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New Renault Espace shows MPVs can be desirable

Why are we calling the new Renault Espace desirable? Because it’s undergone a major transformation from unsightly family wagon to something we could cope with on our drive.

Renault has used the Initiale Paris Concept from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show as inspiration. It’s still designed to take you, the family and luggage from A to B with plenty of space, but there are now crossover elements with a hint of sportiness to make it more appealing.

‘Extensive work’ to shed 250kg of weight over its predecessor has been made. The Espace is the first model to make use of the Common Module Platform (CMF).

Regardless of whether you go for the five or seven-seater, it measures 4.85 metres long, 1.87 metres wide and 1.68 metres tall (63mm lower and 40mm more ground clearance than the old Espace). The wheelbase is 2.88 metres ─ 16mm longer than the Grand Espace.

Full LED headlights are standard. Alloy wheels range from 17- to 20-inches, depending on how much of a statement you want to make at the school gates. A panoramic roof is available for making the most of sunny weather.

Four trim decors are available, all of which compliment the rather impressive, simple ‘floating console’. In the middle is an 8.7-inch R-Like 2 infotainment system for all your in-car electronic needs, while the dials are taken care of by a TFT display.

There are three turbocharged engines available. A 160hp 1.6-litre Energy dCi EDC with Twin Turbo technology that outputs 380Nm of torque, 130hp 1.6-litre dCi with 320Nm and a 200hp 1.6-litre TCe EDC with 260Nm. No word on efficiency just yet.

Before you get too attached, Renault said it ‘will not be sold in the UK’ because the platform that underpins prohibits a right-hand-drive conversion. Shame really, because crossovers are all the rage these days and the new Espace looks great.

New Renault Espace pictures