The Volkswagen Sharan shares its body, interior and running gear with the Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra. Neither were tested here, but it is anticipated that their performance would be near-identical. The Sharan's cabin was badly damaged and became structurally unstable in the frontal impact and the driver's survival space – the area around his body – was severely reduced, leaving him liable to suffer chest, right leg and feet injuries. This MPV fared better in the side impact, though. As in most rivals, the driver sits higher than he would in a conventional car and this helps to protect him. Even so, he was at some risk of chest injury. The integrated child restraints were well designed and were easier to use than others tested. More work was needed to safeguard pedestrians generally – hence its two-star rating – but the bonnet's leading edge provided better protection than most of the others tested here.
The loss of cabin stability and the amount of steering column movement increased the driver's chances of sustaining head and chest injuries. The airbag hit the driver's face before it had inflated fully and then allowed his head to 'bottom out' on it late in the impact. Both contributed to injury risks. The facia was pushed back and hit his knees and lower legs, and the footwell ruptured. Furthermore, the design of the area where the driver's knees are likely to hit requires improvement. The centre seat was equipped with an automatic locking retractor lap belt which gave less protection than a full three-point harness would.
The level of protection provided was generally good, although the driver ran some risk of injury to the base of his chest.
A front passenger airbag is standard so there is a real danger of death for a child placed in a rear-facing restraint on the front seat. The labels warning of this were inadequate and Euro NCAP has told Volkswagen that it must take this risk more seriously. The integrated child restraints could be adjusted to suit children up to about 10 years old. These can be installed rear-facing which is beneficial for smaller children; although Euro NCAP did not test it in this configuration because the instructions were not clear. The seats were well engineered, and doubled as normal adult seats.
This was a poor performance, earning only two stars. Risks were particularly high in the area where a child's head would strike.