Renault Espace is one of the most legendary models of this manufacturer. Espace used to be a minivan, a kind of synonym for class, but its transformation began in the last generation. First, it became a kind of SUV crossover, and in this latest version, it became a typical large SUV. What happened to Espace well illustrates the changes in the entire automotive industry, where SUVs in their quest “devour” entire classes that disappear because of them.
In the latest generation, the Espace has lost part of its independence because it is actually a kind of “big Austral”, but it still remains, on the one hand, the largest and most impressive Renault, and on the other hand, the most practical and spacious car of this manufacturer. Only now it is a typical SUV, and the former minivan genes have completely disappeared.
Enlarging a certain SUV and making it more spacious is always a difficult task for designers, so the Espce is definitely not as attractive as the Austral. The design of the front end is slightly toned down compared to the Austral although the cars still share most of the main design features, from the side the Espace is not as elegant, and the same goes for the rear. Perhaps its appearance, in our opinion, is not as good as that of the Austral, but the Espace is still an impressive sight on the roads, a more impressive large SUV.
In the interior, practically everything is taken from the Austral, but that’s not bad at all. The Espace thus takes over the extremely appealing interior design and top-notch functional elements that previously delighted us in the Austral. We have already praised the digital instruments, with reason, they are rich, clear, highly customizable and have excellent graphics. Infotainment on the centrally placed vertical “crystal resolution” screen is powered by Google technology. Everything works well, smoothly and quickly, it is easy to use, and welcome additions are the excellent and always reliable Google Maps navigation as well as other services such as Google Assistant voice control and the Google Play application store where you can download additional applications adapted for this car.
What doesn’t have much to do with Austral is the offer of space, which is simply – sumptuous. In this way, Espace is almost fully worthy of its name (Espace translated from French means – space) and heritage. There are plenty of seats in the second row, and there is also a third row that brings the total number of seats in the car to seven. It is interesting and commendable that Renault does not ask for any surcharge for seven seats, they are standard, and optionally it is possible to get a version with five seats and a trunk with a trunk of about 100 liters, all this also without a surcharge.
The offer of space in the third row is solid for people up to 180 cm tall, but those two additional seats are not a special solution for adult passengers on longer distances. This is mostly the case with all cars that offer a third row of seats. The trunk is the main reason why we previously stated that it is the new espace almost fully worthy of its name. Namely, when all the seats are in use, its volume is 159 liters, and when the third row of seats is folded, the volume is 477 liters. It’s still quite a large trunk, but the former Espaces were noticeably better.
As for the general impression of the interior, the Espace deserves a “pure five”. The materials seem premium, everything is very well made, the front seats are extremely comfortable. The “bunch” of equipment in the tested car with the richest Iconic package also contributes to the excellent rating. The seats, for example, have massage and are covered in leather, there is also a large panoramic sunroof and plenty of other equipment, a detailed list of which can be found at the bottom of this article.
The drive of the tested Espace is the only drive that is currently offered for this car. He also comes from Australia. It is a hybrid system based on a three-cylinder gasoline engine with a turbo and an intercooler that develops 130 HP, and the total power of the system is 200 HP. Renault decided to take a different approach from the competition and constructed a complex but very innovative and good hybrid system with two electric motors (one starter generator and one for drive) and a complicated gearbox without clutch and synchromesh that has a bunch of two-speed modes for the electric motor and five for gasoline.
The most important thing is that this complex drive system is very efficient when it comes to fuel consumption. In our test, it was only 5.9 l/100 km on average. In the city, it is possible to lower it to under five liters per 100 km, and on the highway it does not “go wild” like some hybrids, and with an average driving speed of about 130 km/h, it mostly stays around 7 l/100 km. The drive works quite smoothly, and when driving more aggressively, they can disturb a little longer pauses between switching certain gears. With moderate driving, you will enjoy the quiet and harmonious operation of the drive, which is able to cover 80 percent of the city’s sections on electricity, which is an additional plus for the silence in the interior and, consequently, overall comfort. The only major objection to the drive is the speed limit to 175 km/h. Very little for a 200 HP car. Accelerations, on the other hand, are very good. The car reaches 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds.
The suspension is, as expected for this type of car, a little softer than average and designed primarily for comfort. But that doesn’t mean that the Espace isn’t capable of more lively cornering. The tilting of the body is minimal, and a big plus for driving dynamics is the 4Control advanced steering system on all wheels, which enables more precise control and more sovereign, faster cornering. This system has another big plus. Namely, at low speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front, which reduces the turning circle by 1.3 meters, almost to the level of a city car. Very practical when maneuvering and parking.
The Espace is currently the largest and most impressive car that Renault offers. It is no longer a minivan, but it is still quite practical and spacious and is an excellent solution for large families and those who want more space than in the Austral. If that is not so important to you, Austral is certainly a slightly cheaper and perhaps more attractive alternative.
The trunk could be bigger
The gearbox is slow in some situations
Low maximum speed
FACTORY TECHNICAL DATA:
time: 1559 kg
dimensions: 472 x 184 x 165 cm
engine volume: 1199 cc
system power: 147 kW/200 hp
0-100 km/h: 8,8 s
maximum speed: 175 km/h
consumption: 4.7 l/100 km
price: €51,870 (test model), €47,790 (without additional equipment), €42,290 (basic Espace)
More important equipment tested Renault Espace Iconic E-Tech Full Hybrid 200
Alloy wheels 20″, LED Matrix lights, automatic dual-zone climate control, digital instruments 12.3″, touch screen 12″, navigation, electrically adjustable and heated front seats with massage function, seats upholstered in leather, heated steering wheel, heated windshield, camera system for 360-degree parking, front and rear parking sensors, ambient lighting, Harman Kardon premium audio system, panoramic sunroof…