Volkswagen has taken the first Sharan mules out on the open roads now. Based on a longer platform of the current Passat, the new Sharan will be out by the end of 2008.

Volkswagen has taken the first Sharan mules out on the open roads now. Based on a longer platform of the current Passat, the new Sharan will be out by the end of 2008. It will have a difficult task of getting the customers back to VW due to Ford's great success with the S-Max and the new Galaxy. While Ford already has these minivans out on the market, VW totally overslept the market and will have to struggle with the old Sharan for some more years. The first generation of Sharan and Galaxy were built in co-operation between Volkswagen and Ford in Portugal, but now Ford has its own Ford-built Galaxy on the market. According to Seat's President Andreas Schleef, there will again be a Seat version of the new Sharan, the Alhambra. For the first time in the Sharan there will be sliding doors in the back. They will be operated electrically in the top of the line model and for the standard versions they will be available as an option. The concept of the sliding doors will be adapted from the VW T5 models and will suit the Sharan well. Practically a "must have" feature these days, a third seat row can be stored completely in the floor, like the Opel Zafira. All engines will come from the Passat line up with the 140 bhp TDI probably as the bestseller, 4-motion will also be available as an option. The photos are showing: 1 computer image showing how the new Sharan is expected to look like upon its release, and two shots of an early prototype mule during cold weather testing in Scandinavia.

Be part of something big

SPY PHOTOS: VW Sharan Next Generation