Volkswagen is preparing to unveil an extensive mid-life refresh for its five-door, seven-seat MPV, the Sharan, at the upcoming Geneva International Motor Show. Currently in its second generation, VW has sold 800,000 examples of the vehicle, 200,000 of those from the current generation. 

First introduced in 1995, the Sharan has been particularly successful in Europe and Asia. In China, for example, the Sharan is used primarily for business transportation, while in Germany, it is mostly used by families. The Sharan has also seen success in the UK, Austria, Japan and France.

This latest update will include a variety of new driver-assist systems and comfort-oriented features. VW will also introduce two new limited editions, the Sharan Ocean and the Sharan Beach, which will complement the Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline trim levels. These special editions will be available in two new paint colors, and will feature upgraded equipment for both the exterior and interior.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Sharan.

Exterior

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The Sharan has received a minor exterior update in this latest refresh, with revised LED rear lights. Wheel selection has been expanded, and now includes 16-inch “Jakarta” alloy rollers. 

The two new special editions, the Ocean and the Beach, will debut two new paint colors: “Hudson Bay Blue Metallic” on the Ocean and “Crimson Red Metallic” on the Beach. Finally, silver roof rails round out the exterior options list. 

Interior

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The Sharan’s radio and radio-navigation systems are entirely new. Touchscreen technology is available, with either a 5-inch or 6.5-inch high-resolution screen offered as options. These come with fast processors for quick boot-up, prompt route calculation, and optimal performance. The 5-inch screen is available as the “Composition Colour” system, while the 6.5-inch screen is available as either “Composition Media”, or the navigation-equipped “Discover Media” system. App Connect software enhances connectivity with the addition of MirrorLink, CarPlay (Apple), and Android Auto (Google) as optional software packages. These systems help to integrate various mobile apps with the vehicle’s infotainment equipment.

The driver gets some nice updates as well. Both the steering wheel and the graphics used in the gauge cluster have been redesigned. The three different trim levels each offer different materials for finishing touches to the dash and door, including Platinum Silver in the Trendline, Piano Black in the Highline, and Mirror Oak as an option for both the Comfortline and the Highline. Ergonomics are further enhanced with a massage function on optional 12-way adjustable seats. The Sharan can also be ordered with a high-quality Vienna leather upholstery package in an embossed diamond pattern.

Access to the rear seating is via two sliding doors, a standard feature on the Sharan. Three basic interior seating layouts are available for five, six, or seven seats. Using EasyFold seat design with a snappy folding mechanism, individual seats in the second and third rows can be quickly stowed away for increased interior room. The second-row passenger seats can be repositioned laterally, while the back seats can be adjusted over an angle of 20 degrees. Maximum luggage capacity is a little less than 86 cubic feet. Two integrated child seats and up to nine air bags enhance safety.

A wide range of new driver-assistance systems are now in place on the Sharan. Automatic Post-Collision Braking now comes standard. There’s an optional Front Assist ambient traffic monitoring system, which detects the distance to the leading vehicle, alerts the driver if it’s too close, and applies the brake if necessary. There’s an integrated City Emergency Braking function that makes an emergency stop if an imminent crash is detected at less than 30 km/h (18.6 mph). Adaptive Cruise Control is also available, a first for the Sharan. The electronic parking brake system is now outfitted with a standard Auto Hold function for both the manual and DSG transmissions, preventing rollaway. Additional driver-assist options include a third-generation Park Assist system, Blind Spot Monitor system, and Rear Traffic Alert system.

The two special-edition Sharans, the Ocean and the Beach, are fitted as standard with Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Assist, and Park Assist, including Park Pilot. Both models also feature unique seat upholstery design with contrasting stitching matched to the exclusive paint color, as well as a multi-function steering wheel, gear lever gate with unique stitching, electric rear sliding doors for access to the rear seating area, and a Climatronic automatic climate control system. These are, of course, complemented by limited-edition badging, denoting either “Ocean” or “Beach” on the passenger-side dashboard trim and door sill plates.

Drivetrain

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VW didn’t stop at the exterior and interior when it came to providing updates to the Sharan MPV. The drivetrain has also received a good deal of massaging, including new petrol and diesel engine options. These turbocharged powerplants are now up to 15 percent more fuel-efficient, and comply with the Euro-6 standard.

The two gasoline TSI engine options are rated at 148 horsepower and 217 horsepower, with the more powerful unit representing an increase of 20 extra ponies over its previous version. There are also three diesel TDI engine options, including units rated at 114 horsepower, 148 horsepower (a 10-horsepower gain), and 181 horsepower (a 7-horsepower gain).

Except for the smallest diesel option, each of these engines can be mated to an available six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which comes equipped with a coasting function that decouples the engine from the transmission for decreased fuel consumption. This transmission comes standard with the 217 horsepower TSI powerplant. The mid-range, 148 horsepower TDI powerplant is available with 4MOTION all-wheel-drive.

Prices

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Prices start at 25,320 euros for a base model, which converts to $28,917 at current exchange rates (2/18/15). From there, the price goes up to 33,775 euros, or $38,573, for a top-range model with all the trimmings.

Competition

Seat Alhambra

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With almost as much of a history as the Sharan, this MPV from Seat has won a slew of awards throughout Europe. Now in its second generation, the Alhambra comes with both diesel and gasoline engines in a variety of specs, from 150 horsepower to 200 horsepower for the gas-powered mills, and from 140 horsepower to 170 horsepower for the oil burners. Features include a start-stop function, Easy-Fold seating mechanisms, regenerative braking, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, parking assist, and three-zone Cimatronic climate control. It also received a 5-star overall rating in the Euro NCAP tests.

While not quite as popular as the Sharan, the Alhambra is every bit as capable, which makes sense, considering both vehicles share the same platform.

Conclusion

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Now with 20 years in the running, the new Sharan, as a package, looks rather impressive. While not particularly exciting in any single category, it’s an MPV that does the job, and does it well. A huge range of options for the interior work well to complement the new exterior and engine range, and for anyone looking at purchasing a sensible, well-appointed vehicle with tons of space and fantastic build quality, you could do a lot worse than the Sharan. Find a trim level to your spec and run with it.

The New Sharan is expected to launch in Europe this July, while advance sales in Germany are slated to begin in April.

  • Leave it
    • * Less than thrilling
    • * Mediocre exterior styling

Press Release

At this year’s Geneva International Motor Show (March 3-15), Volkswagen will be presenting an extensive technical update of the Sharan, of which over 800,000 units have been sold. This includes numerous systems to assist the driver and enhance convenience and comfort, some features being unique to this market segment. In addition, Volkswagen is offering a completely new line-up of infotainment systems. These deliver a maximum degree of connectivity; for the first time, MirrorLink™, CarPlay (Apple), and Android Auto (Google) are also being offered as options. In addition, the petrol (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines are completely new; they are all as powerful as they are efficient. The turbocharged direct injection engines are now up to 15 per cent more fuel-efficient and all now comply fully with the Euro-6 standard. The two new TSI engines produce 110 kW / 150 PS and 162 kW / 220 PS, and the highest powered petrol engine produces 15 kW / 20 PS more power. The three new TDI engines are available at these power levels: 85 kW / 115 PS, 110 kW / 150 PS (gain of 10 PS) and 135 kW / 184 PS (gain of 7 PS). All engines, except the smallest diesel model, can be combined with an agile 6-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG), which now provides a coasting function for additional fuel-saving (decoupling of the engine during deceleration). The DSG transmission is standard with the top engine with 220 PS. As an alternative, the 150 PS TDI engine is also available with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.

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New driver assistance systems. The new driver assistance systems of the Sharan represent a new class level. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking system is installed as standard. The optional Front Assist ambient traffic monitoring system alerts the driver if the distance to the vehicle ahead is too short and applies the brakes as necessary. The integrated City Emergency Braking function automatically initiates an emergency stop at speeds of under 30 km/h if a collision is imminent. For the first time, the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system is also available on the Sharan. The electronic parking brake system features an Auto Hold function as standard in the case of both manual and DSG gearbox versions; this prevents unwanted rolling of the vehicle. Other new additions to the range of optional features are the third generation Park Assist system (assisted parking and exiting from parking spaces) and the Blind Spot Monitor (alerts drivers to the presence of vehicles in the blind spot when changing lanes) – it also includes Rear Traffic Alert, a system that warns of cross traffic when reversing out of parking places.

Optimised exterior and interior. Exterior design details of the Sharan have been sharpened. The rear light cluster in LED technology presents a more concise light signature. The range of wheel selections has also been extended – by the new 16-inch "Jakarta" alloy wheels, among others, and two new body colours are available: "Hudson Bay Blue Metallic" and "Crimson Red Metallic". The interior has been optimised as well: the dial graphics in the instrument cluster have been redesigned, as has the steering wheel. Providing the finishing touches to the updated interior are three new trim designs: Platinum Silver (Trendline), Piano Black (Highline) and Mirror Oak (optional for Comfortline and Highline) upgrade the dashboard and the door trim. Modified steering wheels and a massage function for the optional 12-way seats optimise interior ergonomics. In addition, the Sharan can be ordered with high-quality Vienna leather; it features an exclusive embossed diamond pattern.

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Second generation modular infotainment platform. The line-up of radio and radio-navigation systems range is entirely new; as in new models such as the Passat, the Sharan now benefits from the second generation modular infotainment platform. The optional touchscreen devices for the MPV provide maximum connectivity. Also, the Sharan becomes one of the first Volkswagen vehicles that can be fitted with App Connect. Various apps can be integrated into the new infotainment system via MirrorLink™, Android Auto (Google), and CarPlay (Apple). The systems also impress with fast processors (for optimised boot-up, quick route calculation, optimal touchscreen performance) and high-resolution displays (in the 6.5-inch systems). The Sharan is available with either the 5-inch "Composition Colour" system or the 6.5-inch systems "Composition Media" or "Discover Media" (with navigation).

New standards of space access and utilisation. With access to the rear seating compartment via two sliding doors, which are fitted as standard, the Sharan is one of the most successful MPVs in its class. Key reasons for this are its variability and exceptionally good interior space. The Sharan is available in three basic interior layouts comprising five, six or seven seats. The EasyFold seat design, with its quick-to-use folding mechanism, makes it easy for users to stow the individual seats of the second and third rows into the floor of the vehicle. This maximises the vehicle’s variability. The passenger seats in the second row can be repositioned laterally, and the backs can be adjusted over an angle of 20 degrees. The Sharan is also characterised by the same level of quality, ergonomic perfection and intuitive operability that has made Volkswagen the leading vehicle brand in Europe and China. Features such as two integrated child seats, up to nine air bags and a maximum luggage capacity of 2,430 litres also speak for themselves.

Especially successful in Europe and Asia. Thanks to its good all-round capabilities, over 200,000 units of the current generation model have already been sold, and well over 800,000 people have already chosen the Volkswagen MPV since the market launch of the Sharan. Based on its variability, the latest Sharan version will fulfil the requirements of a diverse range of target groups and types of uses. Worth noting is the fact that in China – one of the strongest markets for Sharan sales – the MPV is primarily used as a spacious and sophisticated business vehicle. By contrast, in Germany – the most important individual market – the Sharan is overwhelmingly preferred by families. Other key sales markets for the Volkswagen MPV, after Germany and China, are the United Kingdom, Austria, Japan, and France.

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Two limited edition models at debut. At its market launch, Volkswagen will also be introducing two high-end customised limited edition models, the Sharan Ocean and Sharan Beach, to supplement the Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline equipment lines. These models will come in "Hudson Bay Blue Metallic" (Ocean) or "Crimson Red" (Beach) – two new colours that are making their debut exclusively in the special edition models. Expanded options for exterior equipment include the newly designed "Jakarta" 16-inch alloy wheels and silver roof rails. Furthermore, the two exclusive versions arrive as standard with the assistance systems ACC (adaptive cruise control), Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Assist (lane departure warning system) and Park Assist (park steering assistant) including Park Pilot. Other standard features include a special seat upholstery design with contrasting stitching coordinated with the body colour, a multi-function steering wheel, gear lever gaiter with coordinated decorative stitching, electric sliding doors for the rear seating areas and the Climatronic automatic climate control system. The package is rounded out by limited edition badges on the wings, the "Ocean" or "Beach" logo on the passenger side dashboard trim and the relevant badge on the door sill plates. The new Sharan will launch in Europe in July, and advance sales in Germany will begin in April.

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