The Renault Kangoo van was launched for the first time in 1998 and was received pretty good by the market thanks to its compact dimensions which made it easy to drive around town and the generous load area which gave it a high level of practicality.
The Renault Kangoo’s main rivals are models like the Citroen Berlingo or Fiat Doblo. But despite the tight competition, the Kangoo has managed to stack up against its competitors pretty good as it is offered with a wide range of engines and it’s also available in passenger version.
The engine options include two petrol units (60bhp 1.2 and 95bhp 1.6) and three 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesels, which develop between 57 and 80bhp. The Renault Kangoo maximum payload ranges from 525 to 625kg and has a starting price of $10.600.
The exterior design of the Renault Kangoo is a bit bulky and you’ll find better styles at other vehicles in the segment. The build quality isn’t something to rave about either, but the vehicle is fairly practical with wide opening doors and a low ground clearance which facilitates easy loading and unloading.
At the front we find a pretty rudimentary design with a thin grille that bares the company logo in its center and a dull bonnet which isn’t fitted with any design line to break the monotony. The headlights however look slightly better and come with a modern petal shape, being able to stand out from the crowd.
The front bumper is bigger than usual and it is fitted with a central air intake and optional fog lamps. Road visibility is helped by the optional rear view windows and large wide door mirrors.
On the inside, the Kangoo looks pretty rudimentary. The plastics are part of the third class and the fit and finish could’ve been much better as well. The dashboard looks pretty odd and it’s fitted with four round air vents which seem a bit out of place and they don’t gel well with the rest of the cab.
The good part is that there are a lot of useful storage places fitted into the dash making the cockpit fairly practical.
The center console is as simple as it can be and it’s fitted with an audio system and the HVAC controls, all being placed within easy reach. We also like the gear lever position as it has an ergonomic design, falling easy into hand.
We don’ t have any major complains about the three spoke steering wheel either, as its dimensions were selected wisely and it offers a confident grab.
The high, upright driving position offers a commanding view of the road and it won’t be hard to get cozy behind the steering wheel. The seats aren’t the most comfortable units you’ll find in the segment, but they are offered with a few convenient adjustments which will make your life a bit easier.
There is also offered an optional folding passenger seat which permits you to store longer items. The rear gates come with a wide opening angle and the wheel arches are also pretty wide permitting you to transport without problems a full sized Europallet. The load volume is rated at 2750 l, but the Kangoo is slightly shorter than the Berlingo and Doblo, which affects the load length.
The sliding side-door is fairly practical and can be used with success especially when the vehicle is parked on the street.
Engines and performance
The Renault Kangoo is offered with two petrol and three diesel units. The petrol engines consists of a 1.2 liter 60 hp model and a 1.6 liter 95 hp version, while the 1.5 liter diesels develop between 57 and 80 hp.
The Kangoo is equipped with a five speed manual gearbox but there is also offered a four speed automatic transmission which is available only for the 1.6 petrol engine.
The engines aren’t the most potent units you’ll find around and especially the petrol versions will find it difficult to deal with maximum payloads or uphill sections. The good part is that all of them are fairly economical and reward you with good fuel efficiency.
Ride and handling
The Kangoo is based on the Renault Scenic passenger car which makes the van’s ride pretty forgivable, as it can soak most of the road bumps without too much fuss.
The downside of the soft suspension is the accentuated body roll which will start to be felt if you attack a corner with more aggressivity.
The vehicle is fitted with standard power steering which offers a proper feel and it’s at par with its competitors.
Thanks to its compact dimensions, the Kangoo feels like a fish in the water when it needs to deal with congested traffic situations or the narrow city streets. Moreover, the tight turning circle is rated at only 9.7 meter which is fairly good further enhancing the vehicle’s urban agility.
The Renault Kangoo is a fairly practical vehicle and despite the fact that its slightly smaller than some of its rivals the functionality isn’t affected.
The cabin however, looks a bit dated and the materials and build quality are also part of the third class. We do like that the vehicle is offered with a wide range of engines options, but we’ll have to admit that they aren’t impressive when it comes to power output and will deal pretty hard with big payloads.
The good part is that all engines are fuel efficient hence your won’t need to worry about transport costs.
The ride is also surprisingly good and most of the bumps can be soaked without too much drama. On the other hand the handling is a bit unsettled and there is also a pretty big body roll effect which will spoil all the fun.