The first generation Volkswagen Sharan was rebranded in 1996 as the SEAT Alhambra. The kinds of VW Sharan sold at this time were produced in the AutoEuropa, a plant located in Portugal. Greg M. Greeson was the first designer of the VW Sharan, and worked for the Duessefldorf, Germany Advanced Design Studio of the company between 1989 until 1990. The Sharan is distributed in South Africa, Europe, and several Latin American and Asia-Pacific countries. This Volkswagen model is not distributed or sold in Canada or the United States.
The Sharan’s original model was released in 1995. Five engine choices were available for buyers: 110kW (150 PS, 148 hp) at 6000 rpm, 85kW (116 PS, 114 hp) at 5000 rpm, 66kW (90 PS, 89 hp) at 4000 rpm, 81 kW (110 PS, 109 hp) at 4150 rpm, and 129 kW (174 PS, 172 hp) at 5800 rpm. The models from 1997 to 203 ranged from the 1.8T, 2.0, 2.8 VR6, and 1.9TDI. Some of the awards that the Sharan garnered are the Best People Carrier from Top Gear Magazine, Best People Carrier from the Auto Express Awards, What Car Awards, and Top Gear Magazine Top Cars. These awards were accepted from 1996 to 1999.
In 200, the Sharan was given a major renovation. The wheelbase was extended by 6mm, and the front and rear track increased. These features assured the model of that classic Volkswagen family look most buyers were after.