Renault Kangoo van long-term test: report 6

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...

Max driving Renault Kangoo van

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 14,536 List price £26,785 Target Price £26,785 Price as tested £29,735 Test economy 49.5 mpg Official fuel economy 50.4mpg

13 July 2023 – Power play

While more new car buyers are switching over to plug-in hybrid or electric cars, the same is not true when it comes to vans. In fact, if you take a look at the latest new van sales data, it shows that just 5.6% of vans sold so far in 2023 have been electric, and diesel still takes the lion’s share of sales (92.6%).

It’s easy to see why this is the case, because while my Renault Kangoo is available as a fully electric van, and also with a small 1.3-litre petrol engine, it’s the 1.5-litre diesel unit I have under the bonnet of my van which, in my opinion, suits it the best.

More specifically, I opted for the most powerful diesel option in the Kangoo, which produces 113bhp – a natural choice given how much equipment I carry with me, and the vast mileages I cover in my role as one of What Car?’s roving photographers.

Across more than 14,000 miles of driving it’s been a solid performer, providing a smooth power delivery and helping to keep my running costs in check. Indeed, my current test economy of 48.5mpg is close to the Kangoo’s official figure of 50.4mpg. You could argue that the electric Kangoo would save me more money in the long run, but that model’s 160-mile real-world range – the official WLTP figures suggest up to 186 miles – wouldn’t suit my needs.

Renault Kangoo van badge

True, there have been a few instances where I’ve wanted even more power. When I’ve loaded my van to the gunwales with camera gear and want to overtake slower traffic on a country road, I have to really think about how much space I need to pull the manoeuvre off. If there was a diesel option with a tad more power, I wouldn’t have to.

I’m pleased, though, that when I’m trundling along, the Kangoo’s diesel engine settles into a quiet background thrum easily. Engine noise is quieter than in the Citroën Berlingo van I ran previously, although the Berlingo does compensate by letting in slightly less road noise.

Choosing the right van, then, is a balancing act. But, all things considered, I think my Kangoo gets most things right most of the time.

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