Renault Grand Espace MPV (2003-2012)
- Neat styling
- Versatile seating
- Excellent safety
- Weak entry-level petrol engine
- Cabin controls are confusing
- Car’s size can be an issue when maneuvering
"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.
MPG, running costs & CO2
It's bigger than the Espace, so costs are bigger, too
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.
Interior & comfort
Soft suspension smothers the bumps
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.
Practicality & boot space
You need to remove the seats for maximum load carrying
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.
Reliability & safety
Upmarket interior is well put together
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.
Engines, drive & performance
It's big, but isn't daunting to drive
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.
Price, value for money & options
Dynamique spec comes with lots of standard kit
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.
What the others say
You sit behind a panoramic windscreen, broken only by two slim screen pillars. (The strength is in the pillars behind them.) And you look out over the most stylish instrument display of any car you can buy.
The new 2.0-litre engine is available with 150bhp or 175bhp, and we tried the latter, which has plenty of pull in every one of the six gears. While it is noisy at idle and under hard acceleration, you rarely have to rev the motor that hard, due to its 370Nm of torque.
Or you could practice birth control, that's the other option. Just kidding – the Espace is vast, stylish and clever, and it's a fab idea if you’ve got both kids and money.
Like the standard model, it has folding and removable seats, lots of clever storage bins and can carry seven people - but you get a few extra inches for extra luggage and passenger room.
Last updated: 28 Jun 2013