Our first drive in left-hand drive versions took place in the winding hilly roads around Chantilly in France and although only dCi 85bhp vehicles were available for testing, this is likely to be the big fleet seller.
105bhp is all very well and good for owner/drivers, but responsible fleet operators won’t want their drivers yahooing about in fast vehicles.
New Kangoo has a fresh shape and a curious snub-nosed bonnet, the purpose of which reveals itself when you climb aboard.
The shortness of the bonnet is because the windscreen has been pulled right forward, making for extra space in the cab.
And what a cab is it – it’s massive.
There’s a huge sweeping dash and a humongous amount of glass, making it feel as though you are driving a much bigger vehicle than it really is.
The seats feel soft at first but have plenty of support both at the sides and back.
New Berlingo and Partner feature three seats in the front but the middle one is cramped in the extreme.
Renault decided not to go down that route and instead has placed a large storage bin between the seats, a much better idea in our book.
In the back
Kangoo can’t compete with Berlingo and Partner on load volume, but it isn’t far behind and as most fleet buyers rarely fill one of these vans up to the gills, we can assume these three are direct rivals.
Both Kangoo and Kangoo Compact feature a wipe clean floor and half-height load liners, while there is the option of mesh bulkhead or full metal one.
Kangoo features six load-lashing eyes while Kangoo Compact has four and there is an option to have more fitted to the sides at buying time, which sounds like a simple but effective idea.
Payload for the Kangoo is either 650kg or 800kg, which is the average for the sector, while Kangoo Compact has a payload of 500kg.
On the road
Most people generally make up their minds about a vehicle in the first half minute of driving but it took me less time than that to realise that the general driving experience of the Kangoo is excellent.
The 1.5dCi unit didn’t seem quite as smooth and quiet as the ones offered in the Berlingo and Partner but Kangoo certainly made up for this on the road, with gutsy acceleration, pin-sharp handling and a nice slick dash-mounted gearstick.
Swapping over to the Kangoo Compact, handling didn’t quite match up to its longer wheelbase brother, feeling a little on the floaty side.
But when we hit a couple of nearby town centres and had to negotiate some tight little corners, it showed itself up to the job and more.
After all, this is where the Compact is built to excel and that’s exactly what it did.
There is now a bewildering array of small vans for the fleet buyer to choose from and it will be interesting to watch how the various manufacturers court the UK’s fleet buyers with their fresh products.
You couldn’t get a fag paper between the capabilities of the Kangoo, Kangoo Compact, Berlingo, Partner, Nemo, Bipper and Fiorino.
At the end of the day sales success or otherwise will probably be down to a mixture of brand loyalty, slick marketing and pricing.