MOST car makers now produce a large people carrier with seven or even eight seats and all manner of family-friendly touches.
But the first European MPV was the Renault Espace, with five individual rear seats - a pattern copied by many of the others.
However, some found this layout did not fold easily or quickly and have opted for better systems.
The Espace and Grand Espace - which is longer and gives more luggage space when all the seats are occupied - drive easily despite their bulk, and take the corners safely and securely.
The latest series, which was produced from 2003 to this year, is available with 2.0 and 3.5-litre petrol engines.
But both are thirsty and the only engines to go for are the diesels - a 1.9 with 120bhp, 2.0-litre with 130 or 150bhp, 2.2-litre with 150bhp and 3.0-litre V6 with 180bhp.
The 1.9 will even manage close to 40mpg with careful driving, which has to be amazing.
Performance is fair to excellent and comfort marvellous in all.
Depending on model, standard equipment is good to excellent. All have aircon, six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox, curtain airbags and CD player.
But all the rear seats have to be taken out for maximum load space and this is a back breaking task which is best avoided. Check all the electrics work properly.
Renault Espace 1.9 diesel
Price: Pay £3,700 for an '07 07-reg Authentique, or £8,200 for an '10 10-reg 2.0-litre Dynamique
Mechanical: 120bhp, 1,870cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 12.8 seconds
Combined mpg: 40
Insurance group: 10
CO2 emissions: 183g/km
Main rival: Ford Galaxy
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