One car, two port cities and three countries – the search for the meaning of the Renault Espace


I couldn’t because I ran out of kilometers. Sometimes everything is very clear at once, and more time is needed to figure out the subtleties, but now it was immediately clear that the Espace, well known to all of us as a minivan, has succumbed to the crossover fashion and become one itself. Seeing that some manufacturers are trying to introduce new monocoques to the market and revive this segment, an eyebrow has been raised asking why the French are not trying the same.

On the other hand, everything is not so bad – there are seven seats in this crossover, and those sitting in the back will have a place to charge their phone and a place to put a cup of latte. Maybe only taller than average Lithuanians won’t have a place to stretch their legs.

From the outside, the Espace looks great in my opinion. At least it’s dark blue and has big wheels. It’s true, as it turned out after more than a thousand kilometers, I would rather trade those big wheels and appearance for more comfort. There is no shortage of it here, but the oversized wheels take some of it away.

A thousand kilometers, yes. To be more precise, it is one thousand three hundred and forty three. Comma three. I missed them in Portugal, so I grabbed the keys in Lithuania and we went to Gdańsk in Poland. A thousand kilometers is really enough to get to know the operation of all systems, to find out the real costs of the car, to see how the chassis works. You can already ask your back about the comfort of the seats.

The first thing you notice when driving the Espace is its four-wheel drive. This system has been very prominently advertised by Mercedes, which has recently started installing it in its most luxurious models. In fairness, it is worth noting that the first four-wheel drive system was installed back in 1908 on the Daimler Dernburg-Wagen, which was designed to overcome the difficult African landscape. As for modern cars, the first four-wheel drive system began to be installed back in the 1980s in the Honda Prelude. And now many Renaults have it as well, what’s more – you can choose one of thirteen operating modes. The Espace is not big, but with this system it has a turning circle like a bicycle. Very convenient, I would like such a system every day. It would probably be possible to go slalom.

Slalom would just lack power. The Espace is powered by a 200 hp hybrid system consisting of an electric part and a one-liter engine. Two hundred horses doesn’t sound bad, but to harness them all at once suddenly becomes a pity for a tear-jerking liter engine. It’s not a sports car, and it’s not meant to be. However, in normal daily driving, the hybrid system works just fine, using electricity alone surprisingly often in the city, with a combined consumption of 6.8 liters after those 1,343 kilometers. Considering that there were four people in the car with luggage, we drove in a mixed mode with country roads, cities and Polish highways, where the speedometer sometimes shows not very decent numbers, the result is very good. For city driving only, I believe it would be even better.

Salon? The cabin is spacious, beautiful to taste, but there are some details that need to be mentioned. For example, the central sliding console. I would look at the designer and ask why? The center console itself is good – it can hold two coffee cups, and keys or other small things, and there is also a large storage compartment for larger items. The only problem is that there is a large piece hovering over it, which can simultaneously cover either the coffee holders or that large storage compartment. You can charge your phone wirelessly on it, you can comfortably place your hand on it, but when drinking coffee and wanting to take something out of the storage, you have to strategize how this can happen. And it doesn’t look like it, because one or the other part will always be exposed, so you will have to maintain order in the magazines at a height.

Everything else is great. The Harmann Kardon sound system does its job very well, and the software developed by Google on the center screen works flawlessly. One of the rare cases where in-car navigation equipment can be trusted as much as a phone.

The fully assembled model basically lacks nothing for the driver of a modern car. It is true that if you had to choose additional equipment, as you would like, you would need a complete set, but smaller rims than it belongs to. When driving over sharper road bumps, you can feel that the chassis is doing its job as it would like to do honestly, but the huge, although good-looking, wheels are getting in the way.

So how do I rate the Espace after visiting two port cities and driving over a thousand kilometers? Good, even very good. Here is another good SUV. This car segment is perhaps the most competitive, but it is phenomenal that every new model finds its buyer here. Espace buyers will be those who like to drive often, far and with the whole family.

The price, looking at the new car market, is very adequate, starting from just over 40 thousand euros. But if I may be a little more sentimental, I would very much like the Espace to be reborn as a minivan. As I knew in my childhood. Like the third generation, whose design is one of the most beautiful in that segment to date.

The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: car port cities countries search meaning Renault Espace


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