The long-awaited replacement for the Renault Espace will be shown later this year in concept form, but it won’t be another conventional MPV Renault has finally confirmed.

The brand’s chief designer Laurens van den Acker told Autocar “We’re going to try to make it [the Espace replacement] more relevant to the marketplace by making a cross between an MPV and a crossover, and by making it beautiful.”

“The Espace is quite a respected vehicle. People were not shy to drive one and you could see it on a driveway alongside a Mercedes-Benz. But I think we have let the Espace live for too long and any car that is now 11 years ago and in today’s day and age, no car would survive that long” said van den Acker.

He also describes the vehicle as Renault’s ‘flagship’. Reports say the Espace will be the first model to be based on the Renault/Nissan CFM1 platform. CFM1 will also be used to underpin the next-generation Laguna.

The new Espace concept will be last concept in van den Acker’s ‘Circle of Life’ series, which started with the Renault DeZir concept.  

“The sixth [concept] car is going to be our flagship and it is going to be purple, the only colour around the colour ring that’s still missing. And it was nice with the two extremes, the smallest car in the line-up [the Twin’Run] and the biggest car in the line-up.”

“It’s a fun challenge for us” says van den Acker. “We’re trying to reinvent and retool the brand completely from a design perspective, starting with the Clio and the Captur and everything that comes after it. We’re trying to do it by making cars that are very attractive, that have a very strong face, that show their Frenchness in a positive way, that look sensual and warm.”

Van den Acker says that the reinvention of Renault’s design language was important, especially in terms of separating it from the budget Dacia marque. “Renault is sensual and Dacia is rational”. He also told Autocar that he was cautious about the rise and rise of retro design.

“I’m hired to design the future not the past. And I felt that I had to design the future first, through Clio, Megane, Laguna, a good Captur and establish the line-up. Then I think I wanted to look at our treasure box of history and do something with it.

“So the Twin’Run concept came at a good time. My opinion is that if your retro strategy is your future, then you have a problem because what do you do next? If I’ve done my homework and created a good, forward-looking range, I can afford to do a retro car, but it cannot be just that.

“The key of a true generalist brand is that we have a car for everybody. You fall in love, we have a car for you, you start a family, we have a car for you. The six cars allowed me to show the different aspects of the Renault brand.”