By on December 23, 2011

Editor’s Note: Be aware that photos are larger than the usual format.

When I told friends that my European vacation would give me the opportunity to test a few European cars, their reactions fit a certain pattern: “So you’re going to be running around Europe in Porsches and Audis?” they asked. “Can I have your job?”

“No such luck,” I replied. “I’ve got a Hyundai station wagon and a VW minivan lined up.”

And though my friends may have been disappointed, I certainly wasn’t. After all, I expected great things from the Hyundai i40 I had during my first week, and I was actually quite excited to have secured a VW Sharan for week two. After all, I have something of a history with minivans (I drove a Grand Caravan in High School, the only vehicle I’ve ever crashed), and I was looking forward to comparing VW’s new Euro-MPV to its US “counterpart,” the Chrysler-rebadge VW Routan. If VW would rather sell a rebadged Town & Country than the slick little MPV I received straight from Wolfsburg with only 3,500 km on the clock, surely there was a reason. And I was determined to find it out.

VW’s newest Sharan debuted last year as a 2011 model, ditching the B-VX62 platform that had been jointly developed with Ford, in favor of the new MQB modular platform which could eventually underpin as many as 60 models, from subcompacts to “Large MPVs” like the Sharan. Some 11 inches shorter than the Routan and with a wheelbase that’s over six inches shorter, the Sharan would be considered a “Large MPV” only in Europe. On the other hand, it’s no compact minivan either, splitting the difference between the Routan and the newest Mazda5 almost perfectly (11 inches shorter than Routan, 10 inches longer than Mazda5). And it makes the most of that space: though available as base with only five seats, our tester came with the seven-seat option, and though it impinges upon cargo room considerably, the third row is no penalty box. At a little over six foot tall, I could easily occupy the Sharan’s hinterlands for all but the longest hauls, with sufficient headroom and only slightly limited legroom. In short, like the i40, the Sharan’s size alone does not preclude the possibility of US-market service.

And in return for the considerable extra space it gives up to the Routan, the Sharan offers all of the other joys of authentic, Euro-spec Volkswagen goodness. The exterior is, if a bit overly subtle, a far more handsome and complete design than the somewhat awkward Routan. And equipped with adaptive bi-xenon and LED headlights and a gigantic panoramic moonroof, one could almost imagine imagine the schnörkellos Sharan as Audi’s first foray into the world of MPVs. If you think minivans are incapable of being passable for even the most fashionable young families, take a moment to peruse the photos in the gallery below.

Meanwhile, the impressions of quality continue when you step inside. Far from the new world of disappointingly cost-cut interiors in US-market Vee-Dubs like Jetta and Passat, the Sharan’s interior is classic Volkswagen. Dash plastics are yielding to the touch but solidly situated, with only a slightly coarse “grain” on the surfacing giving an impression of less-than-top-notch quality. From the switches to the knobs, from materials to design and assembly, the contrast to American-market VWs can not be mistaken, although they don’t stand out much in pictures. Add optional leather upholstery with suede-alike inserts, VW’s top-of-the-line navigation system, parking sensors and backup camera, fully-electric side sliders and rear hatch, multi-zone climate control, the previously-mentioned panoramic moonroof, heated seats, keyless-go, stop-start, auto-park function and yes, adaptive suspension (!) and this mass-market-branded minivan truly becomes the equal of some Audis (even more so with optional 168 HP TDI engine and AWD). For a price, of course (more on that shortly).

Settle into the driver’s seat, and the first thing you notice is that the driving position is incredibly bus-like. In order to make the most of the Sharan’s (relatively) limited space, you sit high and upright on typically firm seats, while your feet reach down at a sharp angle for the three pedals and you work the long-ish throw shifter with a bit of a trucker-style downward reach. It takes a moment to get used to, especially after a week in the low-slung Hyundai wagon, but the seating position gives a commanding view of the road, and thanks to a tall roof, there’s still a vaulted cathedral worth of headroom above. All in all, then, there’s no mistaking that you’re driving a minivan, albeit a somewhat smaller, considerably more premium phenotype of the species than those we’re accustomed to in the United States.

Press in the clutch and poke the starter button, and the 140 HP version of VW’s 2.0 TDI engine rumbles subtly to life. If the i40 astounded with the refinement of its diesel engine, the Sharan made me forget almost entirely that we were driving under oil-burning power. Only the diesel’s distinctive torque and unwillingness to rev (and some clatter on cold morning warm-ups) betrayed the dieselness of this altogether capable little lump. With only 236 lb-ft to motivate some 4,300 lbs, progress was not exactly brisk, but performance was considerably more satisfying than the numbers suggest (11.4 seconds 0-100km)… and on the autobahn it had no trouble cruising at triple-digit (MPH) speeds.

Inevitably, however, the Sharan’s aerodynamics and weight conspired to push reported fuel economy way down in both high-speed cruising and brisk driving on mountain roads. Though rated at 5.4 l/100km in “extraurban” driving, the Sharan’s observed economy was rarely below 6 l/100km (~40 MPG), and often registered as high as 9 l/100km (26 MPG). On the other hand, higher numbers often came at some altitude, when climbing hills and cruising at higher speeds… still, after the Hyundai’s remarkably consistent economy, the Sharan was not as frugal as I might have hoped. On the other hand, stop-start helped urban fuel economy, and in typical European driving the 6.2 l/100km (~38 MPG) “combined” rating seemed highly achievable. Not bad for a seven-seater minivan.

Behind the wheel of such a full-fat, Euro-focused minivan, I will admit to having harbored some hope that the Sharan would be a dynamic revelation compared to the typically saggy-bouncy-leany style of the typical American minivan. Initial impressions, however, proved that my expectations were way out of line. Steering feel seemed nearly American-light at first, and though the suspension didn’t outright wallow, it certainly allowed far more lean than I had expected. Combined with a relatively high curb weight, the soft suspension provides great ride comfort and stability at speed, but also lets things to fall apart miserably in corners. The steering lacked precision and front-end bite, while the soft, well-laden chassis struggled to stay on the same page as the driver’s inputs when pushed even slightly. The overall impression was, then, not entirely unlike what any American would expect from a minivan: an emphasis on comfort (albeit with better damping and more manageable size than most US offerings), and a chassis that discourages more than a responsible, familial pace. And unlike my old high school Caravan V6, the power was sufficiently insufficient to reinforce that mode of travel.

At least that’s what I thought until I realized that our tester had the optional adaptive suspension, and that I had been experiencing the Sharan in “normal mode.” Now, I have no idea who in their right mind would spend over a thousand Euros to equip their family-hauler with the choice between “normal,” “comfort,” and “sport” suspension/steering modes (let alone the €770 lowered “sport suspension” which our tester did not have). But thanks to Europe’s build-to-order market, this minivan had a sport mode, and once selected, I left it there for the rest of our time with the Sharan. Though I don’t want to oversell the improvement of firmer damper settings and a bit more steering heft, I have to report that it carried the Sharan across the ineffable border between “sloppy mess” and “I can work with this.” On the descent from the Sella Pass in Northern Italy, where the photos for this review were taken, I had the most fun I’ve ever had in a minivan… well, with my clothes on, anyway. It was subtle, push-by-degrees fun, but at least everything felt like it was working together. Not half bad for a minivan.

But this unexpected revelation held the key to my main impression of the Sharan: all of my favorite things about it are optional. From the giant panorama roof that blessed the cabin with an airy feel and made Dolomite-gawking a dream, to the superb navi system (complete with speed limits), from the sport mode to the third row, and from the excellent headlights to the classy upholstery, all of our Sharan’s many delightful touches come at a cost (with the glaring exception of its high-quality six-speed manual transmission). And the Sharan itself is no cheap thing even without these options: our mid-trim Comfortline Bluemotion with manual transmission started at €33,875, and my attempts to recreate our test vehicle using VW Germany’s online configurator (no Monroney label was provided) show that our tester was essentially a €50,000 vehicle. Even with an Audi badge, a $50,000 pricetag would make this Sharan a non-starter in the US market.

To be perfectly frank, I was hoping to prove that this Sharan could be offered in the US, and that VW’s decision to rebadge a Chrysler was cynical and unnecessary (interestingly, the VW employees who picked up and dropped off the Sharan had no idea that the Routan exists). Certainly I think a minivan of the Sharan’s size could carve out a segment in the US market, but it’s clear that the fine interior, diesel drivetrain and tech-laden equipment levels that European families are willing to pay for would doom our tester in the value-oriented stateside market. That’s a pity, as this Sharan served as a stark contrast to VW’s recent embrace of American-style value, and as a reminder of the positioning that once made VW so popular with American connoisseurs.

Volkswagen provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of (expensive) diesel for this review.

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44 Comments on “Review: 2012 Volkswagen Sharan TDI BlueMotion (Euro-Spec)...”

  • avatar

    Something with similar style and dynamics, built on the US-market Passat could be a possibility if they thought there was demand, I’d think. However, I’d guess that the US minivan’s market performance may have made that undesirable up in the boardroom?

    • 0 avatar

      Given the ongoing transition of the US market from minivans to crossovers, a 3-row CUV is more likely than a traditional minivan.

      But then a Toyota Venza is actually bigger in every dimension bar height than the Sharan, so the sliding door aside, the differences between the European minivans and US CUVs are probably less than one would expect.

      • 0 avatar

        In Europe Van’s land, FORD outsell VW by far.
        Just comparing the S-MAX and GALAXY to respected VW models and you’d figure VW is too damn conservative, even borring.

        Quality wise, the SHARAN is as good as most recent VW products, and I mean they are OK, even thought I believe FORD Europe made a ton of progress in this field last years and the payback is visible.

  • avatar

    Ed you lucky dog, nothing is more beautiful than southern Germany/Alps at Christmas time. Enjoy!

  • avatar

    Ed – love the Euro reviews – keep ’em coming. Also, I am seriously envious – I was in Switzerland and Germany last Christmas and had a blast. Seeing all that lovely snowy alpine goodness just makes me wanna jump on a plane.

  • avatar

    An Audi minivan in North America. Genius! There are tens of thousands of women with enough common sense to realize a minivan is a better hauler than a _UV, and enough cash to be buying the top-of-the-line Odysseys and Siennas at dangerously close to that $50K price point Ed cites. Now toss some Euro status (not the Made in Detroit vibe of the Routan) into the mix and watch this buggy become the Volvo wagon of the 2010’s. This would be a lovely niche, with mighty little risk of the other German players jumping in. Get it done, VW!

  • avatar

    We Americans get what we are willing to pay for. My Mom is actually one of the 11 people who actually bought Routans, and it is a fine vehicle overall. But it is too big, and sooo much of it is sooo cheaply made. Yet Americans seem to only buy cars by the pound, so the smaller vans don’t do well. I was pushing her to get a Mazda5, which would have been perfect, but the deeply discounted Routan was cheaper.

    I will point out though, that as with straight currency comparisons, you can’t compare German base and option pricing either – we get MUCH better deals on this side of the pond. As a data point, my lightly optioned 328i Wagon MSRP’d here for ~$43K. But if you option a German market 328i Touring the same, it is in the 60K+ Euro range. We get a LOT of stuff as standard or in cheap packages that the Europeans pay through the nose for. So this would probably be a $40K minivan here, with the base model at $30K. Which oddly enough, is about the range the Routan covers.

    • 0 avatar

      Yet Americans seem to only buy cars by the pound.

      Americans seem to buy just about everything by the pound, especially food.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s a rather broad generalization, there.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah – my criteria are “2 for the price of 1” , “everything must go” and “all you can eat” . We’re a a multifaceted people.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Naahhhh. You buy meat by the pound. Most other foods by the ounce if you’re the type who shops supermarket brands. Ask me how I know.

        As for cars by the pound? Minivans, SUV’s and full-sized vehicles have been the three of the worst worst segment performers over the past decade. Only convertibles and ‘crappy plasticized Saturns’ have done worse.

        Compact vehicles are beginning to challenge the mid-sized segment for market dominance and most every automaker has been promoting the heck out of… small cars. If cars by the pound were the recipe du jour we wouldn’t have a defunct Panther platform or an Impala that will likely be the same by the time we gear up for the next war. Instead we have a slew of compact cars that are now pushed to everyone from empty nesters to young professionals.

        I’m driving a Chevy Sonic at the moment. In this ‘small’ vehicle you can now comfortably seat three people across the back and have enough space in the hatch area for most everything you need. On a recent trip the interior was fine for five, and we even had space for presents for over a dozen people in the hatch.

        … and we’re talking about a small car.

        The big issue that’s been overcome between the North American and European markets is that the ‘price premium’ to move up a size from ‘compact’ to ‘midsized’ is virtually nil in North America. For every Toyota that tries to space out these two segments by a few thousand dollars, you have a Ford or Chevy that’s willing to offer a bit more content on their compact in exchange for a midsized price.

        Even if it may mean some minor cannibalization issues for the brand, the resulting profit and ‘prestige’ value more than makes up for it.

        My prediction is that most automakers will soon offer two compacts. A ‘cheap’ model, and an ‘upscale’ model that competes headlong with the midsized market segment. Why? Because an increasing portion of the market will more concerned about content’ and ‘interior materials’ than they will be about ‘space’ and ‘traditional luxury’.

        OK, rant over. Merry Xmas.

      • 0 avatar

        @Steve Lang

        Every time one of the MUCH nicer small cars (Cruze, Focus, Fiest) is reviewed here, the CONSTANT refrain is “why would I pay that much for a small car when I can have a bigger one for a little more/same money. Ditto pickups. THIS is what I mean by buying by the pound. Even though they don’t NEED the space, “better deal” is all.

        I would call the Panther the ultimate in car by the pound. Giant gommy useless thing, but hey, they were CHEAP! Same with our “mini”vans, which are anything but mini. The original Chrysler caravan was a usefully sized vehicle, the current version is ridiculous 95% of the time.

        But hey, it’s the American way – we do the same thing with houses too.

  • avatar

    Even with an Audi badge, a $50,000 pricetag would make this Sharan a non-starter in the US market.

    Isn’t a top of the line Sienna or Odyssey almost 50k?

    • 0 avatar

      $40+ at least, but then they do have much more space, come equipped with an engine capable of accelerating, and isn’t designed for ease of breaking down and difficulty in fixing.

      Outside perhaps a few of our densest cities, the only way a smaller, more expensive minivan makes sense here, is if it is seriously more sporty. Something this thing, er the review does not seem to be. A Bimmer Ultimate People Hauler, o the other hand…… For the Bimmer to be the ultimate in anything, it requires fitting one of their inline 6s, probably with a Turbo to haul a minivan. And RWD. Which might make minivan packaging difficult. But man, would I love to drive one….

  • avatar

    I’ll be very happy if a TN made TDI Passat Estate exists.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      If VW made this van-let in their TN plant, I bet a strippo 2wd model with the 2.5 liter five cylinder would come in under $30k. Heck, a loaded Mazda 5 barely touches 30k, which is the Sharan’s closest equivalent in the US market.

      • 0 avatar

        The Sharan is a little bigger than the Mazda5. The smaller VW Touran competes with the Mazda5 directly although it lacks a 7 seater option (in Europe, especially Northern Europe, less christianity and/or high costs of living means that families with more than 3 kids are rare anyway, even three kids is exceptional).

  • avatar

    how close to a convertible does that panoramic moonroof feel like?, with the convenience of no wind in your hair I guess

    • 0 avatar

      If it slides open like it does on the smaller VW Touran with a similar roof then it’s pretty nice but you still have the pillars and everything so it doesn’t really feel like a convertible. For the driver it’s just a really big sunroof if you open it, but you don’t really notice the glass while driving. It’s better from the rear-seat.

  • avatar

    Would it sell well here? I’m not so sure. There’s always the question of VW reliability. Also, while not quite the same vehicle, the Mercedes R class was a dud with its minivan looks. I’m not sure though it would have sold much better with sliding doors.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mercedes R Class was the textbook definition of “awkward styling”. Using its failure in the marketplace to say the Sharan wouldn’t sell is akin to saying CUVs will never sell because of the Pontiac Aztek.

  • avatar

    One potential disadvantage of this car relative to American-style minivans is the SUV-esque way the seats fold down. In the Sienna/Odyssey/Caravan-T&C the third row folds into a well, while the middle row either does the same or is fully removable. That probably lowers the floor by nearly a foot, creating the dual advantage of a lower load floor and a larger cargo area. For some reason (no space for the well behind the third row, perhaps) very few if any Eurovans follow this formula.

    Other than that, I quite like this car. It looks eminently classy, like every recent VW – no lines out of place, impeccably-finished interior.

    • 0 avatar

      I would agree with this. In North America, this car doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      The front-drive version of the Mazda MPV probably did this better, and the Mazda5 hits the minivan-but-not-so-huge target better.

  • avatar

    Interesting review. This car is a fairly important car for VW in Europe, and it’s nice to see an Americans point of view on it. VW’s are not considered very sporty over here btw, maybe because they can’t intrude on Audi’s territory.
    I hope you get the chance to test some of GM and Fords offerings too, just to see if they really are as different from their US counterparts as we believe them to be :)
    PS: Considering most of the Dodge Journeys sold in Norway has the same 2.0TDI , I don’t think the Sharan would be considered properly ‘slow’ by European standards :P

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      Thanx Zykotec for bringing up an intresting point. Journey FWD with a 2.0 TDI. That would have some viewers here on TTAC thinking hard about the raised Wagon w/TDI combo.

      • 0 avatar

        Would it be interesting to know that nearly half of the Journey 2.0tdi’s sold over here were stick shift too ;) Or that with Norwegian taxes they cost 70-80 grand :P

  • avatar

    Although the idea of a sensibly sized minivan with an available diesel and manual gearbox appeals to me, I can’t see this being offered in North America. Mr. Euro might buy one for his wife, but that’s about it – and everyone knows Mr. Euro only buys used vehicles that have depreciated into affordability.

    Right now a “Canadian Value Package” Grand Caravan is available for $20k – much less than half the price of the Sharan described here. For that price, you get a lot more room, over twice the power (although admittedly not twice the torque), and a 6AT. The Pentastar is a powerful and refined engine, the newer Grand Caravans have a passable interior, and if Jack Baruth and Michael Karesh are to be believed they even have decent road manners.

    Image conscious badge snobs would likely rather not be seen in a Dodge, but then again, these types probably don’t want to be seen in *any* minivan – not even one with a VW or Audi badge on it.

    Most minivan buyers don’t want to impress the neighbours – they just want to move people and things. It’s hard to imagine these people paying a significant premium for a Sharan even if they are in the small minority that do not need or want the extra space in a Grand Caravan and prefer a manual gearbox to an automatic even in a vehicle like a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      2001/2 marked the last Nissan Pathfinder offered a Manual Transmission in the US. You cannot really find any Manuals in large SUV’s and Minivans for a reason. They are not more fun to drive. I like driving the MT in fun to drive cars. I don’t look for them in Van, Pickup Trucks or family haulers unless it is a wagon. You also get decreased towing by about 1500 LB vs. Automatic.

      The Americans who live out of the city enjoy an amazing combo of space, comfort and utility with the American market Minivans. They are big, decent on gas (Not much more then 6cyl. car), Comfortable to load kids into saftey seats especialy with sliding doors & Have seating good for long & short trips. Minivan makers do not forget that when a group of 6-8 people goes on a trip together they will need lot’s of space for food and cargo. (I’m looking at you both, Tahoe and Sharan)

      The Mazda5 and old friend Kia Rondo are good for urban people looking to fit in smaller parking spots, Like driving MT’s or look at the Mazda5 as an alternative to a 2WD SUV. Not to a Minivan. Behind the small 3rd row you can barely fit a lunch box.

      • 0 avatar

        I think about buying a Mazda 5 from time to time, but seeing what is still running at 15 years old in the urban mid-Atlantic makes me doubt long-term durability.

        Plenty of Toyotas, Hondas, some Subarus, and a decent number of GMs and RWD Fords. Mazdas are as scarce as Mitsubishis.

  • avatar

    BTW – The picture of the dash reminds me of a Jeep Grand Cherokee…

  • avatar

    This looks like the perfect size. Due to the future arrival of twins, we’ve suddenly found our Mazda5 too small (2 adults + 3 car seats/baby carriers). We’ve looked at a Honda Odyssey (and we’ll check out the Town & Country next week), but so far the Odyssey seems like overkill. Eleven more inches in length and six more in width (and no more in height) would be the perfect size.

    • 0 avatar


      Have you all checked out Volvo XC70? We are in a similar situation as yours & we might end up getting Volvo estate over mini van. As mush as I like E91 328i, I just don’t see how it’ll fit 2 boosters & 1 baby carrier. Best of all, XC70’s inline 6 comes with 5 years/ 50k miles of Warranty, Wear & Tear Coverage, Wear & Tear Coverage. Roadside Assistance is complimentary for 5 years unlimited miles.

  • avatar

    A stick in a mini van? And in America? Outside of Brooke Shields, no one would be interested. No wonder Europeans are so out of touch. Or is it the other way around?

  • avatar

    Ed, what you drove here is for me, the Holy Grail of people movers. As a long-time VW owner, and van aficionado, I would love to get my hands on one of these. As the previous (or current) owner of three Passat wagons (one diesel), a Eurovan (with a stick!), a Mazda MPV, and a Routan, I love vehicles that combine utility and decent fuel economy without occupying too big a footprint. The Routan is the most cynical piece of badge engineering ever, but it is also the nicest Dodge Caravan that I have ever driven. But as you mention, there is no way that VW could get the vehicle you drove to a price point that would be palatable to North American buyers. My ’10 Comfortline Routan, equipped with the 4.0L and 6-spd swallows a 4×8 sheet of plywood, has heated seats, power doors, rear A/C, etc., for an out the door price of $25K CDN with incentives. But I do find the thing to be way bigger than what I need 80% of the time. The last batch of Eurovans sold in Canada in 2003 started at $43K. As one of the B&B mentioned, when you are selling cars by the pound, there is little chance of mass-market success for a vehicle like this in North America. I’d buy one, but unfortunately for me and the nine other people who would buy one new, VW is not going to take the chance.

  • avatar

    Porsches and Audis aside, you did opt for some relatively dreary cars here Ed. You could have opted for an Alfa Giulietta or a BMW X1 or 5 series AWD Touring with a manual, for instance.

    A Hyundai and a van? Almost keepin’ it too real…

  • avatar

    As Jack and I noted in our reviews, the current Dodge minivan actually handles surprisingly well. Very tightly damped.

    Chrysler eliminated their regular wheelbase minivan in favor of the Journey. I think Kia was the last to give up on RWB minivans, but they no longer offer one, either. So it’s quite clear that there’s limited demand for a RWB minivan in North America.

    • 0 avatar

      The shorty Caravan was a huge seller in Canada. Something in the order of 50% of Caravans sold were SWB models. When DCX eliminated the shorty after the 2007 model year, there was an entire contingent of “value” shoppers that were left high and dry. Despite that, 20,000 or so units a year in Canada weren’t enough to keep it in the line-up, I guess.

  • avatar

    I wish we had MPVs here in the US. I need a new minivan to replace my 10 y/o T&C, and am not considering crossovers. All the current minivan offerings (all 3 or 4?) I consider too big. The Mazda is my only choice for now (long promised Ford and Opel/Chev MPVs in the U.S…I will believe it when I see them on the lots), and Mazda is not impressing me much these days. That this VW is a little bigger than the Mazda5 is even better, becuase I find the Mazda5’s just a hair small when I rent them.

    This VW would be perfect, even cost engineered down to $25-30000. The reason I like MPVs is for road tripping w/ the kids and dog. Dog fits nicely on the floor of the second floor between the kids captain’s chairs. Don’t want a bench/3-across back there. Oh, dropped a family member at the train station on the way home yesterday, so occasionally I need an extra seat in the third row, too. I am not a stow and go fan so even the cheapest Dodge/Routan is not for me, because there is an ugly hole in the floor even when you don’t get stow and go.

    MPVs are the stealth minivans, and would a great option for people who can use one, but are afraid of the stigma of driving a minivan. Too bad the marketers are not pushing these like they are the crossovers. If they made it “Euro” enough and marketed it as such, but at American prices, it might have a chance.

  • avatar

    “the Sharan’s observed economy was rarely below 6 l/100km (~40 MPG), and often registered as high as 9 l/100km (26 MPG)”

    Don’t you mean 62 not 26 ?

  • avatar

    We were fortunate to rent a VW Sharan diesel through Eurocar in France in June, 2013. There were 6 of us, and I suppose that’s why this was the car that was provided. But I wanted to say on this site that the Sharan was spectacular on every dimension (comfort, handling, features, etc.) Every time we found out more about the car over the three weeks we (all 6 of us, 3 over 6 feet tall) were increasingly impressed. We would buy this car in a minute if it were available in the U.S. — but it is not. What a shame.

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