In 1984 barged into the European market with the Renault Espace format car hitherto unknown. It was not a car, not a van, and although throughout automotive history had been carried out projects with a similar approach, hardly had tried to small and anecdotal series. Espace, A Renault project? The answer is no.
Rather it was a project carried out by Matra, French firm that in 1978 the United States sent to his coach, Philippe Guédon. There, in a development center Michigan State discover a van capable of carrying an entire family and their equipment, a base on which Guédon imagine a smaller, light and handy, pure cab-forward vehicle (cab-forward), wherein the driving position is brought virtually to the end of the body.
PSA at the origin
Thus it was born therefore in the minds of Guédon, a minivan -the silhouette of a car in a single trazo- that its first and business linkage, is offered to members of your company at the time: Matra was owned by Talbot -and acquired by Peugeot in 1978 and Peugeot itself. However, the poor economic situation of PSA in the early 80s led to reject a car that would be difficult to fit into the Peugeot range. Simultaneously, PSA breaks his ties with Matra and compensation you receive it allows you to go ahead with a project that will end, and yes, in the hands of Renault. It is the beginning of a successful car, until 2002, to be manufactured by Renault and Matra, in the same year of its release, was tested by our magazine Autopista.
In this first test it became clear and its relationship with other models in the Renault range, "TSE in the 2000 version we tested, the engine fully alloy, with different equipment can be found in the R25, Fuego and Trafic, without forgetting some models (sic) of 18 and Master. (...) The 5-speed mechanical gearbox are also derived from equipping the 18, 25 and Fire, and the same goes for the clutch, transmission and front axle pivot radio negative, Fire-type, 18 and 20 ".
"On the contrary", said in Autopista, "the rear is specific (...) Régie technicians have designed a semi-rigid axle works in torsion, the VW-Audi style, with two short coil springs, and variable passage section, two longitudinal arms and a transverse bar guiaje ". The body was made of what "laminated polyester" is called and elements, "with a foam sheet between two fiberglass".
He Renault Espace then it was capable of a maximum speed, according to the measurements made on the circuit Montlhry of 177 km / h, "surprising for this type of vehicle" that could lead to "an absolutely sport" speed. Demanding the maximum, this version fixed consumption 12.3 l / 100 km, which they fell to 7 l / 100 km at 90 km / h and 10 l / 100 km to 100 km / h.
They checked our companions "stability is faultless (...) turns very quickly with a moderate angle of roll. (...) The suspension is tough, but satisfying comfort (...) No manifest pitching tendency (...) The comfort is real tourism ". Nevertheless, the best of Renault Espace was indoors, where "the two front seats are standard design, but can rotate 360 degrees, being oriented in any direction."
"It also carries two rows of anchors embedded in the floor, through which can be placed at will-and five individual seats very comfortable, besides- that can move forward and backward (...) each of these armchairs you can be converted into a small table and, thus, any combination is done by transforming the vehicle into a real living room, a dining room or even in a bedroom. "
Renault Espace: great interior modularity
That inner modularity was the basis charm Renault Espace. "To know him is to love him," said Renault advertising at the time of its launch and certainly this should be so, but take to reach profitability since its launch did not originate precisely avalanche of buyers at dealerships: almost until the end of the life of its first generation not begin to have significant sales.
Reasons? No doubt his exoticism, but perhaps some aspects such as those indicated in the test published in Autopista, as having no sliding doors, a tailgate awkward handling, a trunk leaving things in sight and without restraint or lack an integrated roof rack. Another shortcoming, indicated in that test, have no 4x4 version - "Espace easily lends (...) with its longitudinal engine," he said the prueba- would be remedied with the Quadra version that would appear in 1988 linked to engine 2.0 , this already with 120 CV against the initial 110; and the 110 hp 2.2.
Technical Data Renault Espace (1984)
displacement: 1.998 cm3
Power110 hp at 5,500 rpm
Length x WIDTH X HEIGHT: 4.25 x 1.77 x 1.66 meters
Weight: 1217 kg
speed maximum177 km / h
0-100 km / h: 11.3 seconds
average consumption7.2 l / 100 km
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