Renault reboots Espace with crossover leanings

  • 15-Oct-2014 12:40 EDT
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Espace is based closely on the Initiale concept shown at Frankfurt in 2013

It is 30 years since Renault invented the large European MPV with the original five or seven-seat Espace. The latest Espace, launched at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, revealed a departure from traditional monospace MPV design with a crossover format, claims the company, based closely on the Initiale concept shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show a year ago. The interior is more conventional than the Initiale’s without the suspended seats and aircraft-style console but with conventional folding seats for five or seven instead.

Features include four-wheel steering, standard LED lighting, lightweight construction, a choice of turbocharged 1.6-L engines, and a choice of twin-clutch automated or manual transmissions, depending on engine.

The new Espace is available in a single length of 4850 mm (190.9 in) for both five- and seven-seat versions, is 1870 mm (73.6 in) wide, and stands 1680 mm (66.1 in) tall—some 63 mm (2.5 in) lower than the current model. The 2880-mm (113.4-in) wheelbase is some 16 mm (0.6 in) longer than the current Grand Espace. Renault quotes a Cd figure of 0.30.

It is the first Renault to use the company’s Common Module Family (CMF) platform, which will be shared by other models yet to appear. The car is said to be up to 250 kg (550 lb) lighter than the current Grand Espace, and this savings is split evenly between the body, chassis, powertrain, and equipment.

Part of this weight saving is attributed to the use of materials such as aluminum for the doors and hood. The front wings are constructed from Noryl plastic, while the tailgate is made from thermoplastic material. Hot stamping is also used to produce high strength, but relatively low weight steel for the body structure.

Downsized engines have helped to reduce fuel consumption. Renault will offer three 1.6-L engines, one gasoline and two diesels, all from the current Renault range.

The most powerful diesel delivers 160 hp (119 kW), with 380 N·m (280 lb·ft) of torque available from 1750 rpm, using twin sequential turbochargers and common-rail fuel injection operating at pressures up to 1800 bar (26.1 ksi). This engine used with a six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. A lower rated version of the engine produces 130 hp (97 kW) and 320 N·m (236 lb·ft) from 1750 rpm and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

The gasoline alternative is Renault’s Energy TCe 200 EDC engine producing 200 hp (149 kW) and 260 N·m (192 lb·ft) from 2500 rpm. This engine transmits drive through a new close-ratio seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. All engines are equipped with automatic stop/start as standard.

The Espace is equipped with Renault’s Multi-Sense system that controls and coordinates the systems for the four-wheel steering, electronic damper control, steering, engine, and automated transmission. Drivers can choose between four modes: Eco, Comfort, Neutral, and Sport. There is also a Perso mode for driver’s who wish to adjust the parameters individually for themselves.

Available driver-assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition, and blind-spot alert.

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