New Renault Espace by 2014
* Not in conventional MPV form * Renault looking at SUVs and crossovers * Concept car as early as next year...
Renault is planning to launch a new Espace within two years but the new vehicle will not be a conventional MPV.
The previous-generation Espace struggled for sales as customers moved towards SUVs and crossovers. It was removed from the UK market earlier this year, but is still sold in continental Europe.
Renaults new product planning boss, Tom Lane, told What Car?: You can look at the product line-up now and there are obvious areas, like crossovers, where we need to fill gaps. You could say that we are going to do the obvious.
The companys chief designer, Laurens van den Acker, said: We are looking at a different approach to Espace. It doesnt escape us that people have been leaving MPVs and jumping into crossovers. You could say that Renault is about 10 years behind on crossovers, so we need to catch up, and I think that after four generations it is time for a new idea on the Espace.
What Car? understands that a concept showing the direction of the next Espace is likely to appear in 2013, although the production car could still be at least two years away.
Expect the new model to feature a raised driving position and pseudo-SUV looks, with seating for up to seven people and greater practicality than a Nissan Qashqai+2.
Its likely that Renault-Nissan is factoring in the Espaces needs when creating the chassis and components for the next generation of five- and seven-seat Qashqai, which is due in early 2014.