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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Masses of room; decent engines; cushioning ride

Against Practicality overtakes any style; Spartan interior

Verdict The Kangoo provides versatile and practical van-based transport for five people and their dogs

Go for… Cars that haven't been treated roughly

Avoid… Odd Trekka version

Renault Kangoo MPV
  • 1. The driving position is reasonably comfortable, even though there’s no seat or steering wheel adjustment
  • 2. Check all the electrics work, and that this workhorse hasn’t been worked too hard
  • 3. Check the clutch pedal operates smoothly and make sure all the gears engage easily
  • 4. Rear sliding doors and a high-lifting tailgate mean access is easy from all sides
  • 5. Timing belts on diesel models can slip and damage the engine, so insist on a full service history
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Renault Kangoo MPV full review with expert trade views

The huge cabin is light and airy, and even the tallest passengers shouldn’t have complaints about the headroom. Legroom is good front and back, too, and the driving position is reasonably comfortable, even though there’s no seat or steering wheel adjustment.

Like other cars based on a commercial vehicle, though, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is (as it's unkindly dismissed by some) a ‘van with windows’.

In some ways, that's good news. For a start, the rear sliding doors and a high-lifting tailgate mean access is easy from all sides. And, with the rear seats folded down, the cargo area extends to an impressive 2600 litres.

However, equipment levels are less impressive, and the interior has a spartan feel, with rubber mats rather than the carpet offered by rivals.

Once on the move, some road noise can be heard from inside, but otherwise refinement is good. Meanwhile, the ride is soft enough to cushion the effect of Britain’s road surfaces, but the sift suspension does lead to a certain amount of roll through corners.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Revised model from ’03, 1.6 or 1.5 dCi 80 Expressions retail well

James Ruppert
Used car guru

From launch the Kangoo was available with a 75bhp 1.4-litre petrol (discontinued in 2001) or 1.9-litre non-turbo diesel, and buyers had the choice of basic RN trim or RXE, which added a passenger airbag and three three-point seatbelts in the rear.

Limited-edition versions of the 1.4 were introduced in 2000: Alize added air-con and remote central locking, Helios brought a twin sunroof.

Revisions in 2001 rationalised the trim to one level – Authentique – and changed the engine line-up to a 1.6-litre petrol with 75bhp and an automatic gearbox or an 80bhp 1.9-litre turbodiesel.

The Trekka version introduced in 2002 adds four-wheel drive and alloy wheels. But, it's rather an oddball, and the basic cars give you everything that's good about a Kangoo in a cheaper package.

Anti-lock brakes are standard on all automatic versions, and were introduced across the range from 2004. In the same year a 1.5 dCi engine with 65bhp was introduced.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Revised model from ’03, 1.6 or 1.5 dCi 80 Expressions retail well

James Ruppert
Used car guru

With residual values sitting at just over a third of the initial value after three years/36,000 miles, and even new cars costing only in the region of £10,000, a Kangoo makes a great value used buy.

However, it's worth spending as much as you can for one of the later models, which have a more impressive list of equipment as standard.

It won't cost much to keep it on the road, either. Servicing costs are very reasonable and a group 4 insurance rating will keep the annual premiums low.

Should repairs be necessary, they should be quite cheap, as Renault is at the cheaper end of the scale, according to Warranty Direct’s survey of labour rates. And, the commercial origins of the vehicle should keep the cost of parts down, too.

Fuel economy is best with the diesels, the non-turbo 1.9-litre achieving 39.8mpg on average compared with the 1.4’s 37.7mpg.

The newer 1.2-litre petrol manages 40.4mpg while 1.6-litre petrol’s extra performance cuts economy to 35.3mpg on average. Opt for a 1.5-litre diesel for the cheapest overall bills – economy is 53.3mpg.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Revised model from ’03, 1.6 or 1.5 dCi 80 Expressions retail well

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Although we’d expect the Kangoo to be mechanically tough, there have been numerous reported niggles, particularly with the electrics. So, before you think about buying one, make sure everything works, and also check that this workhorse of a car hasn’t been worked too hard.

Clutches are also known to be a weakness. Check for a smooth, even travel on the pedal and make sure all gears engage easily.

Another weak point are the timing belts on diesel models, which can slip and damage the engine. Ideally, find a model with a full service history.

The Kangoo has been the subject of several recalls, so check that any of the following work, where appropriate, has been carried out on any car you're interested in.

Recalls were issued in February 2000 to check the possibility of loss of brake servo assistance, and again later that year because of tyres experiencing a rapid loss of pressure.

At the end of 2001, 14,000 Kangoos had adaptations to the seatbelt pre-tensioner and airbag sensor. In 2002 worn locking bolts were preventing the front and side doors on some models from locking; they were replaced.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Revised model from ’03, 1.6 or 1.5 dCi 80 Expressions retail well

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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