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 Camping Review Summary
- it is very spacious – long 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 + tailgate (why is this important)
- 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
- 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 (loading area – 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 a car camping setting – space, storage, features useful for camping, extendability (how easy it is to add car camping gear).
- 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 (UK): 36(1)
- avg l/100km consumption: 7.1(1) (depends on how you drive – I’m getting 6.5 combined)
- EURO NCAP safety rating (2019) – 4/5
- ADAC rating (lower = better) – 2.1/5
External rating (not focused on car camping):
Average external rating: 3.7/5
ADAC rating 2.1/5 (lower = better)
So to answer your question:
Can you sleep in a VW Sharan?
I say: You bet your socks you can! Being at the top of our microcamper candidates list should be good enough reason – it’s not just big and comfy, but it is also good to drive.
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 to be found around 10,000 GBP. 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, boot size & 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
- Ground clearance (cm): 152
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, two 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.
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.
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).
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:
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 at – WV 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 standard vans (no windows / seats at the back). 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
VW Sharan car camping & microcamper conversions photo gallery
I bought a Sharan myself. The primary reasons are – it strikes a good balance between size (almost as big as the VW Caddy) and comfort – it’s very comfy for long rides around Europe :).