Watch this Espace
THE car as we know it is not dead yet.
Despite all the talk of autonomous driving and cars that do more and more for themselves, including automatic emergency braking and all sorts of parking assistance, one of the most influential men in motoring has a simple bottom line.
“You don’t buy a car because it’s the best for you, you buy it because you like it,” Carlos Ghosn tells me at the Paris motor show.
The livewire Frenchman heads the world’s fourth-biggest car conglomerate, the Nissan-Renault alliance, and talks brightly about everything from the growth in electric cars to pick-ups, people-movers and the Nissan GT-R.
He concedes cars are being crammed with more and more technology but reckons 21stcentury motoring can still be fun and rewarding.
“I think the car is changing a lot and will continue to change,” he says. “But as long as we bring solutions … I think we’re going to continue the future of the car very strongly.
“I don’t buy this ‘end of a golden era’ stuff. There is no solution yet to autonomous transport. We continue to drive.”
For me, Renault produced the star of the 2014 Paris show, the Espace, even though it’s not currently coming to Australia.
Why? Because it’s a peoplemover that looks like an SUV instead of a fishbowl. It stood out, even among stunning debuts by Lamborghini’s Asterion hybrid and Ferrari 458 Speciale A, the funky four-door Fiat 500X, classy Jaguar XE and Hyundai i20.
The Espace shows that crossover cars can work at all levels, which in this case means a family wagon that can claim bragging rights alongside the SUVs that promise outback adventure but compromise their primary function of hauling children and chattels.
Working the crowd: Renault Espace people-mover at paris show