Renault Espace

According to a report published by Automotive News Europe, the Renault Espace is set to be replaced by a crossover which will combine MPV and SUV characteristics to make it more relevant in the marketplace.

A concept version should premiere at the Frankfurt show in September – ANE reports that the new car will have high-end features in line with the French carmaker’s push to move its larger cars upmarket, and will be the first Renault to sit on the new Nissan-developed CFM1 modular platform.

What it won’t have, apparently, is aggressive styling. “The design is not as brutal as today’s cars. They are becoming very military, which might be OK for the Evoque or Range Rover but it’s maybe not the direction we are going,” concept car director Axel Breun told ANE.

Renault is investing €420 million (RM1.7 billion) to build the Espace and the next Laguna at its Douai, France factory, where the Scenic is built. The Espace and Laguna are currently built in Sandouville. Production of the models in Douai will start next year, starting with the new Espace.

“The Espace is a respected vehicle. It is one Renault you’d likely see on a driveway alongside a Volkswagen or a Mercedes but we’ve let it live for too long,” design chief Laurens van den Acker told the publication.

The current-gen Renault Espace has been around since 2002. Only 3,014 fourth-gen units have found European homes through April 2013, down 35% from the same period last year, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics.