For a car maker, the ideal way forward as a business is to diversify into as many segments and vehicle types as possible using as few platforms and powertrain packages as possible. This is called economies of scale and it reduces overheads and makes increased profit more likely. While choice is great, endless options present their own problems. But in some cases the total sum might just outstrip the sum of its parts. The VW Sharan is a fine example of that.
It’s an MPV – ho hum. But one with the engine of a Golf GTI – okay, now you’re talking! Admittedly it’s slightly detuned and loses 10bhp from the GTI’s 197bhp, but it still hits the 280Nm of torque mark and is paired with a 6-speed DSG box, which makes this people carrier something worth watching once the traffic light turns green. The Sharan takes 8.3 seconds to do the century sprint – just 0.3 seconds slower than a Golf TSI and just as fast as the Jetta TSI. Incredibly, with its 1838kg kerb weight, the Sharan is significantly 421kg heavier than the Jetta.
The Sharan holds seven occupants comfortably, each with access to independent seats that are free to move and adjust. As a family vehicle, young children enjoy a special seat behind the front passenger – a headrest with protruding side flanks help to protect the child should a side impact happen while the booster seat function saves a parent the trouble of lugging along a safety seat.
Access to the third row is easy in terms of mechanism and space – pull the lever and the seat moves and tips forward so much that any occupants of average build won’t have any problem walking in. Both sliding doors are electrically operated; opening and closing them are done via buttons at the B-pillars which are also available for the driver.
You won’t find fault in how the Sharan rides too; for something this tall it does a commendable job of keeping the frame from swaying in the corners. That’s not to say it’s stiff either, there’s enough give in the dampers to provide a supple ride with only a hint of harshness. You won’t find it any less comfortable than any MPV in this category or price bracket.
The Sharan’s highlight though is its Park Assist feature. Push a button and the car’s sensors will try and find a large enough space to park as you drive around. Once it does, it will prompt the driver to engage Reverse (or Drive) and the steering effort is managed by the system. All the driver has to do is control the pedals and change gears as prompted. It isn’t the first time the technology has been made available but this is certainly the first Park Assist function that does parallel and reverse parking. The steering is also connected to a self-correcting mechanism which is activated if the vehicle strays too outside of the painted road lines.
The premise of the Sharan may sound strange to MPV users and VW fans alike, getting GTI power to move an MPV in this case actually turns out to be absolutely the right call.
Engine Inline 4, 16v, 1984cc, turbocharged
Transmission 6-speed DSG
Max power 200bhp @ 5100rpm
Max torque 280Nm @ 1700-5000rpm
0-100kmh 8.3 s
Price RM245,888 (base, OTR w/o insurance)
On sale Now
+ Drivetrain, Park Assist