Volkswagen Sharan Sport 1.9 TDI PD Tiptronic 7-seater — MotorBar Road Test

4 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Volkswagen Sharan Sport 1.9 TDI PD Tiptronic 7-seater — MotorBar Road Test

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147;VW#146;s Sharan 7-seater

MPV #151; just as good

without the rugrats#148;

THE WORLD IS DIVIDED up into two types of MPV. Either you have genuine seven-seater capacity or you don ‘ t. It ‘ s as simple as that.

Generally speaking, if you need to carry seven you need a big MPV. And seven-seat MPVs don ‘ t come much more focussed that Volkswagen ‘ s Sharan.

The Sharan offers a choice of engines from 1.8 up to a potent 2.8 V6, but most MPV buyers will be looking for comfort, value-for-money and economy, which is why we’ve tested the seven-seater Sport TDI PD Tiptronic, which fluently combines all three qualities in a smart-looking shell.

The TDI PD uses VW’s Pumpe Dьse technology to produce 115bhp and 229lb ft of torque at just 1,900rpm from a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel unit.

This very spacious MPV with space to spare will also return a combined fuel consumption of 36.2mpg, eking it out on motorways to a satisfying 43.5mpg. Performing briskly, the benchmark 0-62mph is reached in 13.7 seconds and the top speed is a usable 112mph. Don’t place too much store on that 0-60 figure.

In the real world it is flexibility #151; torque #151; that matters most. And the TDI Sport Sharan has got the lot. Well, 229lb ft, actually.

By comparison, the 2.0-litre petrol engine puts out the same 115bhp but only manages 125lb ft at 2,600rpm.

The Sharan is a classy act, with polished styling and one of the best chassis to be found on MPVs, providing a well-controlled ride and predictable handling #151; just what you need, especially when carrying kids around with you. And, like all Volkswagens, it comes loaded with top quality kit.

MPVs haven’t always enjoyed a glamorous image, but Volkswagen, like Audi, seems to have the knack of knowing just how to enhance a product. The Sharan, ever since it’s introduction in ’95, has been seen by many as the yardstick for all that’s right and proper in an MPV.

Seen up close the paintwork and panel fit are as admirable as you would expect from Volkswagen, with the tight consistent shut lines that confirm quality assembly. The wide, colour-coded grille is flanked by large clear glass headlamp units that blend tidily into the leading edge of the front wings. The Sport’s standard fit 7J x 16-inch ‘Magny-Cours’ design alloy wheels wear meaty 215/55 tyres and the wide

5-spoke design adds a purposeful air to the Sharan’s modern shape.

As without, so within. The Sharan’s interior, with its efficient 7-seater packaging, is equally uncluttered. There’s ample room for the driver and six adult passengers to relax in individual sports seats.

Large, deep glass areas form much of the ‘body’ above the Sharan’s waistline and, along with slim window pillars, create a light and airy ambience in the well-appointed interior. Combined with the high positioning of the seats, it ensures that passengers enjoy excellent views of the scenery flowing past.

Need to move something bulky? No problem: removing the Sharan’s

rear seats opens up a massive 2,610 litres of storage space. This makes it easy to overlook the fact that the Sharan’s overall size is actually comparable to that of a medium sized saloon car (it’s slightly shorter than a Passat, and only a smidgen wider), which making it manoeuvrable and easy to place.

Drivers will take pleasure in the usual way that Volkswagen pay attention to detail with fit and finish. Comprehensive seat and steering wheel adjustment will provide most people with a perfect driving position, enhanced by the commanding view out and commendably good ergonomics. Both front seats have generous height adjustment and lumbar support.

Whereas the secret of property is location, location, location, with a car it has to be build quality, quality, quality. VW shows us how it’s done.

Standard equipment includes electric windows (the rearmost two are manual vent windows), a high quality 10-speaker audio system including a dash-mounted 6-CD autochanger, four rear reading lights, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, air-conditioning, ‘coming home’ light function, a cooled, illuminated and lockable glovebox, heat insulating tinted glass from the B-pillar back and a rear passenger heater with independent controls.

The doors open and close with a precision of movement that is so smooth most people simply don’t notice it. The fascia is as logical as

Mr Spock, and will be appreciated by all who sit behind it, along with the beautifully clear instruments. Even the wipers exude a sense of satisfaction as they contra-rotate and clear the windscreen to within millimetres of the edges. Useful touches include two large oddments trays set into the top of the fascia, lined to prevent rattles. They also have nicely damped lids and are particularly handy.

The multifunction computer is simple to use and provides meaningful information #151; and only about things that you really need to know. In a vehicle that can be used for transporting so many different loads the electric headlight height adjustment is more than ever welcome.

Some MPVs can be rather daunting to drive because their nose is so far away from the driver that piloting one is almost like preparing

to take off in Concorde. Not so the Sharan and therefore the ‘captain’s bridge’ driving position can be easily exploited to help negotiate tight spots and when filtering through busy traffic #151; without the need to hold one’s breath! That said, the front and rear parking sensors fitted to our test car (a Ј295 option) were particularly useful, especially

at night.

At the back a full-width (43-inch) counterbalanced tailgate lifts effortlessly high to reveal a luggage area of 256 litres. However, take out the easily demountable third row of seats and capacity increases to 852 litres. Remove both the second and third row seats and you are left with a pretty big space to fill: 2,610 litres or 92cu ft.

Sleek black roof rails facilitate additional luggage/carrying options for bike, ski and snowboard racks or even a streamlined roof box.

Safety is high on the list of MPV buyers, and they won’t feel short-changed with a Sharan. Of course, there’s ABS and electronic brake pressure distribution, Isofix preparation on 2nd and 3rd row seats, three-point seatbelts on all seats, driver’s and front passenger’s airbags, front seat side impact airbags as well as a curtain airbag system.

On the move the 115bhp TDI performs well. With a first-class 5-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission to take care of the gear changes,

the PD engine delivers sufficient low-down flexibility to make mince-meat of busy urban traffic. Better yet, little noise escapes into the cabin to reveal the colour of its tipple. The figure-hugging sport style seats do a worthy job, providing support and the kind of comfort that doesn’t disappear as you travel.

If you haven’t ridden in an MPV you might expect something of a roly-poly ride, especially in windy conditions. Riding in a Sharan #151; particularly the Sport with its stiffer suspension #151; is an eye-opener. The ride is firm enough to keep from unsettling passengers, handling is taut, there’s minimal roll and the front-wheel drive layout is free from intrusive understeer.

In a word, the Sharan drives fluently, the accurate power-steering contributing to the impression that you’re driving a well-engineered hatchback.

The quality ride is the perfect accompaniment to the Sharan’s comfort, making long journeys plain sailing. Our usual test route takes us 200 miles from Kent to Buckinghamshire and back. Normally we’d do it in two legs but in the Sharan a quick coffee was all that was needed before turning round and tackling the second hundred-mile stint.

And at the end of the journey the seats were as welcoming as when we first climbed aboard. With just 1.9 litres of engine under the bonnet, the TDI is no barnstormer and by today’s standards the Sharan’s 112mph top speed is relatively modest. However, let that impressive torque work for you and progress is you’ll be surprised as how quickly you reach your destination.

It goes without saying that everyone on board enjoys the same tireless comfort, enhanced by the seats being on slide rails so that all passengers can maximise their own space. For a family outing or holiday, it saves on the gripes.

If you really want to burn rubber then Volkswagen has just the Sharan for you #151; a 204bhp 2.8-litre V6 that does 133mph. Interestingly, despite its undeniably pokey engine, the entertaining V6 can’t quite match the TDI PD’s 229lb ft of torque, producing a ‘mere’ 196lb ft.

So, the question is, Do you really want to sacrifice almost 45mpg for a higher top speed? Whatever your answer, you’ll find a suitable Sharan to match your needs.

VW Sharan Sport 1.9 TDI PD Tiptronic | £23 , 127

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