Peugeot 806. The Sharan was quite substantially longer than its French competitors. Although it means plenty of legroom for all 7 passengers, it hasn't given the car an edge in terms of boot space, which is important for large family cars.
The interior is, however, practical. The seats can be folded and unfolded or pushed around the cabin. If the limited boot space is not satisfactory, you have an option to remove both rear rows of seats ending up with a huge cargo bay.
Performance and Economy
Both the 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines are decent, but they're not exciting by any measure. With the Sharan there are two preferred engines, depending on how you go about cars. If you're looking for decent performance and super economy, the 1.9-litre 110BHP diesel is a great choice. It will deliver 44mpg which is amazing for a car this big. If, however, you're fancying a real sporty MPV, the V6 petrol version with all-wheel drive Syncro is a great car and it's much quicker than a lower-spec Sharan. Ground clearance permitting, the Syncro Sharan can tackle mild off-road situations. On a negative side, the Syncro is not an economical car, it only manages 22mpg.
Buying a used VW Sharan is not cheap. The car is reluctant to depreciate and if kept in a good state, it will hold value better than other similar vehicles. This is not good news for people who are looking to buy a Sharan because they will have to spend significantly more than if they went for a Renault or Peugeot.
Like to Drive
It is quite a smooth car to drive although the suspension could have been more subtle. It is nicer to drive the Sharan on a highway than in the city. For a large-size family car it is quite pleasant to drive. The smaller engines won't provide the acceleration or dynamics that you've used to in your previous car while the 2.8-litre version will provide some fun bundled with practicality.
Faults and Repairs
The Sharan offers good reliability. It's a tough and frugal car and normally needs only basic maintenance. The plague of the Sharan is its electric system. Sooner or later something will stop working preventing you from getting in or out of the car. The central locking and electric window drives often produce faults.