The replacement for the Espace large minivan will an SUV-styled crossover, according to Renault design chief, Laurens van den Acker. Moreover, he added that the Espace successor will combine minivan and SUV characteristics as it needs to be more relevant on the market. Apparently, this move is made because people are more attracted by SUVs and high driving positions and these customers are switching from minivans and hatchbacks to crossover models.
For those who don’t know, the first-generation Espace opened the minivan segment back in 1984 but times changed since then and the current model is not quite a best seller. Renault managed to sell only 3,014 units of the Espace in Europe in the first four months of 2013 and sales are down 35 percent from the same period last year.
The French manufacturer will show a concept version of the new Espace at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and the new model is expected to come with high-end features. According to Renault concept car director, Axel Breun, the new Espace will not have a brutal design as the cars we see today.
Last month, Renault announce that it will invest 420 million euros to build the Espace and the next Laguna at its factory in Douai, northern France.
New Espace will be built on the new CFM1 modular platform developed by Renault and Nissan and the production is expected to begin next year. Furthermore, Renault is also planning to introduce the Espace in China, where it will join the Koleos compact SUV, Laguna, Megane, Fluence and Scenic.
There are many reasons why the Renault Espace continues to experience success. These include, among others, a modular configuration, large amount of cabin space offered, exceptional visibility, and comfort at a level occupants will truly love. As such, the brand made sure that everything would still be present in the new Espace.
Indeed, Renault’s latest offering to the MPV segment has a cabin that is truly occupant-friendly. There are seven real seats and because of the sunroof having a large opening, the interior is bright. One interesting feature for this latest version is that the upholstery makes use of a pioneering textile that is able to repel water and even some types of oil-based liquids.
Known as the Teflon Automotive High Protection textile, Renault will be the first automaker to utilize such a material. In addition to protecting the individual fibers, the textile does so without affecting the feel, comfort, or even appearance. With this particular innovation, family vehicles are guaranteed to prevent any stains from hardening.
This also allows cleaning to be expedited and thus maintain that “new” feel. Another feature is the reversing camera which helps parking and maneuvering of the Espace. This is done through the screen of the navigation system which has been placed high and in the center of the dashboard. A color image is displayed on this screen and with the graphic overlay of this model’s volume, the driver is able to get access to the precise indications.