A lot has changed since the first Renault Espace arrived in 1984. It started Europe's minivan craze nearly 40 years ago and was the benchmark in the segment for decades. Most of the vehicle's 1.3 million cumulative sales came during those years.
When Europeans abandoned minivans in favor of SUVs in the 2010s, Renault responded by tweaking the fifth-generation Espace's design to make it appear more like a crossover. The results were underwhelming, especially of late as just 1,135 units of the Espace were sold in Europe last year, down from a 2021 volume of 2,773, according to figures from market researcher Dataforce.
To preserve the nameplate for a sixth generation, Renault has made the Espace lighter, nimbler, more fuel efficient and more economical to build.
To make the model more financially viable, the Espace for the first time will be made on a multi-model platform instead of having stand-alone underpinnings. Now based on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance CMF-CD platform, the Espace shares 75 percent of its parts with the Austral compact SUV and Rafale midsize coupe-styled SUV, Renault Chief Technical Officer Gilles Le Borgne told Automotive News Europe. The three models also share the same production factory in Palencia, Spain.
The three models share the windshield, A-pillars and front doors. The Espace and Rafale sit on the longer 2738 mm wheelbase and share their rear doors frame.
The Espace is the longest of the three vehicles, at 4722 mm, because like its predecessor it will be offered in five- and seven-seat configurations. Its standard cargo capacity is 777 liters.