FOLLOWING yet another drop in new car sales, Alan Nolan, Director of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), described the market right now as “extremely fragile”.
The end of the Government scrappage scheme is naturally having a major effect on new car sales, but there was nothing fragile about the VW Sharan I drove last week; it was solid as a rock.
This upgraded version of the Sharan has been around for a while. I was due to drive it in the spring, but it still looked and felt good in autumn. It’s much bigger than the old model and some people I met last week thought it resembled a mini bus. And with seven seats and two sliding back doors I suppose a mini bus would not be too far out.
This new 2.0 litre diesel has the latest blue motion stop-start technology which improves fuel economy. This new model is bigger, better and lighter than the old version. It’s also a very long motor and probably could have done with reversing sensors. Maybe there are sensors available in some models, but they were not on the version I drove. Two roof rails add to the elongated effect. But I suppose the most attractive part of this multi purpose vehicle is the two sliding doors which allows for easy access. It would, I think be ideal if you were in or thinking of going into the taxi business.
Externally the car looks great and when you sit in it’s also very impressive. The controls on the dash are very well laid out and easy to use. There is also a compartment right in the top the dash to hold pens or CDs and overall there are plenty of cubby holes to store personal items. As a radio fan I really like the decent sized button to scroll up and down the wavelengths. No slave controls on the steering wheel, but the cruise control stalk and the other levers are neatly tucked away alongside the wheel. The view from the driver’s seat is excellent, but my grown up children thought the second row of three individual seats were a bit high and probably best suited to younger children. We didn’t really use the third row which has two seats and I found that it was best to fold them down if I needed to carry any bulky items. If all seven seats are in use there is very little boot space. You can also fold down the middle row of seats if you need extra cargo space.
Overall a very comfortable and spacious car to travel in. The only criticism I had was the new style handbrake which is really just a small lever near the gear stick. I think most Irish drivers would probably prefer to have a regular style hand brake which would I think offer peace of mind. Only available in 2.0 litre where prices start at €41,990. C02 emissions are fairly high with road tax of €302. I know it sounds expensive and there are cheaper people carriers around. But if you want the reliability that a Volkswagen offers, then this massive seven-seater could be the one for you.