The Renault Espace has always been a car associated with ferrying people, dogs and grand pianos around the country. After all, Renault was the company that invented the MPV. But until last year, we hadn’t heard much about the Espace. Now the car is back (albeit not in the UK) with a beautiful new exterior ready to take on the market once more.
But things aren’t quite what they once were in the MPV market. Over recent years, sales have been dwindling. And it’s been tough for manufacturers looking to make a return in the sector. Long gone are the days when there was a Picasso or a Grand Voyager sitting on every other drive. It’s a very different world today. Big car tastes have changed, primarily because of the rise of SUVs and crossovers. So how has Renault responded?
It’s been a while since the last iteration of the Espace. Renault stopped making the model back in 2011. But they saw that it continued to be popular on the second-hand market, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. So they put their heads together and tried to come up with an MPV that was suitable for 2015. By and large, they seem to have managed it.
The biggest draw of the car is the fact that it natively seats seven people. This is important. So many parents are looking for a car that will ferry them, their kids, and their kid’s friends all at once. And the Espace, as its name implies, has the space to do this. A Range Rover Evoque simply isn’t able to do this.
But Renault is keenly aware that tastes have changed. And that might explain some of the exterior design choices that the company has made. Gone are the ugly looks of past MPVs. The 2015 Espace is a car that looks a heck of a lot like most of the crossovers we see on the market today. It’s got that compact, stylish, do-anything stance going on. In fact, it has more similarities with a hot hatch than it does with the MPVs of yesteryear.
But here’s where things get interesting. Though it looks as if it’s been made smaller, the new Espace is actually bigger than its predecessors. The 2003 Grand Espace, for instance, was a touch over 4.67 metres in length. The new model is 19 cm longer, or nearly half a foot. So it’s clear that Renault is doing all they can to make the car appeal on a practical level.
Renault has also done as much as it can to make owning the car a breeze. Parts are available from a network of garages, like Just Renaults. And unlike previous models, mileage is decent at 61 mpg, and CO2 levels relatively low.
So are there any downsides to this car? Not with the vehicle itself. The whole package works very well for those who want an MPV. The problem with this car is that it may no longer be relevant. Is the MPV category still something that consumers want? Or are they now so in love with SUVs, they’ll never go back?
**This is a collaborative post