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Geneva show: Sharan not Oz-borne

New Shazza: The new VW Sharan is said to be based on Passat underpinnings.

VW’s new-generation car-based people-mover is not for Aussies – for now

2 Mar 2010

APPARENTLY in Persian it means ‘carrier of kings’, but the second-generation Sharan from Volkswagen will not convey any Australians.

Unveiled at this week’s Geneva motor show, the Portuguese-built people-mover is built on what Volkswagen refers to as “an advanced new platform”, but it is thought to be a development of the front-wheel-drive underpinnings found in the current Passat.

Unlike in its previous iteration (still in production after 15 years), the new Sharan features twin sliding doors but retains a seven-seat configuration and monobox silhouette.

But the design is also all-new, being 220mm longer (at 4854 mm), with a 75mm increase in wheelbase. The new Sharan is also 92mm wider and 12mm lower yet weight has been cut by 30kg.

3 center image Those sliding side doors can be electric powered, like the tailgate, to aid access to the rear row the centre row of seats can pivot and slide (by up to 160mm) to also aid entry and exit, as well as fold into the floor to increase cargo volume.

So can the third row, which Volkswagen says is sufficiently spacious for adults as well as children.

Engines are the usual array of Volkswagen Group powerplants, ranging from a 1.4-litre Twincharge petrol unit to 2.0-litre TDI diesels. Most models also feature idle-stop and regenerative braking systems.

“The new Sharan is the most advanced people-carrier Volkswagen has ever produced,” the press release says, boasting options such as the company’s Adaptive Chassis Control system featuring electronic damper adjustment, as well as Park Assist that is capable of guiding the car into parking spots. A new feature here is that it can do so into right-angle spaces as well as parallel ones.

Volkswagen is expected to extend its Toyota Tarago-targeting bus to Seat (to replace the current Alhambra people-mover that was also based on the outgoing Sharan) and perhaps even Skoda.

The original Sharan was a joint venture project with Ford, and featured a curious mix of engines from both firms, as well as an interior design that could only be described as an amalgam of the first Ford Mondeo and Mk3 VW Golf/Passat of the era. The Ford version was known as the Galaxy.

Ford based its second-generation Galaxy on the current Mondeo platform, but not before a comprehensive facelift in 2000 to bring the people-movers up to date for both companies. Volkswagen (and Seat) carried on with their respective versions of this vehicle until this year.

Like the last one, Australians will not get to meet this Sharan in the foreseeable future, or ever if Volkswagen Australia spokesman Karl Gehling is correct.

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