Renault Espace turns 40 this year and the French manufacturer will celebrate the anniversary of its fabled nameplate with a new generation model. The sixth-generation Espace will debut this spring, though it won’t be a minivan – Renault has now previewed the new Espace with three teaser images and confirmed it will turn into an SUV.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the growing demand for SUVs and the shrinking MPV segment in the European market. The new Espace will arrive in just a few months and will be an SUV in five and seven seat versions. Renault isn’t ready to divulge further details, though we already know quite a bit about the sixth-generation Espace.
Spy photos have shown the new vehicle will be very similar in design to the Austral. The French automaker confirmed the Espace will use the CMF-CD platform, which also underpins the Austral, and other SUVs in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, including the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander. The same architecture is also used as the basis for the outgoing Espace, which is a traditional minivan.
Not much else is known at this time but Renault says the new Espace will be “comfortable, innovative and at the top of the range.” This is a bit of a blur, although it seems likely that the brand will launch the new Espace as a top-of-the-range SUV over the Austral despite the fact that both vehicles will have five-seater versions. If these assumptions are correct, expect to see more luxury features and higher quality materials inside Espace.
We didn’t expect the Espace VI to launch with a standalone engine suite given the similarities in design and technology to Austral. The latter is offered with a base 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with mild hybrid support, producing a peak output of 130 horsepower (97 kilowatts).
It would certainly be an inadequate powertrain for the larger and heavier Espace and we expect the 1.3-liter four-cylinder mild hybrid with 140 hp (104 kW) to be the more popular choice. Austral’s top powertrain is the E-Tech Hybrid which combines a 1.2 liter engine and electric motor with up to 200 hp (149 kW) of system power.