Test: Renault Espace TCe 200 EDC

Crossover instead of Van. The Renault Espace continues to think its concept. Well accomplished. Photo: Bernd Conrad

The test car sparkles purple-black in the sun. A skillfully drawn body spans large 19-inch rims. Without playful beads, with the right amount of chrome and a vertical rear that shows architectural skill despite all the utility.

Schick he looks, who Renault Espace. And by the way saves the idea of ​​the great Renault in the present. During the 12-year construction period of the predecessor, things were often bad for a new development. This was not only due to a few unsuccessful attempts by the French in the upper middle class, but also to the fact that the market for large vans has effectively collapsed. So the Renault Espace reinvented itself to some extent. He uses the concept of the Mercedes R-Class - the unsuccessfulness of which actually did not suggest any imitators.

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The rear is vertical as currently hardly another. But still beautifully designed. Photo: Bernd Conrad

So and not otherwise had the Espace but to be allowed to survive. A large touring car whose higher seating position behind the kilometer-long windscreen has a wonderfully relaxing effect.

The view wanders through the interior. Like the exterior: chic. In addition to the brown nappa leather of the noble Initiale Paris trim level, Renault has the luxury of matching brown plastic panels. Together with the gray and black decor of the center console, it's all pretty worth seeing.

You should only keep your fingers with you. Similar to the surprise, when the addressed beauty responds to the truism just with a dull "huh", one is frightened in Espace. As hard as the plastic is everywhere, it really does not look like it.

These are contrasts of this kind, which pull through the experienced everyday life by car. The 1,6 liter large and 200 PS strong gasoline engine (besides there is still a same size diesel with 160 PS for the Espace Initiale Paris) surprised in the state and at a moderate pace with an unexpected smoothness. If you let it go relaxed, he also moves sufficiently with his maximum torque of 260 Nm. But if the rider's right foot requires increased dynamics, it should be easier to get off and push. Here you realize that the downsizing petrol engine has to do heavy work on the 1,7 ton car.

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Just one of many bug reports that forced Espace into the workshop to calm the driver and the car. Photo: Bernd Conrad

On the German autobahn, the propulsion becomes as tough as chewing gum at higher speeds. In addition, the wind noise increases significantly from 130 km / h. As if that wasn't enough, the Espace starts to get restless at higher speeds. The diffuse steering gives too little road contact and the dampers throw the Espace awkwardly over joints, transverse grooves and repaired blow-ups. Far up in the driver's seat you don't get enough feedback, everything feels strangely disconnected. It seems as if the car is defending itself with all means at its disposal against daring the endless run-up to a top speed of 211 km / h. So calmly with the wild horses, so that you can curb the immense thirst of 12,5 liters of super per 100 km during the test period.

A touring car that does not put the hunt after the early arrival in the foreground, but with its built-in speed limit (and a factory-installed radar detector with indication of the distance to the camera!) Would like to make the way to the destination.

For this it needs a sufficient stay on board. That is given. Next to the Espace driver's seat, every expensive living room chair fades. The thighs rest comfortably on the extendable seat extension. The massage function meanwhile kneads through the back in various stages from relaxing to strengthening. Unfortunately, the massaging air cushions support their work with loud creaking noises. Again such a contrast. One starts to arrange a relaxed car, and then disturbs these noises.

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Dashboard from "Architecture Today". Looks nice and is well made. Unfortunately that bothers a lot of hard plastic. Photo: Bernd Conrad

Meanwhile, the hand is comfortably on the designer selector lever of the dual-clutch gearbox and you realize that you can squeeze as optimally on the large upright touch screen. Goal-safe you can flippern by menu of the not very complicated R-Link system. Until - Attention, contrast! - one is annoyed because every third print is ignored by the display.

So put your finger away and listen to music. After the iphone at least somehow could be paired with the car via USB, the Bluetooth connection has not accepted the phone as a media player throughout the entire trial period. Volume up and, you guessed it, dear reader: Welcome in contrast. The BOSE sound system standard in the Espace Initiale Paris sounds disappointing in short. The basses do not press enough, there is no surround sound and you can despite surround system no style profiles or other parameters for individual listening pleasure.

So the stubbornness of the car itself remains the anchor with which I want to tie my opinion on the Renault Espace in these lines.

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Lots of space in the rear with adjustable single seats and three Isofix pairs for child seats. Photo: Bernd Conrad

Renault deserves respect for the decision to create something new from the outdated Van concept. That one did not prematurely craft an SUV from the Espace, but remained aware of the tradition of extravagant French cars. The French have already had such a car in their program. Even when writing these lines, I often had to think of the legitimate ancestor and almost every attempt to try the model name "Espace" was almost a "Vel Satis". But the hope remains that Renault's current upper middle class representative will be more successful.

The importer promises 5 years of warranty for the Espace (and other new Renault models), with the first three years as a factory warranty and two more under a follow-up warranty. Balm for skeptics. Because the test car, with fresh 9.000 kilometers on the counter, already zickt around diligently.

An isolated case certainly, formerly called the Monday car. With the error memory cleared, the relaxing Espace also makes it enjoyable on the other six days of the week. But no fun. It does not always have to be.

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Crossover instead of Van. The Renault Espace continues to think its concept. Well accomplished. Photo: Bernd Conrad

At the end...

What the Renault Espace lacks, especially as a classy initial Paris for 44.900 Euro list price (test car price 47.690 Euro) so is not necessarily image. But above all the courage of the buyer to dare once more. For more cars.


Specifications Renault Espace Initale Paris TCe 200 EDC

capacity1.618 cc
Performance147 kW / 200 PS at 6.000 RPM
maximum torque260 Nm at 2.500 rpm
Acceleration 0-100 km / h8,6 seconds
top speed211 km/h
Standard consumption combined6,2 liters / 100 km
Real consumption in the trial period12,5 liters / 100 km
Test car price47.690 Euros




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