Espace Starts Renault's Upper-Range Revival
9 Mai 2015 - Automotive News
The new Renault Espace starts the renewal of the automaker’s upper range where the brand trails rivals such as Volkswagen, Ford and Opel.
The success of the minivan, along with the upcoming replacements for the Laguna/Latitude sedans and Koleos SUV, is key for Renault as it seeks to improve profitability by selling higher-margin vehicles.
“The Espace will showcase the brand’s quality improvement and will improve the brand image,” CEO Carlos Ghosn told analysts earlier this year. Renault hopes that a sleek crossover-like design, a significant leap in quality and advanced driver aids will help boost sales of the fifth-generation Espace. Renault said the model has undergone a perceptible upmarket shift, helped by the use of high-grade materials such as chrome and soft-touch plastics.
The automaker’s industrial partner, Daimler, provided feedback on production process quality. “We paid a lot of attention to the design, driving experience and comfort so that the Espace can compete head-to-head against crossovers and large minivans, even in the premium space,” said Matthieu Benard, senior brand manager for Renault’s midsize and large models.
Thanks to a new platform and lightweight materials such as aluminum doors and hood, the Espace is 250kg lighter than the fourth-generation Grand Espace and its engines are up to 20 percent more fuel efficient, Renault says. The minivan also has a roomier cabin after its wheelbase was extended by 16mm compared with the current Grand Espace. Its ground clearance has increased by 40mm to 160mm. Renault drops the Grand Espace name for the seven-seat version. The five- and seven-seat variants of the new-generation model will be called the Espace. The Espace will be offered with the brand’s upscale Initiale Paris trim line. The Initiale Paris version of the Espace starts at 44,800 euros in France, about 10,000 euros more than the base model.
Connectivity: The new Espace's 8.7-inch vertically mounted touchscreen is a segment first, the automaker says. It offers the driver a computer tablet-like experience.
Equipment: The new Espace is easier to steer after Renault combined its 4Control system with electronic damping for the first time. The 4Control turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels to allow more stable cornering while the electronic damper control ensures effective road holding.
What's good: The individual seats in the two back rows disappear completely into the floor. The second row has three individual seats.
Launch date: April
Base price: 34,200 euros (France)
Where built: Douai, France
Platform: CMF C/D
Lowest CO2 emissions: 116g/km
Main rivals: Volkswagen Sharan, Ford S-Max