"The Renault Grand Espace is even bigger than the standard model, which allows more room for luggage."
The Renault Grand Espace offers even more room for families than the standard model. With seven individual - and moveable – seats, the larger Espace is versatile and comfortable, while the extra length that has been added behind the rear wheels means there's some additional luggage space. Up against the Ford Galaxy, the Grand Espace has been around for a few years now, but it still looks fresh inside and out, while the modern diesel engines on offer give it decent performance and adequate economy figures.
Surprisingly, the Grand Espace isn’t as daunting to drive as its size suggests. This Renault steers, brakes and corners much like a conventional car, while the high driving position and large windscreen offer a fine view of the road ahead. You might have trouble finding a parking space big enough for it, but that's true of many of its full-sized MPV rivals. The engine choice starts with a 2.0-litre petrol, which simply isn’t powerful enough. You would be better off with one of the diesels. The 148bhp 2.0 dCi in particular is a fine choice.
All seven-seats offer good comfort, although there's not a lot of legroom for passengers sitting in the third row. The Espace's suspension smothers road bumps well, while wind and road noise is kept to a minimum. On long motorway runs, the driver's seat is a serene place to be, although the way the heating, audio and sat-nav controls are scattered about the cabin can be confusing.
The upmarket interior is impressively well put together, and the major controls feel robust and nicely engineered. The car is reckoned to be safe, too with a full five star Euro NCAP test.
The Grand Espace is huge, and offers a maximum capacity of 3,050 litres in the back, which is 190 litres more than the standard Espace. The seats all fold, rotate and slide, but if you want a completely flat load area, they must be removed – which means you need somewhere to store them. Rivals offer more versatile load and passenger solutions without the need to completely remove the seats.
Value for money
The Renault Espace is at the top of the price spectrum for MPVs, but shop around and you should be able to secure a decent discount. The range is relatively simple, with the entry-level Team model a bit light on equipment. Dynamique spec features alloy wheels, metallic paint, cruise control and climate control, satellite navigation and useful rear parking sensors as standard.
The Grand Espace will cost more to run than the standard model, with the 2.0 dCi diesel returning higher fuel consumption of 38.2mpg. Greater emissions of 196g/km mean it’ll cost more if you’re buying and running it as a company vehicle, too.