There's a whole class of small minivans over in Europe that we miss out on here in the US. Ford's got the great new S-Max, and Volkswagen's working on bringing a new version of its Sharan to market.

AutoExpress managaed to nab a new Sharan, due by the end of 2008, with one of its long lenses. These people movers are a smaller alternative for folks who need flexibility and utility coupled with an easy-driving, carlike demeanor. They'd slot nicely into the strata of the US marketplace under the ever-larger minivans we have on offer now. VW's got some catching up to the S-Max to do with their new Sharan.

For the current version of the MPV, VW and Ford teamed up to produce the Galaxy and Sharan models together in Portugal. By resting on its laurels, Volkswagen has been left in the dust while everyone else updated and refined their MPV offerings. Ford, for its part, has since brought out the S-Max and a new version of the Galaxy. Underpinning the Sharan is an adaptation of the Passat platform, and the MPV offers the same powertrain options as the Passat, as well.

[Source: AutoExpress]