A one-box shape, three-rows of seating, a huge feature set and sliding rear doors: these are the elements that make up what we know as "minivan." That's a category that the Renault Espace has headlined, in Europe, for decades now. Well, until the new generation's launch at this year's Paris Motor Show, where the French automaker has – sort of, kind of – changed up the minivan formula in favor of something distinctly more crossover-flavored.
For roughly the past 30 years, the Renault Espace has been among the definitive European minivans, but the rising tide of crossovers has put that streak to an end. The French automaker has released the first three images teasing the next-gen model, and it has confirmed the van's transformation into a CUV to debut during a press conference at the 2014 Paris Motor Show led by company CEO Carlos Ghosn.
When it comes to European auto shows, your intrepid Autoblog coverage staff is always keen to see what the French have to offer. That's because Gallic companies let their designers off the leash more often than the rest of their global counterparts, freeing them to produce the sort of moonshot, future-think concept cars that we used to associate with the US and Japan.
The current Renault Espace has been on the market since 2003. Next year that will make it ten years old, which is a long life cycle for any vehicle. But it'll still be a few years until its replacement is ready. So following the facelift it performed on the Euro-market minivan in 2003, Renault is releasing another update.