I am coming to like my Sharan more as time goes on. It's given no problems once the initial minor issues were resolved (properly under warranty) and I have got used to its bulk in car parks and tight junctions. Fuel economy tends to be 41-44 mpg in rush hour traffic but averaged 48 mpg cruising on A-roads fully laden on holiday. It wore out its front tyres after 18,000 miles - it's heavy and quite powerful and the tyres have to be quite soft to comply with noise regulations - and the replacements weren't cheap at £170 each, but that's the only bad news. The car is not sporty but handles safely and its performance is more than enough - I rarely need to rev it past 3,000 as the torque is so plentiful. It is a very comfy, solid and relaxing big family car, great for transporting people or just driving to work. For my needs I cannot think of a better car - except maybe the same thing with electric doors.
We have now covered >10,000 miles in our Sharan, and it continues to impress. It holds the road well and the ride is excellent and quiet; the only fault (which is probably unavoidable in a car of this size and type) is a slight tendency to wallow when cornering on country lanes. The engine is incredibly refined for a diesel, and the extra-oomph from the 170 bhp version is well worth the premium and offers effortless cruising and smart acceleration (useful when trying to find an overtaking gap on an autobahn). Fuel economy is excellent for a car of this size, both on short and long runs. Having taken advantage of the three year servicing deal and also obtained a hefty dealer discount, the longer-term economics look good (especially since the residuals should be better than the Alhambra and, in my experience, servicing costs for VWs are more competitive than for SEATs). What Car's preference for the Alhambra on grounds of cost seems to ignore both residuals and servicing costs ... For interior quality, space and practicality the Sharan cannot be faulted. The rear seats are a doddle to fold. Even with all seven seats up there is a surprising amount of boot space. Much to my own surprise, we have even managed to fit 6 people, fully-grown labrador in a dog crate and luggage for a 4-day trip into the car without difficulty.
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