Volkswagen has launched a replacement for its ageing Sharan MPV at the Geneva motor show - and insiders have admitted the car is two years later than originally planned after the initial design was canned by company boss Martin Winterkorn.

The current Sharan has been around since 1995 and the new model will be the first car to be built on VW’s new, flexible MQB platform. It is 220mm longer, 92mm wider and 12mm lower than the outgoing model, but it weighs 30kg less than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been extended by 75mm, which has boosted interior space.

See the VW Sharan pics

The new Sharan keeps its rear sliding doors and the third row of seats can be moved back and forth 160mm to accommodate both adults and children. Both the second and third row of seats fold flat.

Styling mirrors that of VW’s other recently-introduced models, including the front-end seen on the new Golf, Polo and Touareg models.

Two petrol and two diesel engines are available from launch - a 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI which has 38.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 172g/km, a 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol which has 32.8mpg and 201g/km and two 2.0-litre TDI units, available with either 138bhp or 168bhp.

The new Sharan is expected to go on sale in the UK from October priced between £23,000 and £33,000.

It is the sister car to the Seat Alhambra, a new version of which is expected to be launched shortly after the Sharan.

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