After a 14-year production run of 600,000 units for previous versions, Volkswagen has introduced an all-new Sharan with sliding doors, more length, and less weight.
“Only the sunblind is a carryover from the previous Sharan,” says Project Manager Dr. Hans-Joachim Bohn. Although it can justly be described as “all-new,” the Sharan does share its platform ahead of the B-pillar with the VW Tiguan and Touran and its front and rear suspension with the Passat sedan and wagon. Powertrains are also shared.
“The most important aspects of the new Sharan are its total design and engineering integration, its sliding door system (powered operation is optional), and its opening/sliding panoramic roof which does not bring a loss of torsional rigidity (22,400 N·m/degree),” he added. Static rigidity is improved by 63% compared to that of the old model.
The new car has seating for up to seven people, is 4.85 m (15.9 ft) long—220 mm (8.7 in) longer than its predecessor—and has a maximum 2430 L (85.8 ft³) cargo capacity. The second and third rows of seats fold into the floor to create a level load area.
Designed under the leadership of Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff, the Sharan’s styling is understated, but the front end has the marque’s DNA first seen on the current Golf and Polo. Cd is an excellent 0.299, and the car cruises exceptionally quietly at high speed. It is built at Palmela, Portugal, alongside the Scirocco and Eos.
Engines are a choice of diesel or gasoline, with the smallest of the latter a 1.4-L producing 110 kW (148 hp). Transmissions are six-speed manual or DSG. Most models feature stop/start and battery regeneration.
Adaptive chassis control is available. Park Assist includes an ability to guide the vehicle into spaces at right angles to the direction of traffic as well as into parallel spaces.
Weight saving sees the 1.4TSI BlueMotion version 30 kg (66 lb) lighter than its comparable predecessor.
All versions of the Sharan get two sliding rear doors. Powered versions can be operated via a remote RF control. Each door includes a fully retractable window, an armrest, and bottle holder.
External guide rails are made a styling feature and each door uses three rails. Two protective closure systems are fitted, one at the leading edge of the doors via a pinch protection strip with pressure sensors, the second via an algorithm in the controller that continually compares the ratio of the drive’s electrical current draw and the door’s drive speed to detect an obstacle; if one is sensed, the door stops and reverses. A warning signal sounds as the doors are closing.