Used Renault Espace MPV 1993 - 2003 review

Category: MPV

The Renault Espace offers a soothing ride and fine practicality, but bad ones can be very bad

Renault Espace MPV (93 - 03)
  • Renault Espace MPV (93 - 03)
  • Renault Espace MPV (93 - 03)
Used Renault Espace MPV 1993 - 2003 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Renault Espace MPV like?

Unlike most MPVs, the Renault Espace comes in two body styles - standard and Grand. The Grand, launched in 1998, is more than 250mm longer than the standard car, improving luggage and rear passenger space.

In both versions, all five rear seats can be folded forward to form tables, or removed completely, while RXE and Initiale models have floor rails that add to your seating options.


The Renault Espace offers a soothing ride and fine practicality, but bad ones can be very bad

  • A quiet and spacious MPV that can rival some executive saloons for comfort
  • The 20 petrol engine isn't up to the job and reliability is suspect

Up front, the unconventional control layout - much of the switchgear is housed to the right of the steering wheel - and centrally mounted digital speedo can take some getting used to. But, this does keep things uncluttered, as do the many useful cubbies Renault have included.

The ride is smooth and comfortable, although the price you pay for this soft suspension is a lot of body roll. Things are impressively quiet at motorway speeds, with little wind or road noise reaching the cabin. However, diesel versions emit an unmistakable clatter until they're warmed up.

Ownership cost

What used Renault Espace MPV will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Renault Espace MPV?

In its day, this Espace was one of the best MPVs around, but the good news for used buyers is that never had especially strong resale values, so any version is pretty cheap to buy.

However, fuel economy varies widely from engine to engine. The early 2.0-litre petrol cars may look particularly cheap to buy, but they only average 26.4mpg. That's almost as bad as the 20.6mpg that a V6 of the same age returns.

Cars with the newer 2.0-litre engine introduced in October 2000 manage a more acceptable 31.7mpg. And, our favoured 2.2-litre diesel will cost you least to run, returning 39.8mpg.

Renault dealers charge less per hour than many rivals and you can make useful savings by giving independent Renault specialists a try. However, the low cost of maintenance has to be weighed against the comparatively high chance of something going wrong.

Our recommendations

Which used Renault Espace MPV should I buy?

The entry engine was originally a 105bhp 2.0-litre petrol, but this was replaced with a 140bhp 2.0-litre unit when the car was facelifted in October 2000. Mind you, whichever you go for, performance is sluggish.

That's not something you can say of the flagship V6 models, but they're simply too thirsty. At least, there's a 110bhp 2.2-litre petrol that sits between these two extremes, and makes some sense.

However, it's the 130bhp 2.2-litre diesel that Renault introduced with the 2000 face-lift that best suits the Espace. It provides effortless performance and strong pull from low in the rev range, and replaced a far weaker 88bhp 2.1-litre diesel.

Safety kit on this version of the Espace looks a little meagre compared with more modern Renaults, but it does include anti-lock brakes and driver and passenger airbags.

Electric windows, remote central locking and air-conditioning are also fitted to all models, while higher trims bring you metallic paint, twin sunroofs and (on petrol models) cruise control. Other than the extra length and interior space, there's no difference between standard and Grand versions.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used Renault Espace MPV?