2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Renault has redesigned the fourth generation of the Espace. However, the great father of all vans has undergone a change within the target group 22 years after its first introduction.
By Thomas Flehmer
Renault tries to build on old times with the Espace. With a facelift within the fourth generation since its market launch in 1984, the founder of the van segment is set to repeat the successes of its predecessors. The Espace was victorious in its class eleven times in Germany, and in the early years it fought for dominance in this segment with the then only competitor Mitsubishi Space Wagon, like Dynamo Berlin and Dynamo Weißwasser for the ice hockey championship in the GDR.
Top position in Europe
But since the competition in the nineties threw the Ford Galaxy or the VW Sharan based on the same platform into the race, it has been much more difficult for Espace in Germany. 6500 copies and thus around ten percent were sold in Germany in 2005 and thus occupied third place in the ailing van segment behind the above two competitors. Renault wants to create these numbers again this year.
The Espace still defends its top position in Europe with a market share of 18.4 percent. 450,000 units are to follow by 2009 and continue the success of the MPV, which has been sold 1.1 million times worldwide.
The target groups of the Ur-Anhn have changed over the past 22 years. Since the then much more angular Espace was mainly designed for families with several children, the French manufacturer's main focus is on the corporate sector. "Business people make up about 65 percent of sales," says Renault Product Manager Caroline Ingargiola.
So the visible innovations remained in a manageable size. Narrower bumpers, the headlights have been redesigned and the radiator grille has only two instead of three slats. More subtle - trendy - colors, as well as light metal rims and cornering lights were added.
The innovations in the interior are all the more striking. Here, too, subtle colors predominate with dark anthracite and, depending on the equipment variant, light gray or beige. The center console is also tidy.
If you are looking for buttons or switches, you have to direct your view towards the window front to the on-board computer or to the side to the ventilation options located in the armrest of the driver's or passenger door. A bit of getting used to, but stylish.
Largest panorama roof in the segment
A panoramic roof provides plenty of light for an additional 1600 euros. With a total area of 2.16 square meters, it is the “largest panorama roof in the segment”, says Ingargiola. People who are shy of light can pull up a blind at the push of a button. Otherwise, passengers in the rear can enjoy the view.
Not too long, though. Since the floor pan of the optional seven-seater continues to rise, adult, not necessarily long, passengers sit in the back quite uncomfortably. On the one hand, the seat pad in the back row is quite small, on the other hand, the legs cannot be stretched out.
Many seat variations
For business people irrelevant, as they appreciate the flat loading area all the more. Families, on the other hand, should only let the smaller children sit on the seats, which can be easily moved and expanded on the rail system.
Then you have up to 2860 liters of luggage space available. If the 20 centimeter longer Grand Espace is chosen, the volume increases to 3050 liters. Even with seven seats, the larger version has 456 liters and the normal version 291 liters.
New engines convince
There are no complaints about the engine selection either. Around three quarters of all buyers choose a diesel variant. You can choose from five models. The showpieces are the new 2.0 dCi common rail diesels with 110 kW / 150 PS and 127 kW / 173 PS, which already celebrated their premiere in the Laguna. During the test drives, both units impressed in terms of power conversion and volume.
Equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the two-tonne truck, whose 360 Newton meters are already present at 1750 rpm on the 173-hp engine, can reach 100 km / h in less than ten seconds. According to Renault, the consumption averages 7.6 liters. Even with brisk driving style on the test tracks, consumption remained below nine liters. A 3.0 six-cylinder engine with 181 hp will follow in the middle of the year. The fact that a particulate filter is just as standard as five stars on a Renault in the NCAP crash test is now part of the self-image of the French if you ignore the Dacia Logan.
Entry from just under 26,000 euros
With age, the price of luxury vans has risen further, albeit only slightly. The entry-level version of the 2.0-liter gasoline engine with the “Authentique” equipment variant costs 25,900 euros, the diesel starts at 28,050 euros. The targeted high-volume models with the 2.0 diesel engines are available in the «Privilege» equipment variant from 36,400 euros for the small machine or from 37,500 euros for the diesel with 173 hp.
The Grand Espace costs 1500 euros extra each. Anyone who orders the 3.5 six-cylinder in the «Initiale» comfort level has to pay 47,300 euros. But then you really belong to the upper class.
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