Renault Kangoo van long-term test: report 2

The Kangoo has always stood for value in the small van sector, but does the latest version also offer car-like comfort and refinement? Our photographer is living with one to find out...

Renault Kangoo front cornering

The car Renault Kangoo Advance Panel Van ML19 dCi 115 Run by Max Edleston, photographer

Why it's here The Kangoo is our reigning champion in the small van market, but how will it fare as a photographer’s apprentice?

Needs to Have space for all our snapper’s photography gear, be comfortable on big journeys, and function as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 8400 List price £26,785 Target Price £26,785 Price as tested £29,735 Test economy 49.2 mpg Official fuel economy 50.4mpg

30 April 2023 – Storage wars

It won’t surprise you to learn that as I'm one of What Car?’s roving photographers, the odometers in my test cars tends to spin round at a faster rate than most. In fact, in just a few months of ownership, I’ve clocked up more than 8000 miles at the wheel of my Renault Kangoo van, taking it to places as varied as the Highlands and the South Coast – sometimes in the same week. 

The by-product of this mega-mileage is that I spend a lot of time inside the Kangoo. And that in turn means I’m well placed to tell you that, when it comes to storage spaces for all those little odds and ends which tend to fill your pockets, it's in a class of its own.

Renault Kangoo cup holder

You see, whether it’s my camera memory cards, keys, receipts or even my flask, the Kangoo never fails to have somewhere to store them. There’s a small locker in front of the steering wheel, for example, which is ideal for hiding smaller items out of sight, plus it has two USB ports, so I can keep my devices topped up.

Similarly, the front passenger bench can tip up, revealing a handy container for my water bottle. One pro tip: if you’re going to use that space to store sandwiches, remember to put them in a solid container, or you may find they turn into wafer-thin wraps when you lower the seat back (something I learned the hard way).

You might balk at the Kangoo only having a single cup holder on the dashboard. Still, the fact that it’s neatly positioned just below the gear lever, and thus doesn’t obstruct my view of the road ahead, and that it has successfully held all shapes and sizes of bottle securely, is a big win. When I had a Citroën Berlingo van for example my bulky flask was forever coming loose from the cup holder.

If you do find yourself in need of more cup-holding space, you can fold down the middle seat, which, since it offers no legroom at all, I’d only use for short trips at best anyway. Doing that reveals a flat surface with another cup holder, plus somewhere to rest my arm on longer drives. I have often found myself using this spot as mobile office desk when I need to file photos quickly. The seat folds down by pulling a small rope lever and can be raised again simply with a push.

Renault Kangoo bench seat

It’s not just storage space that has impressed me in the Kangoo, though – it’s also the quality feel. Vans are workhorse vehicles, but I always appreciate one which manages to feel just as premium and comfortable as a family car. The Kangoo isn’t up there with its Mercedes Citan cousin, for example, but everything I touch or look at regularly feels built to last and reassuringly solid.

Similarly, while hard plastics cover most surfaces, as they do in the Kangoo’s small van rivals, this means they can easily be wiped clean if my shooting locations involve mud. Which, given the inclement British weather, happens more often than not. When that happened recently, and I was due to give a friend a lift to the train station in their finest clothes later that evening, I was thankful for the Kangoo’s wipe-clean nature, as well as the effectiveness of my cleaning wipes.

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