5. VW Sharan

VW Sharan
29 Dec, 2012 11:00am

MPVs aren’t usually seen as classy and luxurious, but the Volkswagen Sharan scores on both. It’s more expensive than its SEAT Alhambra sister car, and feels it. The dashboard looks more stylish and the ride is smoother and more comfortable for all occupants of the huge interior.

As in the Alhambra, those sitting in the rearmost seats don’t have a lot of space, but the middle row seats provide plenty of head and legroom. There’s just 375 litres of luggage space with all seven seats occupied, but the boot size grows by quite a bit when you fold the rearmost chairs into the floor and can be expanded to a massive 2,297 litres with the middle row down.

And whatever you’re carrying, the car’s large dimensions make parking sensors a must – that’s why it’s worth going for at least SE trim, which also brings Bluetooth, a multifunction steering wheel and three-zone air-con. All cars get plenty of airbags and the SEAT was highly rated in crash tests.

Engine choices comprise 1.4-litre turbo petrols and 2.0-litre turbodiesels, and the latter combine adequate pulling power with low fuel consumption: the 138bhp 2.0 TDI promises 50.4mpg.