The Renault Espace becomes the Espuv
Ahen off-road vehicles were still called Jeeps and sports cars were still called Porsches, so the world seemed a little more organized, a certain Chrysler Voyager set out to conquer families in North America. And the Renault Espace the in Europe. The minivan generation was born, in the case of the French in 1984 a rectangular hut of mobile simplicity, inside around the six seats as empty as the state budget, so that all the school bags and footballs and backpacks could simply be thrown in. Renault already mastered the ingenious reduction to the essentials in the R4, in the first Twingo, also in the first Kangoo. For the edition of the sixth generation one could have hoped for a minibus, in terms of the idea about how VW is trying to establish the T7.
Renault, however, introduces sober numbers. In the relevant segment D, 53 percent of customers currently choose an SUV, and only four percent choose what is called a monospace in French. And so the new Espace becomes an SUV. Nothing remains but the name. In terms of talent, a larger Austral is emerging, still struggling a little with its notoriety, in the region of the VW Tiguan but more accessible than one would expect at first glance. That’s why the Espace can be granted a similarly pleasant appearance on the road, Renault initially showed it statically.
More compact, lighter, more convenient
The new Espace announced for spring 2024 is 4.72 meters long and therefore noticeably more compact and lighter than its predecessor. In the back row fellow passengers sat uncomfortably, that will be better in the future. There’s seating for up to seven, with the rearmost two being cramped spots of dark existence for the short haul. As usual, the family remains in view, they can move the back seat by 20 centimeters and thus create space for suitcases or feet, up to 1800 liters of luggage should fit in over the high-acting loading sill.
A three-cylinder petrol engine is used as the drive, diesel is no longer available. The turbo engine has a displacement of 1.2 liters, these are key figures that take us back to the days of the R4. Here, however, two electric motors rush to the rescue, a powerful main unit and a gentle starter generator. In the ensemble they conjure up 199 hp system performance, which is used for a top speed of 175 km/h. The standard consumption is 4.7 liters, which will hardly be reached.
Of course, the full hybrid allows short distances of electric driving, probably even some of them in the city, and it also appeals to those who don’t have charging facilities at home because they don’t need them. The designers have dispensed with all-wheel drive, but for the purpose of better juggling in the urban jungle, all-wheel steering with a multi-link axle is available as an option.
In tune with the times and the zeitgeist
Inside, the new Espace looks like all Renaults these days, solid with no surprises. The powerful center console offers many storage options, but builds driver and front passenger. The steering wheel, which is overloaded with operating satellites, takes some getting used to, the real head-up display is just as pleasing as the large panoramic glass roof.
Friends of the Espace who have read this far should perhaps sit down and let the new concept sink in. He disappears in the crowd, has become remarkably random in appearance and certainly not an outburst of lust from design boss Laurens van den Acker. But up to date and up to date. Anyone who asks where the character actors are, says company boss Fabrice Cambolive: “We build cars that we can sell.” The pragmatism is understandable given the almost bankruptcy that Renault faced not too long ago. But does he carry a smile into the future? To the consolation and happiness of the car enthusiast, there will soon be the reinterpretations of the R5 and R4, prepared in a modern way, yes, but with a DNA of the gendarme of St Tropez that charmingly defies sober accounts.