Renault Espace Estate 2003 - 2010

Renault Espace Estate 2003 - 2010

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Comfortable ride
  • Incredibly spacious interior
  • Refined diesel engines

Cons:

  • Seats don't fold flat
  • Small boot space with all seven seats in

Overview

The Renault Espace is a stylish seven seat MPV that easily seats seven people although you'll be hard pressed to also fit all of their luggage in the small boot at the same time. The ride is extremely comfortable with the soft suspension ironing out all but the worst bumps and the handling is surprisingly good for a vehicle of this size, even on twisty roads. There is a good choice of engines with the diesels being extremely powerful and fuel efficient especially the 2.0-litre.

Exterior and Interior

The Espace comes with a cavernous interior space which isn't surprising given its 4.5 metres long even, if it doesn't look it. There is plenty of leg and head room for all the occupants, even for the two passengers in the third row of seats. The seats are also extremely comfortable and supportive and come as seven individually sculptured chairs rather then benches. The boot with all seven chairs in is tiny and it is hard to remove the seats as they are cumbersome and heavy. Also none of them fold up and disappear into the floor like in the Chrysler Grand Voyager, so all of them do have to be removed if you want to increase the luggage space. Once all the chairs are out though you have a cavernous 2,860litres that would rival many vans and should be able to accommodate anything you need to put in it. There are also numerous cubbyholes and storage bins scattered throughout the cabin for any small items. The dash and centre console are clearly and cleverly laid out with the same LED instruments as in previous models and the materials used feel of good quality and are strongly built to withstand the everyday rigors of transporting the family around.

Performance and Economy

Although the entry level 2.0-litre petrol engine offers the best overall economy in the petrol range at 30mpg, it isn't powerful enough to haul the Espace around when fully loaded. The turbocharged 2.0-litre is much better with its 167bhp and isn't far behind the smaller 2.0-litre efficiency wise managing 29mpg. It is also surprisingly quick going from 0 to 60mph in 9.6 seconds. The 3.5-litre V6 is immensely powerful with its 241bhp going from 0-60mph in just 7.8 seconds and never lacks for power even when fully loaded, but the power has a trade off as it guzzles fuel managing only 23mpg. The diesel engines have proven to be the more popular as they have that extra power that is lacking in the petrol engines. The 1.9-litre isn't a bad engine, but the larger engines are better providing a little extra power. The 2.2-litre model is a good engine managing 36mpg and goes from 0-60mph in a little over 11 seconds. The largest of the diesel engines, the 3.0-litre producing 180bhp, is fairly quick going from 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds, but the fuel efficiency suffers because of this coming in at only 29mpg. The 2.0-litre is the best diesel by far, as well as being the more popular engine, as it offers 175bhp which is just behind the larger 3.0 model, but is a lot more fuel efficient coming in at 38mpg. It is also surprisingly quick going from a standing start to 60mpg in just 9.7 seconds. All of the version fall between insurance groups 12 and 14 except for the 3.5-litre which falls into group 16.

Like to Drive

The Espace handles most roads easily with it excelling on motorways where it cruises along with ease with the suspension soaking up any bumps in the road. It's not as ungainly on the twisty roads as one would expect looking at its size with the light steering helping it to corner surprisingly well. There is some body roll but that is to be expected in a car of this size that is designed more for comfort than speed. Overall it feels very safe and composed on road surfaces.

Faults and Repairs

There is a wide range of little niggles to look out for if you are looking to buy an Espace on the second hand market with the diesels causing most of the problems. When taking one for a test drive make sure there are no untoward noises coming from the engine bay as well as excessive smoke from the exhaust, which could indicate that the turbo is on its way out. They have also been known to over heat so if there are any signs of this just walk away. The clutch can also be problematic as well as electrical gremlins popping up every now and then. The tyres wear down surprisingly quickly, especially on the front and they cost a lot to replace so make sure they're not on their last legs when purchasing. The 3.5-litre and 3.0-litre models are the most expensive to service, but apart from those two the other models cost about the same to service and repair as their rivals.