2012 Volkswagen Sharan
The latest version of Volkswagen’s venerable Sharan MPV has arrived in Britain’s streets.
The model has been around since it first appeared in 1995, yet the VW Sharan has changed substantially since that first version, which shared much with its Ford Galaxy cousin. In fact, the new model shares only its name with that first iteration.
The cheapest Sharan, the S 1.4-litre TSI, is priced at just £22,980. If you’re planning to use the Sharan’s seven seats on a regular basis, you may find the 1.4 litre engine a little lacking in oomph, so in reality, most buyers are looking at spending at least £25,000 on a Sharan. The range-topping Executive can set you back more than £30,000.
This year’s Sharan is available with a range of fuel-efficient engines, in either TSI petrol or TDI diesel configuration. Most of the engine options come under Volkswagen’s ever-expanding BlueMotion programme. BlueMotion Technology features Stop/Start functionality and battery power regeneration systems to boost economy and cut emissions. The new VW Sharan can do up to 50.4 MPG.
The Sharan is available in a selection of four trim levels that range from S to Executive. In the middle of the range are the SE and SEL models. Apart from the Executive, all trim packages benefit from a full seven seats in the cabin.
The Sharan Executive is aimed at the VIP-hauler market rather than the MPV sector. It features six separate sumptuous seats that come with their own armrests and standard ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery.
Another key benefit of the Sharan is Volkswagen’s EasyFold concept. With EasyFold, each individual seat in the second and third rows can be stowed away in the vehicle’s floor. The easily-used mechanism means it is not necessary to remove the seat completely when it’s not needed.
Both the front seats and those in the second row are adjustable both longitudinally and through a backrest angle of as much as 20 degrees. Access to the third row of seats is made easy through an innovative folding system in the middle row of seats. This makes it easy to tilt the seats forward using just one hand.
With five seats in place, the Sharan can carry up to 1,330 litres of cargo. Fold all passenger seats flat and the Sharan can pack a whopping 2,430 litres.
The Volkswagen Sharan comes with an impressive set of design, safety and comfort features that maximise the enjoyment and security of this fine seven-seater. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) and Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) work to maximise safety while driving.
In the event of an unfortunate accident, the Sharan does a fine job of protecting occupants against injury. A curtain airbag system is provided for all three seating rows. Side airbags are provided for the first two rows, as well. Both the driver and the front-seat passenger get their own airbags and the driver’s knees get their own airbag.
An eight-speaker audio system with DAB digital radio and an iPod interface take care of keeping passengers entertained. The 2Zone electronic climate controller keeps everybody comfortable.
In addition to the ease with which the second row of seats can be folded to ease access to the back row, the Sharan comes with twin sliding rear doors. Electronic operation can be specified, boosting the ease-of-access yet further.
Further improving the options for driving and passenger comfort is the availability of Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC). This is the first time ACC is available on the Sharan. It lets the driver choose from Comfort, Normal and Sport settings for the chassis damping.
Finally, the Sharan can be supplied with Park Assist. This system lets the vehicle park itself in both parallel and inline parking situations. The car does all of the steering and the driver needs only operate throttle and brakes.