I bought the car new in October 2003. The claimed overall fuel economy figure of 40mpg is a joke for the 1.9dCi - 30mpg overall is far more realistic. If you only plan to own the car for three years, then stick with the 2.0-litre petrol model as the extra cost for the diesel cannot be justified.
The front tyres wore out after about 11,000 miles and cost about £250 (for the pair) to replace. I have just shelled out £500 to replace the front and rear tyres at 22,000 miles. The car has been fairly reliable but suffers from an intermittent problem - every few days, the car loses power and feels as though the engine is running on two cylinders.
I've been to the dealers three times to have this looked at but each time the problem has cleared itself and they cannot find any fault. The problem persists and I am beginning to get a bit fed up.
Servicing costs are reasonable - about £180 for the 18,000-mile service which is all I've had to shell out beyond the cost of the tyres. I'll be getting rid of the car in a few months when the three-year guarantee expires, as I don't fancy picking up the tab for potentially expensive repair bills.
I'm also a bit concerned about the residual value of the car after three years, which looks to be disappointingly low. I purchased the car on a PCP scheme which, due to the incentives offered, was the best deal at the time. All in all, I'll be handing the keys back to the dealer and walking away fairly happy overall with my purchase.
We bought our Grand Espace new. On delivery, the car had a few faults which were quickly rectified by the consistently helpful dealership. Subsequently, the satellite-navigation system failed to respond and has finally been repaired (permanently?), along with a driver's side failed air-conditioning system - it ran on full cold setting the whole time - by the dealership where we are now based, near La Rochelle.
They also pointed out a whistling from the engine which had been there from new, but has now been dealt with by replacing three drive pulleys on the engine. The interior trim quality (full leather) is definitely no better than before and now looks really quite tired after 18 months and 25,000 miles of pretty hard use - but then it is a car for families.
Driving the 3.0-litre auto is also a little quirky. Essentially as you set off from standstill there is a slightly too long pause (ancient Renault 4s can even overtake you!) followed by the sensation of being hurled towards the horizon once all the electronics finally make their minds up what to do with the massive amount of urge available.
Our feeling overall is of an extremely comfortable way to move the family on long journeys. This aided by an excellent turning circle, and space efficiency a 4x4 can't touch, making for a great vehicle but for the quality and quirky drivetrain issues.
I've finished paying a premium for hopelessly unreliable cars - thank you Mercedes - so how about a big diesel MPV Lex
Performance 2.2 diesel offers acceptable acceleration, auto box is left ‘hunting’ for gears if you do anything spontaneous but as long as you drive it like a big family car it rewards you with a smooth drive
Ride and Handling Not to much roll through the corners but the breaks feel quite ponderous and don’t inspire confidence.
Refinement Engine quite refined at cruising revs and only really sounds strained under hard acceleration.
Buying and owning Having bought a 1-year-old car from Renault someone else took the brunt of the depreciation leaving me with a well priced car that’s run-in. Insurance costs are reasonable and fuel economy is better than I’d hoped.
Quality and reliability Everything is still working the way it should so far.
Behind the wheel Great driving position, big windscreen and full length sunroof means lots and lots of glass giving a light airy feel to the car.
Space and practicality Takes a while to work out how to get the most out of the seats. Lots of different configurations but unless you have 7 people in the car the option you really need is a bag to keep the back seats clean in the garage. With them removed it becomes a very practical big estate car.
Equipment On the whole very good, the plastic has a fairly cheap feel to it but the sunroof and the central dash leave the car with a quirky style all of it’s own and for me that’s what made it stand out from the other more run of the mill choices in this sector.
We bought an '04 Espace as a nine-month-old ex-demonstrator to replace our 2003 Audi A4 Avant 1.9TDi. Having tested the auto, we settled on the 2.2-litre diesel manual: the auto was too slow. Likes: driving position, performance, ride quality, space, airy feel and striking looks. Dislikes: clearly not the same as Audi build-quality, but more than acceptable. No reliability problems so far - unlike the Audi.
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