Volkswagen Sharan tyres

The original Sharan, launched some twenty years ago, shares the same platform as the Seat Alhambra and Ford Galaxy. The three manufacturers worked together to pioneer the modern MPV.

Before then, options for large families were essentially limited to vans, the Renault Espace and impractically enormous Peugeot and Citroen estates. Long-gone were the days (unthinkable now) when you could legally put a child in the boot of an estate or hatchback with just a cushion or the dog. People just crammed kids into the back seats of normal cars before seatbelts became compulsory. (A Government campaign at the time boasted the slogan: “Love your children at home, but belt them in the car!”) Such child-friendly inventions as headrest-mounted TV screens or cup-holders were no more than a twinkle in their creator’s eye.

The truth is that the launch of these MPVs brought with it a level of comfort and practicality previously unimaginable. When they came, people may have pointed and stared, laughing at these ridiculous ‘fertility wagons’. Yet the last laugh belongs to the likes of the Sharan. They now have widespread popularity as well as acceptance, nowhere more so than in Catholic countries, presumably repaying their makers’ original investment many times over.

The Sharan may be all about family motoring but it has plenty to recommend it. It is car-like to drive and has tonnes of practicality. The most recent model even features sliding rear doors which can be opened electronically. Its petrol engines may be horribly thirsty but the more popular diesel combines torque with economy and is surprisingly quiet.

Those driving a Sharan may wish for many things. In the here and now, that may be for Jack to stop hitting Jacob and for Freya to stop singing the theme tune from Frozen quite so loudly. More generally, though, safety tops the list. Safety is an important consideration for all motorists, but for drivers of family cars in particular, and is synonymous with grip as far as tyres are concerned.

Grip doesn’t just translate into better roadholding when cornering, although an MPV will usually be different when turning to normal cars due to its higher centre of gravity. Rather, it also means a more assured stance on the road, particularly in the wet, better braking and shorter stopping distances. These are just as important for those outside the car as those in it.

The introduction of EU tyre labelling regulation at the end of 2012 made the process of choosing between different tyre types remarkably easier. Wet grip ratings (which also correspond to grip levels on dry roads) are clearly shown on each tyre’s label, and indeed on this website. The advantages of better grip benefit all drivers but are particularly relevant for drivers of MPVs and family cars. In common with many in the industry, etyres always recommends buying the best tyres you can afford. For Sharan drivers, ‘best’ means ‘those with the most grip’.

Many different replacement tyres are available to fit the Sharan. Most popular with etyres is Continental’s PremiumContact range. Common to these is an emphasis on grip and durability, a perfect match for both these cars and family motoring. Other best-selling types include Dunlop’s BluResponse range and Nexen’s NBlue tyres, while Michelin remains an enduringly popular choice. Common to all is an emphasis on grip. It should be the most important consideration in replacement tyre choice, whatever your budget.