The Renault Espace turns 40 this year and the French manufacturer will mark the anniversary of the legendary nameplate with an all-new generation model. The sixth-generation Espace will debut this spring, although it’s not a minivan – Renault is now showcasing the new Espace with three teaser images and confirming that it will turn into an SUV.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the ever-increasing demand for SUVs and the shrinking MPV segment in European markets. The new Espace will arrive in a few months and will take the form of an SUV available in five and seven-seater versions. Renault isn’t ready to reveal any more details just yet, although we already know quite a bit about the sixth-generation Espace.
Spy photos have already shown that the new vehicle will be very similar in design to the Austral. The French automaker confirms that the Espace will run on the CMF-CD platform, which also underpins the Austral, and other SUVs from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, including the Nissan X-Trail and the Mitsubishi Outlander. The same architecture also served as the basis for the outgoing Espace, which was a traditional minivan.
Not much else is known at this time, but Renault says the new Espace will be “comfortable, innovative and upmarket”. That’s a little vague, though it looks like the brand will launch the new Espace as a premium SUV above the Austral despite both vehicles having five-seat versions. If that assumption is correct, expect to see more luxury features and higher quality materials aboard the Space.
We don’t expect the Espace VI to launch with a range of standalone engines given the design and technology similarities to the Austral. The latter is offered with a base 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with mild hybrid support, producing a peak output of 130 horsepower (97 kilowatts).
It’s sure to be a less than adequate powertrain for the larger, heavier Espace and we expect the 140hp (104kW) 1.3-litre mild-hybrid four-cylinder to be a more popular option. The Austral’s top-of-the-line powertrain is the E-Tech Hybrid which combines a 1.2-liter engine and an electric motor with system output of up to 200 hp (149 kW).