This post will help you find out which car is better for camping – a Multivan vs Sharan? We are going to focus on their pros and cons related to camping (i.e. size, storage, convertibility into a bed), hence we’ll pay less attention to engine, speed or driving experience comparisons. Aren’t they a different class of cars? You can certainly say that. But when it comes to camping, they are often considered potential candidates – and this post will give you enough information to decide which one will work better for you.
For this comparison, we took a 2009 T5 Multivan Highline 2.5Tdi (SWB – standard length) and a Sharan MKII 2013 5-seater 1.9Tdi (yep, the one I converted here).
Sharan vs Multivan size comparison – exterior
Comparison image source: carsized.com
As you can see, they are not too different in length – the Sharan is only 45cm (17.7 inches) shorter. The Multivan has one more trick up its sleeve – the front seats and the engine are aligned closer together (you sit diagonally above the engine), creating more room in the boot. The Sharan also does this, beating other MPVs in its class, but not enough to beat Multivan. Heightwise it’s a more significant difference – the Multivan is 27cm (about 10.6 inches) taller. The important question is whether or how can you use that additional room. We’ll get to that later. There is no difference in their exterior width.
🏆Best cars for camping 🏆
- Fiat Doblò camper XL, High Roof 🇪🇺 4.0/5
- Honda Odyssey 🇺🇸 4.0/5
- Volkswagen Sharan 🇪🇺 3.9/5
- Caddy Maxi Camper (Life) 🇪🇺 3.8/5
Sharan vs Multivan size comparison – boot/interior
Sharan interior/boot dimensions
Multivan interior/boot dimensions
Sharan vs Multivan storage comparison
You’ll find more overall space in the Multivan thanks to its bigger size (between seats, at the back behind the last row of seats). But without a camping box kit or some DIY work it’s just space without shelves, so can get messy. Or you’ll have to dig through piles of stuff to find that one thing that’s at the bottom. In the front, Sharan offers more.
Sharan storage options
The Sharan offers great storage options 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. Total 7 compartments.
Multivan storage options
The Multivan offers similar but fewer storage options in the front – aside from the standard passengers’ side glove compartment, there’s one in the middle/top of the dashboard, two cup holders, and two smaller compartments for a phone or a bottle. No overhead storage. Total 5 compartments. The multifunctional table in the middle is often taken out for camping as it gets in the way. It’s more suited for a long journey where you don’t sleep and store all your tools in the boot. But with a suitable camping box that only fits in the boot, you can keep it in.
Electric sockets – 12V outlets
(all this depends on the model and year the car was made)
Sharan 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
Multivan 12V outlets
There are 3 12V outlets in the Multivan:
- one in the front dashboard
- 2nd on the side in the middle
- 3rd at the bottom of the boot
- there is no 230V outlet as far as I know
Aggregate reviews score
Sharan aggregate review score
73% average score of below 7 reviews
80% – 4/5 – parkers.co.uk
Better looking than predecessor, frugal and eco-friendly engines, seven seats as standard. Servicing costs higher than rivals
82% – 4.1/5 – carbuyer.co.uk
60% – 3/5 – autoexpress.co.uk
The seven-seat VW Sharan is a great all-round family car, with a flexible interior and grown-up driving experience
80% – 4/5 – whatcar.com
The Volkswagen Sharan is a spacious seven-seat MPV that’s well equipped and good to drive. It might quite be as strong an all-rounder as the smaller and cheaper Touran, and neither is it as good to drive as the equally enormous Galaxy, but it’s still certainly worthy of consideration if you need a seriously big people carrier.
70% – 3.5/5 – autocar.co.uk
The Volkswagen Sharan is a refined, flexible and spacious seven-seat MPV, albeit one that is more expensive than its Seat Alhambra sister car
70% – 7/10 – topgear.com
It’s big, expensive and not especially clever, but it is really, really good at ferrying lots of people about. Really, really quietly.
70% – 7/10 – carwow.co.uk
The VW Sharan is one of the best all-round seven-seater MPVs on the market but it isn’t as funky as a Citroen Grand C4 Picasso or as sharp to drive as a Ford Galaxy
Multivan* aggregate review score
70% average score of below 7 reviews
70% – 3.5/5 – parkers.co.uk
+ Comfortable and spacious interior, well equipped, high quality, strong TDI engines, sliding rear side doors
– Firm ride, expensive for a van-based people carrier, dated dashboard design
76% – 3.8/5 – carbuyer.co.uk
Diesels offer impressive economy • Good-quality interior • Spacious cabin
Boxy shape • Ride is uncomfortable • Cheaper alternatives available
80% – 4/5 – autoexpress.co.uk
The Volkswagen Caravelle [Multivan] sits right at the pinnacle of this van-based MPV niche, justifying its premium price tag with a spacious and versatile interior that rivals many executive saloons in terms of opulence and tech. It’s an ideal solution for luxury taxi fleets or business class airport transfers, but big families might also consider the Caravelle [Multivan] as a roomier alternative to that 7-seat luxury SUV they were considering.
40% – 2/5 – whatcar.com (2020 model)
Spacious for seven, and the long-wheelbase version adds versatility when you need to carry lots of luggage. It’s pricey, though, rivals are more comfortable and the interior finish suffers in comparison to smaller MPVs.
80% – 4/5 – autocar.co.uk
Versatility • Comfort and convenience • Flexibility of spec • Car-like handling
Limited performance • Limited desirability • Ride refinement
70% – 7/10 – topgear.com
Good: Great at transporting many people long distances in comfort.
Bad: Bit pricey, seats can be awkward to move around. Still looks like a van
80% – 4/5 – honestjohn.co.uk
Similar cabin to Volkswagen car models, very quiet and refined on the move, luxury feel, plenty of rear space, strong performance from 2.0 TDI engine, upmarket looks.
There are considerably cheaper seven seat people carriers available, running costs are high, rear seats are heavy and awkward to lift out. Catastrophic engine problems with 2.0BiTDI after 60k miles.
*used Caravelle or the closest model where no Multivan review was found. They are mostly the same, Caravelle is longer and has different seating options, but the engine and overall drive comfort-wise are the same. Which is what most of the above reviews are about.
Value in green = better, gets a point. Total points at the bottom = overall winner.
Multivan vs Sharan price comparison
Review summary table
Boot length with seats down (cm)
(225 with the front backrests in a normal position)
Boot width (cm)
158 (2nd-row doors) / 125 (trunk) / 110 (narrowest)
162 (wall to wall) / 150 (columns)
Boot height (cm)
93 (7-seater) / 109 (5-seater)
Effective height (with a bed in)
(middle seats folded + mattress)
(back seats folded + mattress)
Sliding door size (cm)
108×87 (148 from the ground)
140×100 (180 from the ground)
Storage – front
(no centre console between front seats + no overhead compartments)
Storage – back
Driving performance & comfort, handling
MPG (UK): 34
MPG (UK): 27
3 to 5 + 230V
Aggregate reviews score
Ground clearance (cm)
ADAC rating (lower = better)
Our overall camping rating
Read full review
Read full review
(passenger carriers category)
2009 used price
(source – with newer models still cheaper than 2009 Multivan)
Camping boxes (boot jumps) availability
Breakdown score (lower = better)
(winning values in green)
It would appear that Sharan is the winner if we go by the numbers only. But real life isn’t numbers only. Although Sharan scores better in more categories – not all categories are equal – it all depends on your preferences and top criteria:
- Is it size, versatility & looking cool? Then the Multivan is for you (if you can afford it at twice the price of a Sharan) – it’s a cult car that offers a lot of space in a relatively small package, with the added bonus of being able to move and turn the seats and table around as you please + fold them down into a bed. But they can also get in a way + you’ll have to get some kind of camping box or a bed to sleep comfortably and make the most of the sheer space. The Multivan is a bit of a cult car and keeps its value even with very high mileage (300K+) and 10+ years of age, so be prepared to pay the price.
- Is it economy, comfort, and good size at a low price? Then the Sharan is a great choice (or any similar alternatives, like the Caddy [see Sharan vs Caddy here] or Berlingo). Here you’ll get the most bang for the lowest price. The Sharan is a perfect coming together of space, comfort, good consumption and low price. If you’re into stealth camping – the Sharan is much less conspicuous, being a standard family car, not a van mostly known for camping.
Founder of NimbleCamper.com, avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast. Car camping and microcamping allows me to keep traveling and exploring with a much greater level of freedom & privacy – to go anywhere and sleep anywhere. I didn’t have 30K to buy a VW Multivan, so found my way to the world of everyday car camping conversions. Here I share my experiences and what I learn.