espace crashtest

     Driving a car in order to destroy it - thatīs really not a pleasure, even by using scientific methodes and without a drop of blood. When beautiful cars turn within a few miliseconds into a hill of scrap, it makes even a very cynical technicians sad. But sometimes there are moments, when the destroyed wrecks make you satisfied - like for instance during the crash test of a new Renault Espace.

      The history of this test started in 4/94 issue of Motorwelt magazine. The result was terrible. However, it motivated producers to a feverish activity. The faults of the bodywork had been checked once more and important construction improvements were made for the last year of the production of this model. The final improvement was obvious and the next test (Motorwelt 8/95) proved it as well. The reason was simple - changes, which had been made on Espace, were originally prepared for the next model.

      Nothing strange that this time let the Renault technicians the newest version of Espace pass the test with self-confidence. ADAC experts could even choose a car by any salesman, to make conditions as objective as possible. The car was immediately taken to the test way and passed the test as follows: Espace was riding against a deformable ADAC barrier in a 60 kph speed to impact it by 40% of the front part. There were 3 figures in the car - one behand the steering wheel, another one in the middle row on the left and the last one in the third row on the right. There were also two pieces of luggage of 18 kg weight.

      The noise of the crash even had not stopped but it was already clear the bodywork bravely managed the impact. It could be seen on the first sight during the study of space rates around the driverīs seat. The steering wheel and instrument board almost did not move inside, the space for feet got just 30% smaller. The instrument board did not break anywhere. There were no cracks or sharp edges, which could lately lead to a cut injury.

      Critical points are more likely rare. Airbag puffed up relatively late. The head of the test figure hit the airbag during the process of inflation, however it was the last phasis. That is why the value of load enlarged a bit. During the back impact the head of the figure slided from the headrest and slightly hit a door pillar. The source of little glass crocks was obvious: into a pieces broken triangle window, which goes to the front part. The front screen became another source of shards because of slight deformation. The risk of injury in the second row of seats is - according to ADAC experts - low. All values of the stress to human body were in the "green" field. Anyway, too low headrests and square seat belt anchorage near the head we do not like at all. The passenger in the last row passed the dangerous situation relatively O.K. During the rebound to a too low headrest he just slides and hits a rear roof pillar. Because of luggage, which hits the back part of his seat, he has to hold out a bit higher load than the passenger in front of him. However, the values are still reasonable. It would be of course much worse in the case the non -fixed part of load would hit one of the seats in the front row because some of rear or even middle seats were removed. We do appeal on the producers right here to On this place we again appeal to the producers to seriously deal with the problem of fixing the load.

      The Espace automobile was also evaluated according to a new comparative evaluation ADAC (see also Motorwelt 11/97). On the scale from - to ++ (very bad to very good) representing the rate of protection of the passengers and protection of other participants of the accident, the car reached the value 0 (satisfactory), which still is Mercedes class E level, but it is already not a mark, by which BMW 5 or Volvo S70 were evaluated.

      In total: the Renaultīs effort to built a car with high level of protection and safety of the passengers, but not too agressive to another participants of the accident, was succesful. However, it is necessary to improve some details.


(Source: ADAC, photo archive)