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Renault Espace: Space and agility

Change completely

Now in its sixth generation, the Renault Espace it is a five or seven-seater SUV (the two versions are offered at the same price) which definitively abandons the minivan-type bodywork. It is in fact built on the basis of the recent Renault Austral medium crossover, compared to which it is 21 cm longer (for a total of 472) and has a wheelbase 7 cm longer (274 in total). Seen from the side, it has a mighty look, also thanks to the fenders furrowed by evident ribs. While the high front is characterized by full LED headlights with “C” daytime running lights, like many other models of the French house. The differences compared to the Austral concern the rear: massive, it has a much more pronounced overhang, and the almost completely vertical rear window. Behind, the LED lights “embrace” the logo and the name of the car, extending almost the entire width of the tailgate.

Five or seven seater

The cockpit of the Renault Espace it is very spacious, with roomy storage compartments (a pity that the anti-noise lining is missing), and a convenient wireless charging plate for smartphones, in the heart of the central console. There are also several USB-C charging sockets for mobile devices. However, it is not convincingergonomics of some commands, such as the robotized gear lever: there is a risk of confusing it with that of the “wipers”, next to the steering column. The trunk of the five-seater goes from 581 to 1818 liters by breaking down the sofa, always sliding and divided 60:40, with a large excursion: it can go forward or backward by 22 cm to offer passengers more comfort. The seven-seater adds two third row seats: accessing it is relatively easy and, once in position, there are enough centimeters for the head. It’s a different matter for the legs: the two seats are only suitable for short trips for adults. Those who don’t want to use them can easily fold them away in the boot floor. But their bulk subtracts a hundred liters from the load capacity. All, however, have a motorized tailgate.

Multimedia not bad

Between assistance and comfort, technology is one of the strengths of the Renault Espace. The driver-car interaction takes place via the digital dashboard screen (12.3”) and that of the 12” vertical touchscreen multimedia system, which is intuitive and responds quickly to commands: the integration with Google is convenient. However, further apps can be downloaded via the infotainment, which is connected and can be updated remotely. In terms of assistance to those behind the wheel, we find all the systems useful for level 2 semi-autonomous driving. Three trim levels: Techno, Esprit Alpine and Iconic. To the already good basic equipment, the Iconic of the test adds adaptive cruise control, electrically adjustable leather seats and cameras with a view all around.

The shot is there

The new Renault Espace it is offered, at least initially, only as a variant full hybrid da 199 CV combined and with front-wheel drive. The 130 bhp 1.2 three-cylinder turbo petrol is combined with two electric motors. The first, with 70 HP, is powered by a 2 kWh battery: it works either with the internal combustion engine or autonomously, so as to move the car by itself for short distances. The second, 25 HP, starts the petrol engine and synchronizes the gear engagements of the robotic gearbox, with a particular technology: the three-cylinder is associated with four gearbox ratios, while the other two are dedicated to the main electric motor. The guide is pleasant, with quick and precise response to steering wheel commands (an important role in this regard is played by the rear axle steering). When starting off or picking up from low speed, the electric motor reacts promptly; and, when both engines are active, the thrust is vigorous (but not as much as we would have expected from 199 hp). Homogeneous braking, which does not feel the transition from the regenerative phase.

Little thirst

The change it doesn’t always shine for fluidity, especially in brilliant driving. And the transmission gives a feeling of “long relationships”. This limit is lessened with the Sport mode: the other two are Eco and Comfort, all selectable with the button under the right spoke of the steering wheel. To save on petrol and to pollute less, you need to keep the battery charged. Perhaps increasing the effect of regenerative braking on a four-level scale: a valuable function even in heavy traffic, where you can move almost without pressing the brakes. In fact, especially at low speeds, you often travel by current, while the 1.2 is activated at speed or to recharge the battery (which also regenerates when braking). In the test, carried out in and outside the city, the on-board computer indicated a consumption of around 17 km/l. Not bad.

Well maneuvered

In relation to the dimensions, the Renault Espace It also maneuvers well in the city, thanks to the small turning radius and the work of 360° cameras and parking sensors. Four-wheel steering (“4Control”) helps, which increases handling. Below 50 km/h, the rear axle (with multilink suspension) rotates up to 5° in the opposite direction to the front wheels: reduces more than a meter turning diameter (10.4 meters versus 11.6). To be clear, like the compact Clio. Thus, she always moves in it with ease. On very damaged asphalt, some vibrations are felt, but otherwise the soundproofing is taken care of: the aerodynamic hisses and rumble due to the rolling of the tires on the asphalt are not annoying.

In our opinion


> Agility. Always manageable car, thanks also to the steering rear axle.
> Multimedia system. Feature-rich and intuitive.
> Space. The passenger compartment is large and the trunk roomy (that of the five-seater even more).


> Trunk. By moving the sofa forward, a “hole” is created where small objects can slide.
> Change. The gear changes are a bit slow in decisive driving.
> He took it off. Those on the right side of the steering wheel column are impractical.

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