Renault’s new Espace gets major makeover

Renault's new Espace gets major makeover

Renault’s big, boxy Espace large minivan will be transformed into a sleek-looking crossover that’s more in line with what European customers want.

Renault released photos but very few details about the next-generation Espace in a statement Thursday ahead of the vehicle’s public debut at next week’s Paris auto show.

The new Espace will offer the higher seating position popular in SUVs while maintaining it spacious, multifunctional interior, a Renault spokesman said. The spokesman added that the production model is “90 percent similar to the concept” the automaker showed at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show.

The spokesman declined to reveal additional details about the car, such as whether it will carryover the concept’s twin-turbo diesel engine.

Photos of the new Espace reveal that the model retains its large windows so that the cabin remains brightly lit, one of the preferred features of its predecessor.

Renault’s release said that the Espace’s design features fluid lines and a “floating” console that is positioned above the dashboard like a “suspended bridge design.”

The move to a crossover design is driven by the success of those models in Europe.

First-half European sales of Ford’s second-generation crossover-styled S-Max were up 18 percent to 17,317 units while Renault sold just 4,126 units of the Espace during the same period, a decline of 11 percent on the first half of 2013.