The interior layout, fit and finish
Up front, the Sharan provides a comfortable place for its driver by having a good amount of adjustment options for its seat and steering wheel, if not quite the range of extension to the steering wheel that you get with a Ford Galaxy. The pedals, steering wheel and driver’s seat line up nicely, so you’re not sitting at an awkward angle, and the Sharan puts everything you need just where you need it. The Citroen Berlingo’s interior layout isn’t quite so well honed.
The Sharan also feels plusher and better screwed together than the Berlingo inside, which itself is better than the rather cheap-feeling Ford Tourneo Connect. The Ford Galaxy feels almost as robust, but the materials it employs aren’t of the same consistently high calibre as Volkswagen’s.
The driver gets a decent view forwards thanks to the Sharan’s huge windscreen and thin front pillars (the Ford Galaxy has really bad blind spots behind its twin front pillars), while a glance over the shoulder reveals more tall, wide glass and thin pillars at the sides and back. These offer a great view of your surroundings when reversing, but front and rear parking sensors are standard from mid-level SE trim, while a reversing camera is an option on all versions.
An 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard. This is an older infotainment system than you’ll find in many of Volkswagen’s more recent cars, but in some ways that’s no bad thing. For example, instead of the today’s tendency to use touch-sensitive buttons, which are harder to use while driving, this system still offers physical shortcut buttons either side of the screen that you can learn to use by feel. Similarly, the Sharan still has simple, physical controls for its air-conditioning, whereas the Berlingo loads these onto its touchscreen as well. The Sharan’s infotainment software is also more responsive than the Berlingo’s.
There are issues, though. The infotainment screen is quite low-definition by today’s standards, and it’s a shame that you have to pay extra for voice activation and Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto smartphone mirroring. You cannot get wireless phone charging, either, but you do get in-built sat-nav, USB ports, Bluetooth and a DAB radio with eight speakers included.
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