The long-overdue new Volkswagen Sharan made its debut at the recent Geneva Motor Show.
Based on a new platform and with new twin sliding doors, the new Sharan MPV offers a seven seat configuration and a range of frugal, yet powerful, petrol and diesel engines.
Having fallen behind the previous sister model - the Ford Galaxy which went its own way with more style two years ago - Volkswagen claims the new Sharan is set to establish new standards of efficiency, practicality and refinement in its class. Also in this regard, one Volkswagen executive said of the new Sharan that only the sun visors were carried over from the old model - everything else is new.
The new model is 220mm longer than the model it replaces, 92mm wider and 12mm lower. Despite these gains, the new Sharan weighs 30kg less than the previous generation model.
Access to the rear seats in the new Sharan is granted via a pair of large sliding doors that can, along with the tailgate, be specified with electric motors to operate automatically. The new flexible easyfold seating system offers great functionality.
The centre row features three individual seats that can be moved by up to 160mm back and forth if required and, when not in use, can be folded to create a flat loadspace.
The third row of seats is made easy to access through the ability of the centre row of seats to slide and pivot forwards by 20 degrees. As a result of a wheelbase extended by 75mm over the outgoing model, the new Sharan’s third row of seats is large enough to accommodate adults as well as children. As with the second row of seats, they can also be folded flat into the floor when not required.
At the heart of the new Sharan is a range of four advanced TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines linked to six-speed manual or DSG gearboxes. A 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine, developing 150bhp while returning a promised 38.1mpg and emitting 172g/km of CO2, is joined by a 2.0-litre unit which is mated to a standard DSG gearbox and produces 200bhp. This engine emits 201g/km of CO2 with a promised return of 32.8mpg.
The diesel range comprises two 2.0-litre common rail engines producing 140 and 170bhp. In 2.0-litre TDI 140bhp form the Sharan promises 52.3mpg while emitting 143g/km of CO2 to make it one of the most efficient vehicles in its class. The 170bhp model emits 152g/km of CO2 and has a promised combined economy figure of 49.5mpg. To further improve efficiency, all models except the 200bhp variant feature stop-start and regenerative braking systems as standard.
Volkswagen claims the new Sharan is the most advanced people carrier Volkswagen has produced. Available as an optional extra for the first time is the adaptive chassis control system featuring electronically controlled pneumatic dampers with three selectable stages – normal, comfort and sport.
In addition, a new version of park assist makes its debut on the Sharan. The system is now capable of guiding the vehicle into parking spaces at right angles with the direction of traffic as well as parallel spaces.
VW expects the new Sharan to appeal to families with two or more children and high-mileage business users with a need for extra space. The new Sharan will go on sale in Ireland later this year with prices and specifications due to be announced nearer this time. VW says the new Sharan is worth waiting for. We say that it is better late than never.