Renault - Espace Concept
Espace Concept: MPV meets top-of-the-range
How can Renault push back the boundaries of a concept it actually pioneered? Does Renault still have what it takes to surprise motorists and make new market inroads?
Renault provides part of the answer at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show by presenting its Espace Concept show car in a world premiere.
With Espace Concept, Renault is unveiling a new evolution in monospace architecture for even greater travelling comfort, while definitively establishing driving pleasure, safety and quality as top-range features.
Furthermore, true to its design philosophy, Renault has conceived its show car as a work of art with a strong personality, sporting the taut lines and distinctive Renault stamp it embarked upon with Vel Satis.
From an accomplished MPV...
Renault revolutionized travelling comfort with the monospace architecture launched in 1984, by combining the traditional features of a saloon with versatility, spaciousness and user-friendliness. With a flat floorpan and between five and seven seats mounted on rails, the cabin can be customized to increase the number of possible seat positions to almost infinity. An integral part of the Espace design is the "shared" dashboard, while the split air conditioning system for driver and front passenger frees a large amount of the central area.
Travelling pleasure: individual comfort in a shared space
True to its philosophy, Renault wanted to go even further, and with the Espace Concept show car sets out to demonstrate its concern for the comfort and well-being of passengers. The main goal of this latest step forward is that every occupant be the focus of specific attention, wherever they are sitting in the car. It is a search for the bestpossible bespoke solutions, tailored to individual needs, within the same shared, convivial space.
Heating and ventilation, for instance, can be customized in both front and rear seats thanks to a major Espace Concept innovation: air outlets for each row of seats at the top and bottom of the cabin. In addition to split air conditioning controls on the front doors, controls to adjust ventilation speed are fitted to the rear doors.
Renault has even used its expertise to devise personalized safety for Espace Concept, putting it on a par with the best saloons: all the rear seats are equipped with three-point seat-mounted safety belts which guarantee complete autonomy and flexibility while offering the same level of protection to all occupants.
As the flat floorpan design with integral rails replacing the conventional anchorage points has proved its worth, Espace Concept uses the same architecture to offer versatility and a practically limitless number of seating layouts. Stowage is also customized and individual stowage space is now provided for all the vehicle's occupants, including those in the third row of seats.
The "shared" dashboard can be seen by all the rear passengers and blends seamlessly into the cabin with its pure, minimalist lines. The car's high-tech features keep a low profile. Instruments appear as luminous blue against a black background, ensuring a clear display that can be read more easily.
Visual and tactile quality. Light and transparency.
Espace Concept welcomes passengers into a refined atmosphere where everything is soft and pleasant to the touch. No details have been overlooked. Extreme care has been used in choosing materials and perfecting fit and finish. The dashboard strip and door panels, deliberately chosen in a pale greyish-beige, confer a welcoming, restful atmosphere. The seats and armrests, upholstered in pale beige leather, and floor mats add further warmth to the cabin. By way of contrast, the lower part of the dashboard and the central information display area are a glacé chestnut colour.
The cabin recalls the world of contemporary furniture. Streamlined but warm and welcoming, it embodies a lifestyle that puts the emphasis on individual well-being.
Espace Concept makes ample use of transparency and illumination, with the biggest glass sunroof on the market covering 2.16 square metres, a panoramic windscreen that extends above the roof line and a vast glazed expanse. The sunroof, which lets maximum light into the vehicle when required, can also be screened off with a blind.
...to a top-range MPV
While the prime objective of an MPV is to meet occupants' needs for space and practicality, Espace Concept takes the MPV firmly into the top-of-the-range class. Its striking design and technological fundamentals make it clear that it belongs to the demanding world of the E segment.
A dynamic and assertive personality for a unique object
Espace Concept makes no secret that it is a direct descendant of Espace styling with its one-box shape, curved sides, ample glazed area and panoramic windscreen. The vehicle does, however, also have a family link in terms of design with Avantime and Vel Satis and reflects Renault's new visual identity. Its lines are distinctive, taut and masculine.
The Espace Concept design, hinting at performance and modernity, highlights Renault's determination to position its show car as a unique object with a strong personality, exuding quality and robustness.
With its flush wheels and 19-inch tyres, Espace Concept gives an impression of balance, stability and speed. The headlamp clusters underscore its streamlined silhouette, featuring chrome surrounds with sculpted triangular motifs, echoing the lines of the side of the car. The Xenon headlamps that operate on both full and dipped beam supply a high-tech touch to the entire front of the vehicle. At the rear, the vertically-stacked lamp clusters follow the contour of the screen to offer improved visibility.
A golden beige colour and beige satin clear coat are used for the front and rear bumpers, side mouldings and the lower part of the tailgate. Driving sensation of a luxury saloon More than the ultimate monospace, Espace Concept is inspired by the attributes of luxury saloons. This development can be seen in the saloon-style driving position combined with a higher seat than in a conventional saloon – the distinctive feature that sets MPVs apart.
Renault also set out to boost the driving pleasure of its MPV. With a six-cylinder 180bhp 3.0 dCi turbodiesel engine driving through a five-speed automatic Proactive transmission with flick shift, Espace Concept shows that it is now a fully fledged member of the luxury saloon class.