Renault does not compete in Australia’s small (but growing) people-mover market, but if it did, this fifth-generation Espace caught testing by our spy snappers in Europe would be poised to serve as a range headliner.
Set to premiere at the Paris motor show in October this year, the full-sized French family hauler will take inspiration from the purple-hued Initiale Paris concept that premiered last September in Frankfurt, albeit in toned-down form.
Designed to put some sex appeal into the people-mover space, alongside the Grand C4 Picasso from fellow French brand Citroen, the new Espace clearly features a sleek profile for this type of vehicle, and an aggressive nose design with the signature Renault ‘lozenge’ front-and-centre.
The camouflaged car featured in the image retains other elements of the Initiale’s frontal design, including narrow A-pillars with a large glasshouse that will no doubt improve forward vision.
As we reported in May last year, the next-generation Espace could also be made available in high-riding ‘crossover’ guise, increasing outward visibility even more. Such a proposition would further blur the lines between MPV and SUV.
The Espace will be the first Renault built on the company’s new CFM1 modular platform, to be shared with future Nissan product. CFM1 will be similar in its approach to Volkswagen’s MQB platform in its modularity and scope.
Renault’s CFM1 will likely also form the basis of the next-generation Latitude/Laguna and Koleos, among other models. Turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will feature across the line-up.
Renault Australia has stated in the past that it will assess the possibility of launching the Espace locally, despite the car being pitched primarily at the European market.
People-movers own just one per cent of Australia’s new vehicle market, despite posting 30 per cent growth this year on the back of new players such as the Honda Odyssey and Grand Picasso. Large SUVs remain the popular choice, out-selling people-movers more than 10:1.