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Renault Kangoo Trakka 4x4

Let's be honest - most 4x4s are bought as a fashion accessory. So why would anybody want an off-roader which looks as odd as the Renault Kangoo?

Let's be honest - most 4x4s are bought as a fashion accessory. So why would anybody want an off-roader which looks as odd as the Renault Kangoo?

The French company's van-based mini-MPV, whose peculiar styling puts practicality above posing power, has bizarrely been given the ability to go mud-plugging. So is this a cynical bid to give the Kangoo more credibility or a sensible solution for family 4x4 buyers on a budget? Called the Kangoo Trakka, it certainly looks the part, with raised suspension, wheelarch extensions and chunky bumpers that mimic 'proper' off-roaders. Inside, new airline-style overhead bins boost load space.

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But the changes are not merely cosmetic. Borrowing the Scenic RX4's permanent four-wheel-drive has given the Trakka real off-road ability. Grip is sufficient to tackle tough inclines and the 4x4 system prevents the Renault from bogging down in deep mud. But the demands of off-roading take a toll. Noise fills the cabin over rough terrain as everything around you seems to be shaking itself to bits, and power feels in short supply on really steep tracks.

On the road, the Trakka is nearly as capable as the standard Kangoo. The light steering and manoeuvrability have not been sacrificed by the addition of four-wheel-drive, and the car is composed and relatively refined despite its commercial origins. Some body roll is inevitable at higher speeds, but at a slower pace the Trakka is a capable road vehicle. Power for our car came from an all-new 1.6-litre 16-valve petrol engine delivering 95bhp and 148Nm of torque at 3,750rpm. Although good for 32.9mpg, it will be bettered by the forthcoming 1.9 dCi turbodiesel already used by the Megane and Scenic.

Expected to cost below

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