1997 Volkswagen Sharan GL TDI 90 from UK and Ireland


Great concept, terrible quality


Repeated sun visor breakage.

Engine management failure warning.

Gearbox cable linkage.

Instrumentation lighting.

Central locking problems.

General Comments:

The concept is great, but the quality is terrible. I thought I was giving myself a treat swapping a Citroen BX estate for the Sharan. The BX felt flimsy, but was reliable. The Sharan felt solid, but was unreliable and I had no choice to sell it when the warranty ran out.

The car was very comfortable and relaxing (like most MPVs) with all that space inside, but it's replacement (Citroen Synergie) has all this and reliability too.

The sun visors are built to self-destruct and have to be replaced at £65 a throw, because if you don't the vanity light (which won't switch off) flattens the battery.

The dealer had no idea why the engine management light kept coming on (the light that means 'do not drive') and suggested I carry on - great!

The same dealer also managed to ruin the paint on the front bumper, and then try to deny having done so.

The light bulb on the digital climate control switches failed. Cost of replacement? £60. No joke!

Gearbox cable linkage failed repeatedly, in the end I just drove with a floppy (gear) knob and crunched the gears.

To me, the VW image of quality is pure image and no substance. Would be very reluctant to buy one again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th January, 2003

2nd Sep 2005, 12:24

I have owned my 1997 Sharan for just over 2 years and it is the best car I have bought. I carry 6 children, 3 in car seats which all fit well and easy to fit plus a large pushchair in the boot (not one of those little fold ups). I have just started having problems with my gearbox, but have got 231000 miles on the clock which I don't think is bad. It drives really well and I have always had it serviced at the proper intervals which helps. I am now going to put a new gearbox in it and carry on for a lot more miles. I would love a new one, but with 8 children I think we will have to wait a while.

23rd Jan 2006, 13:57

I, too, thought I was treating myself and my family when I purchased a VW Sharan 1.9Tdi. I have since suffered problem after problem after problem.

Fan belt snaps and takes the other one with it, you cannot get these fixed at the roadside. There was some discrepancy about the Sharans being recalled to install a tension arm or something.

Engine management light kept coming on and rear lights kept blowing, this was apparently due to my gear shift relay being faulty.

Windscreen motor packs in after just 60k miles (£370 for a new one)

Catalytic converter packed in (£172)

Tracking rods worn? (£270)

Shortly after Roll bars need replacing (I suspect the fault of the garage that replaced the tracking rods)

Lights blow more often than a Christmas tree.

Gear shift light blown... get this £58.40 for a new one!!!

Door lock breaks and comes out with the key. £71.92

Garage quoted £43.48 to replace number place light... I questioned this and was told that the whole tailgate had to be removed in order to access the bulbs...lie...I did it myself in about 3 minutes.

Services are very expensive with this heap of trash. Cheapest was just under £500 dearest (so far) just under £1000.

The irony behind this tale is that I chose the Sharan over the Galaxy or Alhambra as, according to Parkers Guide at the time "...go for the Sharan as this carries the badge of reliability..." what a joke.

1997 Volkswagen Sharan Carat 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good all rounder


Main problem, synchromesh on third gear has gone. Already apparent when car was bought secondhand. It is supposed to be a known fault with VW but they said they didn't know.

Now have small hole in the rear silencer (normal wear and tear for that).

In hot weather the air con (climate control) takes too long to cool the interior.

General Comments:

Brilliant vehicle for all round tasks, such as camping, moving wardrobes, picnics.

Handling is quite good for the size of it.

Nice view as it is higher than most cars.

Fuel consumption is quite low for short town trips, but on runs gets up to 30/33mpg.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd June, 2001