Automotive Intelligence - the web for automotive professionals and car enthusiasts
May 27, 2009
The travelling experience is enhanced by a total glazed area of almost 2.2 square metres, an electric panoramic opening sunroof equipped with electrically-operated blind, and one of the market's most efficient climate control systems – including sunshine, temperature and toxicity (NOx/CO) sensors - which is effective even for the rearmost seats, plus a 4x30W radio-CD with MP3 compatibility and eight loudspeakers.
Order books for Renault Espace '25th' opened on April 27, with prices starting from €35,350 and a choice of three powertrains (dCi 130, dCi 150 DPF and dCi 150 DPF with automatic transmission). For the same level of performance, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have decreased slightly by 0.1 litres/100km and 3g/km respectively.
25 years of Espace: a segment founded on a unique saga
Espace was developed in association with Matra Automobile and hailed as a revolutionary model in its day. Launched in July 1984, it featured composite bodywork and inaugurated the MPV concept in Europe. It was initially only available with a single petrol engine, but the range was gradually expanded to incorporate a choice of petrol and diesel engines. It sat up to seven occupants in remarkable comfort and boasted an extraordinary choice of interior arrangements thanks to its forward-tipping, folding, removable rear seats which incorporated their own seatbelt lap-strap.
The swivelling front seats also enabled owners to convert the cabin into a 'lounge' arrangement as and when required. The introduction of a facelift in 1988 coincided with the release of the all-wheel drive Quadra version. Almost 192,000 Espace Is were sold in total.
In February 1991, the second generation version featured more rounded lines and an even more modular interior thanks to its articulated, sliding rear seats. In 1994, to mark both the 10th anniversary of Renault's collaboration with Matra and the brand's success in Formula 1 as engine supplier, Renault came out with an exceptional demonstration vehicle – Espace F1 – which was powered by the RS5 V10 F1 engine. Like all high-end models, the Espace II range included the availability of a V6 powerplant mated to automatic transmission. Up to 1997, almost 320,000 Espace IIs were sold, and the 500,000th Espace since the start of production in 1984 rolled off the line in 1996. At the same time, the segment began to see the arrival of an increasing number of direct rivals.
The third-generation Espace was launched at the end of 1996. Not only was this newcomer bigger than its predecessor, but an even longer version (+27cm) was released two years later. Modern styling, the quality of its fit and finish and materials, the availability of a new range of powertrains and the concept's maturity – including a dashboard with a central digital display – made sure that Espace maintained its high-end status. More than 365,000 Espace IIIs were produced in total.
In September 2002, Espace IV switched to steel bodywork, with the line-up now including both petrol and diesel V6 engines, a unique step for the segment. All the rear seats now benefit from integrated three-point inertia-reel seatbelts and are mounted on rails to allow owners to position them as required. Espace IV was the first vehicle of its class to obtain a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating. As with the previous-generation version, it has proved an immense hit with customers on all the markets where it is sold, a long way ahead of the competition which has become extremely diversified. Since January 1, 2008, Espace comes with the same warranty as all Renault's high-end models, namely 36 months or 150,000km.
To date, more than 1.2 million Espaces have been sold in more than 60 countries across the globe.
(May 21, 2009)