Renault Kangoo (1997 – 2008)
- Spacious inside
- Sliding rear doors
Simple, functional and spacious – the Renault Kangoo appeals to family buyers who are looking for straightforward practicality above anything else. Admittedly, the obvious van-like looks won’t endear the Kangoo to everyone. The huge load capacity at the fold of a seat and converting back just as easy to revert to a spacious family car.
The sliding rear doors and ample headroom are great for ease of access, and although the engines are less than rip-roaring, this is unlikely to be high on a people carrier buyer’s priority.
The Kangoo scored well in the Euro NCAP occupant crash test, with a commendable four-star rating, On the inside, there are dual front airbags as standard,
Only older base models lack ABS, but all later and higher-spec models are fitted with this. All models have an immobiliser fitted,
The high roof ensures that there is sufficient headroom even for the tallest of drivers easing access to seating throughout and accommodating a storage shelf that runs the width of the cabin above the driver’s head. In the rear, the parallel overhead storage compartments similar to those found in aeroplanes –make efficient use of the height, keeping valuables out of harm’s way and maintaining rearward visibility for the driver.
The sliding rear doors are superb for car parks, making light work of strapping the children in without having to perform acrobatics.
The 60/40 split-folding rear seats are great for storing longer items or increasing the boot capacity but do not fold completely flat.
Visibility is one of Kangoo’s strong points, as the large rear windows and wide-angle door mirrors are great for reversing and overtaking. A comfortable driving position is easy to attain and there are no major blind spots due to the thin pillars.
The plastic matt dashboard is durable
Three children should fit comfortably into the rear seats
Service intervals are well spaced and reasonably priced, while diesel engines offer outstanding value for money. Insurance groups are low
The Kangoo is adequate when it comes to green issues, with an average of 161g/km CO2 across the model line-up. The 1.5 dCi engine is the greenest. It emits 140g/km of CO2 and returns 53mpg.
The Kangoo has the ruggedness you’d expect from a van – the mechanicals stand up to heavy punishment and it feels solidly built. The plastic matt finish throughout the cabin increases resilience – as scuffs and scratches will not show up so easily
The Kangoo is no fire-breather, but it performs well in the city and can cruise on motorways without feeling too strained. When it’s not fully loaded, the 75bhp 1.2 petrol engine offers adequate performance and nippy acceleration but can struggle when laden. The 1.6-litre is lively, but only offered with an automatic gearbox
The 1.5-litre diesel units give good economy – more than 50mpg – and perform better than the others with a full load. Unfortunately, the 65bhp 1.9 DCI feels sluggish with the four-wheel-drive system. The early 1.9-litre diesel is slow and unrefined.
The Kangoo’s suspension is very softly sprung, which means a comfortable ride, but some body roll. This is particularly noticeable on twisty B-roads, around town it feels agile.
Low-speed manoeuvrability is made especially easy by the large rear window and power steering. The Kangoo has a 10.4-metre turning circle – so parking shouldn’t cause too many problems.
Renault Kangoo (2009 – Present)
- Plenty of interior space plus masses of storage,
- twin sliding side doors,
- low running costs,
- smooth ride
The original Kangoo built up a reputation as a practical, back-to-basics, cheap the run a family car. Its replacement continues with those values but adds some much-needed refinement and quality to the package. As is obvious by the boxy looks, it’s derived from a small van, but crucially this Kangoo is based on the 2009 Scenic, which means the handling and ride are far more sophisticated than before.
It’s hugely spacious inside with seemingly endless storage and plenty of passenger room for both those in the front and the back. Then there’s the twin sliding side doors which make access easy, especially in narrow spaces. It is comfortable and versatile with low running costs mean it still has plenty of appeal.
The Kangoo was awarded four stars out of five by Euro NCAP for its performance in crash tests which is reasonable It also received four stars for child occupant safety and the rear seat has been strengthened to withstand the force of any items thrown forward from the boot in the event of an impact. ESP stability control is available on Expressions models, but only as an optional extra.
Driver and passenger front and side airbags are standard while front and rear curtain airbags are an option.
This is where the Kangoo excels. It’s an ideal car for families – especially those that are always on the go – and the twin sliding doors are a great feature. Not only do they make getting in and out very simple, but they’re also useful in tight parking spaces. Unlike conventional doors, there’s also no danger of them hitting the car parked next door.
The rear seats split and fold down 60/40 and doing so couldn’t be simpler. One handle on the top flips the backrest down, creating a level load space. On Expression models, the front passenger seat can be folded down in the same way, making room for objects up to 2.5 metres long. Expression models also come with a rear parcel shelf that can be set at two different heights, a front overhead storage rack and three aircraft-style overhead lockers.
Extreme models still fare well though with a large centre console between the front seats, a 15-litre glovebox and large door pockets, big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle. The boot has twin doors, rather than a conventional tailgate, which makes it easier to access in tight spaces such as multi-storey car parks. The luggage area itself is impressive with 660 litres of space available, increasing to a huge 2,600 litres with the seats folded down.
While underneath this Kangoo may be based on the 2009 Scenic, the interior is taken from older Renault models. The layout is neat, and all the controls are logically laid out
The driving position is good (even though the steering only adjusts for height and not reach), while all round visibility is excellent thanks to the large amount of glass.
Despite the rather boxy shape (it is based on a van after all), there isn’t excessive wind noise at higher speeds, and the Kangoo is a fairly relaxed motorway cruiser, helped further by the forgiving ride. It can happily accommodate five adults, aided by a totally flat floor in the rear
Legroom and headroom are impressive while the large glass area means it’s always bright and airy inside.
Thanks to frugal engines, affordable servicing and low insurance rates, the Kangoo is a cheap car to run.
All the engines in the Kangoo range are efficient, although it’s the diesel that are the greenest models. The 1.5 DCI with 68bhp emits 138g/km of CO2 and returns 54mpg while even the more powerful 86bhp and 106bhp versions still only put out 140g/km of CO2 and can average 53mpg.
The DCI engine has been well proven across Renault, Nissan, Dacia and Mercedes models.
Most buyers opt for the 1.5-litre DCI diesel engine which is available in three outputs of either 68bhp (only in Extreme trim), 86bhp or 106bhp. This is the same unit that’s used in several other Renault models, as well as by Nissan, and it offers decent in-gear acceleration and smooth power delivery. The one downside is the noise level, the Kangoo isn’t as well insulated from engine sound as other Renault models, which is especially noticeable on start-up, or at higher revs.
However, the engine is fairly smooth on the move and economical too, with all versions able to average more than 53mpg. The 68bhp version is best avoided if possible as it takes a leisurely 19.6 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph. The top 106bhp manages the same sprint in 13 seconds and feels more urgent from low revs too. One petrol engine is available – a 1.6-litre unit with 90bhp. It returns a useful 35mpg and is more than adequate around town, plus will happily keep up with motorway traffic. All models come with a five-speed manual gearbox, The dCi 106bhp comes with a six-speed manual
The Kangoo is based on the 2009 Scenic people carrier and so feels much more refined and comfortable than the previous model. It cruises along smoothly and soaks up rough road surfaces well, it’s a reassuring and composed car to drive both in town or on the open road and body roll is kept well in check.
It’s good in town too thanks to easy manoeuvrability and excellent visibility.
Compatible Renault Kangoos
Renault Kangoo (1997 - 2008)
Renault Kangoo (2009 - Present)
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