Recently we featured the new Renault Kangoo Compact – this time it’s the turn of the compact’s big brother, which burst on to the recession-hit shores of Britain late last year.
If you read the last article you’ll already know that Renault pulled off a bit of a crafty trick with this van – while Citroën and Peugeot split their small van range in two with the Berlingo/Nemo and Partner/Bipper, Renault simply made a new van and hacked a bit off the back to make a smaller version (the Compact).
Although the Kangoo, recently named green van of the year (conventional fuels) at the Fleet Van Awards, has largely been overshadowed by the Berlingo in the UK since its launch in 1997, it is nevertheless a doughty performer and has sold a staggering 1.3 million units in its time, featuring as the best-selling van across Europe.
This new model ups the ante by not only being a lot more car-like in its cab logistics and road manners but also now offers a 21-model range and a raised cubic capacity to three cubic metres – up from 2.75 cu m in the old model.
Payload, meanwhile, goes up to 800kg. Load entry width of the side sliding door is up 16mm to 635mm, while width is up 16mm to 1.83m. Two trim levels are available – ML and ML+ and Renault boasts features that turn this vehicle into a small office.
There is storage for A4 documents on the dash, room for a laptop in the 9-litre glovebox and a 13-litre overhead parcel shelf, along with door bins that will hold 1.5-litre cola bottles.
Standard kit includes a full-height steel bulkhead, driver airbag, remote central locking and ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution.
ML+ adds a side loading door, height adjustable driver’s seat and a central storage console. In addition, various packs are available – safety, protection, loading, towing – and parking sensors are extra at £210.
Under the bonnet, diesel engines are expected to take the lion’s share of sales and the engine available is Renault’s ubiquitous 1.5dCi unit offering 70bhp, 80bhp or a lively 105bhp and there’s a 1.6-litre petrol unit with 90bhp or 105bhp. Prices range from £9,300 to £12,290 ex-VAT.
Behind the wheel
This van is an admirable performer. It looks stylish, chunky and capable – much more so than its smaller brother – and that extra volume in the back gives it a completely different feel from the Compact that we had on test recently.
The cab feels enormous – and that’s because Renault has pulled the windscreen forward. In fact, the whole thing feels rather like a large MPV, with seats upright and high to give a good view of the road ahead.
The driver’s seat is amazingly comfortable too, unlike in the old model, and our test model featured adjustable lumbar support.
The full-height bulkhead is great for added safety and also makes the Kangoo whisper-quiet on the road.
In the back, the load area is nice and square and there are now two extra load-lashing eyes, bringing the total to six. Our test model had ply-lining too, which we’d say is a must if you want your van to be worth anything at selling time.
The Kangoo’s road manners are faultless. With six gears to choose from and a lusty 105bhp on tap, this van won’t lag behind under any circumstances, although if I was buying it for fleet purposes (ie for someone else to drive) I’d probably choose a lower-powered model.
With its load-carrying and driver focus, plus very low CO2, the Kangoo is the green choice..