New MPV rental car: Renault Espace 7-seater 2015 model ready for luxury MPV-minivan/SUV crossover hire
The new and long awaited Renault Espace 2015 was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in the autumn of 2014.
Needless to say, with the new 7-seater MPV, Renault aims to maintain their lead in the MPV rental class which was virtually invented by the French company with the introduction of the ground breaking Renault Espace mk1 back in 1984.
See also: The story of the French MPV Renault Espace.
Renault's new Espace MPV is more luxurious than ever and promises an exclusive first class ride with all the newest gadgets available; some of them for a modest additional price, obviously.
New Renault Espace rear - available as 7-seater car rental in e.g. France from year 2015.
MPV or large crossover SUV car - what is the difference?
It is notable that Renault refers to the new Espace 2015 model mk5 as a crossover vehicle.
The new Espace is, indeed, a taller, slightly more rugged looking MPV, and at the same time, it roughly preserves the size of the previous model - which means big, and in European and UK terms bordering to very big. In the US, however, this SUV/MPV crossover is only classed as a midsize family rental car.
The new 2015 Renault Espace 7-seater caters for large families and with the SUV-like design, mums and dads on the daily school run in the new Renault Espace MPV are certainly expected to appreciate the increased ride height - and equally important, mum and dad will manage to disassociate themselves with the increasingly negative inner city perceptions of large 4x4 vehicles being a suburban menace to a green society.
Modern MPV-crossover - the new Renault Espace draws design cues from the latest Renault Clio.
How to define MPV vehicles in the 2010’s? - It seems to be a good question as less and less manufacturers dare not to make their MPV offerings slightly SUV like. But the MPV, traditionally, is not a SUV! - or is it becoming exactly that?
One can definitely argue that the 'Sport' element in Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in most cases of front wheel drive SUV versions of Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and similar MPV-like SUV's is a label without meaning.
Crossover SUV cars are cool - and more acceptable than large 4WD cars
Those 2WD SUV cars are the new city 'Chelsea tractors' for the masses - and also seem to be in favour by those more affluent, former Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 parents with kids, who are fed up worrying about having complaints about their gas-guzzling rides and slightly scared about the (few) stories of those types of imposing 4WD cars getting their tires slashed in acts of urban green 'activism warfare' in places like London.
Recreating an icon - designers talk about the new Renault Espace 2015 model.
The medium-to-large SUV class is increasingly configured like a 5+2 or full 7-seater MPV added with 4-wheel drive looks and ride height for 'cool factor' - the obvious betray here being that nowadays, almost nobody buy the 4WD versions of these SUV cars any longer - and particularly not in Europe.
The tradition MPV car (or minivan if you use the American term for the car) is surviving, but only just with the manufacturers VW, Seat and Ford. Rent-a-car companies like Hertz, Avis, Europcar and Sixt are still amongst the most faithful customers for the minivan/MPV.
Beware, than when renting a SUV type of vehicle, you are highly unlikely to get 4WD (4 wheel drive) as standard anymore, whereas if you rent a full size MPV, chances are that in Europe, the Renault Espace crossover MPV-SUV, in many countries and particularly in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal soon will be a very common car in many rental car fleets.
Fleet owners who want to 'play it safe' when it comes to resale value, and still be cool with family 7-seater cars available in the MPV fleet, may go increasingly for the Renault Espace new model when changing the aging VW Sharan cars, many of which bought in 2010-2011 when this model was new.
The New Renault Espace is still a huge car - with 7 seats and lots of space.
The best MPV cars for hire - people carrier with loads of space for 5,6 or 7 people
When it comes to choosing the best MPV hire car, the number of contenders in the UK and in Europe is limited by the fact that not many manufacturers put effort into making top ranking MPV models with room for 7 people and their luggage.
Most manufacturers like Nissan, Citroen, Peugeot, Hyundai and Kia have switched to making large SUV cars (crossover SUV's) for the European market.
In Europe and the UK, the range of MPV cars (full size 7-seater MPV rental cars) is the following as per 2015:
- VW Sharan 7-seater - very capable car with sliding 2nd row door (left-hand side)
- Seat Alhambra 7-seater - same as VW Sharan MPV with another name
- Ford Galaxy 7-seater - largest MPV vehicle from Ford
- Ford S-Max 7-seater - same underpinnings as Galaxy, but more sporty design (and new model from 2015)
- Renault Espace 7-seater; although marketed as a crossover, it is still very much a MPV
- Chrysler Voyager 7-seater - a few left still in rental fleets. Import to Europe has ceased
From a MPV rent-a-car customer perspective, the added room available for luggage in the traditional MPV vehicle is a plus compared to the 7-seater SUV, where the slightly more 'sporty' design features often cut into carrying capacity.
Also, it is worth to notice, that in Europe, virtually all MPV cars for hire come with fuel efficient diesel engines.
For accessibility, nothing beats the VW Sharan/Seat Alhambra introduced in 2010. The standard sliding door combined with a comfortable interior and limousine like handling makes this car the strongest competitor to the new Renault Espace as a MPV rental car.
See more about the VW Sharan/Seat Alhambra MPV 7-seater.
If looking at the new 2015 Renault Espace as a mid-size/large crossover SUV with space for 7, the main competitor will without doubt turn out to be the new 2015 model Ford S-Max, which will be available also with 4WD like most of the SUV-crossover vehicles.