Sharan Camper: car camping in VW Sharan – microcamper conversion review

Car camping - car reviews
Volkswagen Sharan

This is the definitive Volkswagen Sharan – 5 / 7 seater car camping review for 2021. Continue reading if you want to know:

  • VW Sharan’s size & measurements for car camping
  • It’s comfort & driving rating
  • What are the common criticisms of VW Sharan
  • How VW Sharan compares to other car camping / microcamper cars – our rating & overall cars table

VW Sharan Review summary

Volkswagen Sharan car camping / microcamper review

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

Boot size (length 208cm & height 113cm)
Storage – very good
Comfort (interior)
Comfort (driving)
Off-road driving
Consumption
EURO NCAP safety rating (2019)
ADAC rating 2.1/5 (lower = better)

Summary

The VW Sharan strikes a good balance between size and comfort. Actually, it’s one of the biggest MPV’s out there. If boot size is your primary criteria – you can’t go wrong with a Sharan. The car drives nicely too and offers good comfort in the front for the driver and passenger. It’s not the best car to take off the road completely – but you can take it down a good enough mud road without any big problems. A very good car camping / microcamping conversion candidate, unless you are planning to drive through forests and very much offroad.
VW Sharan is one of the top cars in our 30+ cars for car camping table.

3.8
PROs
  • it is very spaciouslong and tall, easy to sit in even when converted to a camping car at the back – it’s one of the biggest small cars you can find out there if you want size, but not a van
  • easy to maintain, no expensive or hard to get parts
  • Volkswagen quality standard & reliability
  • good level of comfort for long journeys, well equipped
  • good price on models up to 10 years old (they still drive very well at an affordable price + will last for years to come)
  • sliding middle doors
  • front passenger back rest can be folded down horizontally to form a table
  • 7 seater is easy – just fold all the seats and your flat surface for a car bed is ready
CONs
  • the 5 seat version needs additional work to prepare the flat surface for a car bed – see how I did that easily under 106€
  • boot door floor isn’t flat (harder to put a camping box / boot jump in and out)
  • not a 4×4 – ok for some off-road, but not too much
  • you might hear some people complaining that they don’t see the front of the car when driving – leaving them feeling a bit uneasy about where exactly does the car end, especially navigating tight spaces. But 2010+ models have parking sensors that should alleviate that

Is VW Sharan a good car for car camping?

This section focuses on assessing how does this car perform in car camping setting – space, storage, features useful for camping, extendability (how easy it is to add car camping gear).

Key information

  • Car type: MPV/Minivan
  • Make: Volkswagen
  • Folded seats boot length (cm): 208
  • Boot height (cm): 113
  • Boot width (cm): 158 (2nd row doors) / 125 (trunk)
  • avg MPG (US): 33.2(1)
  • avg l/100km consumption: 7.1(1) (depends on how you drive – I’m getting 6.5 combined)
Our VW Sharan car camping rating 3.8/5.0

Standard rating (not focused on car camping):

Whatcar.com rating: 4/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 3/5 • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 4.1/5

Average rating: 3.7/5

ADAC rating2.1/5 (lower = better)

The VW Sharan is a very good car for car camping – it’s one of the most spacious MPVs out there and offers a good level of comfort, mileage and maintenance costs. It’s also well priced – especially 5-10 years old models that were well kept. It’s not an offroad car so don’t expect a thrilling offroad ride, yet still, you can take it down a not too steep/rough dirt track or through a meadow.

Dimensions & Storage

  • Folded seats boot length (cm): 208
  • Boot height (cm): 113
  • Boot width (cm): 109
  • Overall height (cm): 172
  • Overall length (cm): 485,4
  • Overall width (cm): 190,4

If you are after a taller boot (113cm), go for the 5-seater option – you will get much more storage space or headroom in the boot. As the 7-seater option storage is taken away by the 3rd row seats, resulting in effective boot height of 93cm.

Great storage in the front – aside from the standard passengers side glove compartment, there’s one in the middle/top of the dashboard, four cup holders, storage just below the armrest and two sunglass compartments above the head (fit smaller items like shades, keys, phone or a tablet), one smaller drawer below each seat.

image 4

There are two side storage units in the boot (1) – for a wallet, mobile phone, tablet – smaller things, plus two side-storage units on the left side (2) – not as easy to open though.

image 1
VW Sharan boot storage – same for 5 and 7-seater versions

The 5-seater version also has a storage unit just behind the rear seats – but you won’t easily get to it if you have a car bed / camping box setup, as it will sit directly on top of it.

There’s also (hidden) storage under the feet of the 2nd row of seats:

There’s also a handy bin-like compartment (with a small bottle/bin) for rubbish in one of the middle doors and there’s also two hiddenn compartments underneath the passengers feet at the 2nd row of seats (back).

image 3

Electric sockets – 12V outlets

There are at least 3 to 5 12V outlets in newer models plus there’s a 230V outlet too!! (EU style – might not be available in all models):

  • one in the boot close to the trunk door (right hand side)
  • two between the front seats (one hidden away in the storage compartment, another next to the hand brake and another next to the gear stick on the front panel
  • one 12V on the back of the middle panel where you’ll also find the 230V outlet too

See more in these VW Sharan detailed specifications on car.info.

Recommended video review (interior & exterior):

This is a 2019 7-seater model, but the features are very similar to my 2013 model, making this review a good starting point if you want to know more about the VW Sharan.

Is VW Sharan a good car for driving?

This can get very subjective – you can see more detailed reviews on these websites:

Whatcar.com rating: 4/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 3/5 • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 4.1/5

The Sharan is somewhere in the middle – it’s not a luxurious limousine, but it offers more than a standard car. Especially in the driver’s seat, there’s plenty of seat adjustments, armrest, cup holders, storage space. The nose (front of the car) is hidden from view – some users might feel a bit weird about that. But it only takes a short while to get used to + parking sensors do the trick nicely.

The car is still quite lively considering its size – but don’t buy it if you want to be a boy / girl racer. The consumption for a car this size is pretty good (I’m getting 6.5l/100km combined – car camping, city, motorway), Fuelly reports a range between 6.3 and 9.4 across 48 vehicles and car-emmissions.com reports an average of 6.4l/100km.

Maintenance costs are about average – it’s not such a fancy car, so no fancy maintenance costs – nothing you wouldn’t expect from a medium range family car.

Compared to other cars we’ve looked atWV Sharan is in the lead (together with Seat Alhambra, they are almost identical). Most other cars are a bit smaller (Except the Caddy Maxi Life and Grand Voyager). Then the only bigger ones are vans (which don’t fit our car camping criteria). Therefore in terms of size – this is as good as it gets for car camping in a standard car. It’s also doing well in terms of comfort and consumption. Overall, it’s a good all-rounder and I certainly recommend it.

Recommended car tent / awning & camping gear

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VW Sharan car camping & microcamper conversions photo gallery

Need more? There are hundreds of images here, and over 1500 here – indulge yourself!

Other posts about Volkswagen Sharan & Related
Sleeping in a VW Sharan (2013 – 5 seater) – car camping bed and storage under €110 / $130
Sleeping in a VW Sharan (2013 – 5 seater) – car camping bed and storage under €110 / $130
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