The Renault Espace IV has been with us since 2003, and it now looks pretty out of place wearing the marque’s previous generation face. That’s no longer a problem, thanks to a facelift (surely the final one now) with a more prominent diamond logo against a broad black grille bar with chrome strips. There are also new ‘Hurlingham’ wheel trims and new ‘Monterey’ and ‘Dark Eptius’ alloys.

Meanwhile, the cabin of the Initiale Paris version now has visible stitching for the unique dashboard. Leather and Alcantara upholsteries are available over the standard fabric which repels water and oil-based liquids. A reverse camera is now available. Standard across the board is a DVD player with two seven-inch screens built into the back of the front head rests.

Coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, the 130 hp, 150 hp and 175 hp versions of the 2.0 dCi M9R engine now emit just 150 g of CO2 per km, a saving of 20 g/km. The fuel consumption of 5.7 litres/100 km is down by 0.8 litres per 100 km. The same improvements apply to the automatic variant.

In the case of the 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine, CO2 emissions have fallen to 198 g/km (down 6 g/km) and fuel consumption of 8.5 litres per 100 km is down by 0.3 litres per 100 km.

The diesels see the introduction of ESM tech (braking and deceleration energy recovery), a variable displacement oil pump, advanced cooling management and cold loop EGR (exhaust gas recirculation). A 3% improvement in Cd thanks to revised underbody shielding, plus new low rolling resistance tyres and electro-hydraulic power steering contribute to the cause.

“Every time I climb aboard, I have the feeling that I’m in a vehicle that offers something a little bit different. No other people carrier, SUV or 4X4 offers the same atmosphere and handling; it’s a unique experience. The very good handling, quality of the suspension and high level of comfort are really astonishing. For me, Renault Espace is a car that can be driven in a relaxed, family way – or even more sportily, if you want to,” says ex-F1 man Alain Prost.

My memory of the Espace, which is sold locally by TC Euro Cars, matches the endorsement – it is truly a one-of-a-kind MPV!