Kangoo 1.5 dCi 86

We hit road to see if Renault’s latest van-based carrier delivers.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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boxy looks and stodgy driving dynamics leave you in no doubt about the Kangoo’s van origins. But by designing two cars for the price of one, Renault has saved a packet on development costs – and that has enabled it to offer this spacious five-seater, with a punchy diesel motor under the bonnet, for a such bargain-basement price. If you’re in the market for a family car and prioritise function before form, the new Kangoo deserves to be near the top of your list.

Meet Renault’s new contender in the space race. The Kangoo has always been a family favourite for its exceptional value and acres of cabin room, and this new car aims to offer even more practicality for your pound.

From the outside there’s no hiding its commercial roots – it was designed as a van first and passenger model second. But that means significant savings in development costs can be passed on to customers.

The slabby looks and steeply raked windscreen won’t win any prizes for style, yet the chunky front bumper and new headlights give a much funkier appearance than the car’s predecessor. The airy cabin is as well appointed as in any other Renault road model, with a simple MPV-style dash, plus a commanding seating position and large glass to offer a fantastic view ahead.

Generous
An 18cm increase in length over the old car has boosted already generous interior dimensions. As well as class-leading rear legroom, there’s now a 660-litre boot with the back seats in place. Fold these and the front passenger chair, and this rises to a huge 2,800 litres. To put that in context, it beats the BMW X5’s capacity by 1,000-plus litres.

We drove the 85bhp 1.5 dCi, which felt rattly on start-up but provided surprisingly smooth and punchy performance once warmed through. Combined economy of 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of only 140g/km are also superb for a car of this size. Other units include the 67bhp or 104bhp 1.5 dCis, plus 8v or 16v 1.6-litre petrol engines.

Super-soft suspension gives the Kangoo a very comfortable ride, but through corners there is nothing to stop the high body from rolling significantly. Still, it’s fair to say that dynamic handling was never one of Renault’s aims with this car.

What the Kangoo does offer is more powerful but frugal engines and improved standard kit for only a slightly higher price than before. So, as long as style is a secondary consideration, spacious family transport has never been so affordable.

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