As an MPV, the Sharan is truly excellent. As a tow car, with this engine at least, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. The trouble lies with the 138bhp diesel engine. In the lighter VW Passat saloon, it can feel a little underpowered. With the Sharan’s extra weight to drag around, it struggles. The 30-60mph time of 19 seconds is tardy. Braking power is also disappointing – 11.5 metres to stop the outfit, even on a dry track.

We’ve no complaints about the Sharan’s stability, though. Steering corrections were only needed in a strong crosswind. In the lane-change test the big VW showed the caravan who was boss, even at high speeds.

The Sharan’s auto-hold feature held the outfit still on a 1-in-6 slope with no need to use the push-button parking brake. Climbing to the top needed some clutch slip and plenty of revs, but nothing untoward.

With or without a caravan, the Sharan’s cabin is a comfortable, quiet place to be, with plenty of space in all three rows and seemingly endless ways to slide and fold seats.

Tuck seats six and seven into the floor and there’s enough space for a family’s holiday luggage. Our practicality judge was also impressed by the car’s Trailer Stability System and the self-sealing tyres, which are designed to remain usable after a puncture.

2019
Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners
2018
1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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