Not the prettiest thing to look at by a long shot, Renault’s Kangoo van has other strengths to get it across the line.
Scratch the surface and you’ll find the recently revised Kangoo small van is a great little toter.
That’s because they put a plucky 1.2-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder under the bonnet and even better still, it’s available with a six speed dual clutch ‘manumatic’ auto lifted from the previous generation Clio RS performance hatch.
To say I was a bit stunned by how the petrol auto Kangoo went is an understatement. It’s a positively sporty little van with an indecent turn of speed off the mark and strong roll on acceleration.
Half a tonne in the back dents that somewhat but the little froggy van remains a good performer when laden.
And it’s not too shabby around corners either. Put it into a set of tight curves and you’ll see what I mean – flat stance, still steerable, decent brakes and no bump steer on rough surfaces.
And it has a fairly rudimentary suspension to boot. Go figure…
But Kangoo is a workhorse and in this mode, delivers efficiently with as little as 6.5-litre/100km fuel consumption and the ability to swallow a pallet of goods in the back.
There are side sliding doors each side and a tailgate rear, optionable to side hinged barn doors.
An optional Pro Pack brings satnav, Renault’s excellent R-Link infotainment with touchscreen, reverse camera and other handy features some of which should be standard especially the reverse camera.
The seats are relatively comfortable and the driving position is OK, limited by fore/aft seat movement restricted by the cargo barriers behind the driver.
I drove around in Eco mode and was happy with that. Couldn’t tell you what the other modes are. Don’t care, because Eco is sweet.
It’s a handy size too for tight city streets and lanes where those side slider come into their own.
Renault Kangoo Best Bits:
- Great performance for a small van
- Impressive fuel economy for a turbo-petrol vehicle
- Dual-clutch manual gear selection goes the right way
- Roomy load space with cargo barrier
- Twin side sliding doors
- Anti-slip floor
- Form of torque vectoring to maximise grip when slippery
- Engine 10kg lighter than previous 1.6
- Plenty of headroom in front cabin area
- High safety rating
- Also available in 1.5 diesel with EDC auto
The Not So Great:
- Reverse camera part of option pack
- Ditto sat-nav
- OK warranty
- Barn doors optional, why?
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Renault Kangoo
- Engine: 1.2-litre turbo-petrol with direct injection 84kW/190Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed EDC dual clutch manumatic
- Safety: Four-stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/200,000km
- Origin: France
- Price: from $23,490
Alternatives: Citroen Berlingo, Fiat Doblo, Volkswagen Caddy