Citroen e-Space Tourer
Back in the 1980s, the people carrier, or MPV, was the simple answer to those with a big family, or the need to carry lots of children around. Cars like the Renault Espace, Toyota Spacecruiser, Chrysler Voyager and Mitsubishi Spacewagon were just the start of a genre that would be a common sight on the roads. Of course, nowadays, the SUV has taken over as the family car of choice, leaving many manufacturers unwilling to develop what is essentially, the more sensible way of moving people around. Even Renault doesn’t engineer its fabulous looking new Espace for the UK as it knows that it just wouldn’t sell enough to justify engineering a RHD one.
Yet for many, this type of car still makes an awful lot of sense, and the thought of one with an all-electric powertrain makes it even more desirable. So how can manufacturers make it work financially? Well, by following the route of PSA (now part of the oddly named Stellantis Group) and by taking a commercial vehicle, turning it into an MPV and sharing it across your other brands. Ta da!
Ok, it’s probably a bit more complicated than that, but here we have the Citroen e-SpaceTourer which is essentially a passenger carrying e-Dispatch van. You can also buy it with a Vauxhall and Peugeot badge on the front, albeit with those, you get the option of the longer wheelbase, and a few more creature comforts inside.
Using the same platform as the rest of the Group’s EVs the e-SpaceTourer brings a 50kWh battery and 136bhp motor. Unfortunately growing in size and weight, the WLTP range falls from over 200 miles you get in the cars to a bit more of a sobering 143 miles in the MPV. And given that we have seen differing results with efficiency in this powertrain, perhaps 120 miles is more likely. So, unless you like spending time at charging stations, I’d avoid any long family days out.
Still, the upside is an interior that is massively flexible with its seating depending which of the two trims you go for. The entry level ‘Feel’ comes with either 5 or 8 seats, whilst the more expensive ‘Business’ gives you 9. All rear seats have ISOFIX and can slide fore and aft on rails, folded, or be removed entirely giving you, essentially, a posh van.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only thing that reminds you of its commercial origins. Whilst equipment is “ok”, it isn’t overflowing, and the interior materials, especially those on the driving environment, only serve to remind you that you may as well have a load of ‘2 by 4s’ in the back instead of a load of 2- and 4-year-olds.
And whilst the drive isn’t terrible, the ride is unresolved and displays an odd porpoising motion over undulating bumps in the tarmac, whilst the steering can only be described as doing the job of turning the front wheels, for that is all it does. It lacks any feel or communication, and whilst you might say that how much of a driver’s car do you want in an MPV, may I remind you how brilliant the original Ford Galaxy and S-Max models were. Being a parent doesn’t mean you have to give up on fun.
The e-SpaceTourer starts at a not insignificant £46,000 after the UK’s PICG and that is a lot of money for something that asks you to make so many compromises. Unless you really need to carry the cast of Ben Hur, we’d suggest that you might want to wait to sample the smaller (yet still 7 seat) e-Berlingo that is due later in 2021. That’s where the MPV may make a bit more of a deserved comeback.