What Car? says...
The Renault Kangoo provides a lot, for not a lot. So, it has lots of load space, but doesn’t take up a lot of road space. And it gives you lots of standard equipment, but doesn’t demand a lot of your wallet.
And with this latest version of the Kangoo, Renault has introduced new technology, rather than slashing costs, to ensure it remains a value for money small van.
What does that mean for buyers? Well, the safety systems are better for a start, and include active emergency braking, and highway and traffic jam assist systems. The Kangoo is also available in either standard-wheelbase or long-wheelbase versions.
There are two trim levels, Start and Advance. Start includes auto lights and wipers, air-conditioning and 10 anchorage point in the load bay. Advance adds an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and rear parking sensors.
The solitary petrol and three diesel engines are cleaner than ever. (If you want zero tailpipe emissions, there's an electric van version – see our Renault Kangoo E-Tech review to read about that.) A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on most of the fossil-fuelled engines, although the most powerful diesel has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic ’transmission.
The styling of the Kangoo mirrors that of the rest of the Renault model range. So, there’s a prominent chunky grille flanked by big headlights with C-shaped LED running lights.
The Renault Kangoo has a wide customer base, which means it has to deal with a great variety of rivals, from vehicles such as the Citroën Berlingo Van and Vauxhall Combo up to more premium vans such as the Mercedes Citan – which was developed alongside the Kangoo in a partnership between the two brands – and the VW Caddy Cargo.
Over the next few pages of this review, we'll tell you how the Kangoo's performance compares to those rivals, and which version we recommend.
Whichever model best suits your business needs, we can help you find the best leasing deals for personal or business use through the free What Car? Leasing Deals pages.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Renault Kangoo buyers have the choice of either a 99bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine badged 'TCe 100', or one of three 1.5-litre diesel options producing 74bhp, 94bhp and 113bhp (Blue dCi 75, Blue dCi 95 and Blue dCi 115).
Our pick of the engines would be the mid-range diesel, the Blue dCi 95. It was the best-selling engine for the previous-generation Kangoo, and has a good chance of repeating that success.
The latest version has 5bhp more than the motor it replaces, and you feel that in the slightly more spirited performance. It's also quite a bit quieter, making the van more relaxing at a cruise. Road noise is surprisingly well contained too, and it's more hushed than the VW Caddy Cargo with no need to crank up the radio volume at motorway speeds to cover a din from the engine.
While both the Caddy and the Ford Transit Connect are a little sharper in the bends on account of their better body control, the Kangoo’s steering is perfectly weighted for urban and A-road driving. The soft suspension provides a more comfortable ride than its sportier rivals, and overall it feels more refined than the Caddy.
Most Kangoos get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but the most powerful diesel (dCi 115) comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
We found the manual box precise and smooth, and not too dissimilar in feel to the equivalent Caddy or Transit Connect. In contrast, the automatic is effortless but slightly slow. It’s has smooth shifts but is more suited to a laid-back driving style. Whichever option you choose, the Kangoo is one of the best small vans to drive.
The interior layout, fit and finish
There’s plenty of travel in the Renault Kangoo driver’s seat and the steering wheel is adjustable for reach and rake, so it’s easy to get comfortable. The seat is supportive and wrapped in a hard-wearing material that looks and feels high quality. It’s also height-adjustable as standard.
The feeling of quality extends to the rest of the interior, with a pleasant mix of materials, upmarket rotary dial heater controls, a slick multi-function steering wheel and an infotainment system borrowed from the Renault Clio.
The 8in touchscreen infotainment system – which comes with the top-spec Advance trim – has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring and up to three USB sockets. There are also three 12V sockets, and wireless phone-charging is available as an option.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The latest Renault Kangoo has a significantly more spacious interior than the previous-generation model because it's a bigger van all round. For example, it's noticeably wider around its waistline, which creates a great deal more room on the inside between you and the door. That means there's plenty of elbow room, as well as space for your legs.
That increased size also translates into more storage space, including 46 to 56 litres in the front, depending on whether you spec the dual front passenger seat with under-seat storage. The main load bay has a volume of 3.3m3 in the standard wheelbase Kangoo, and 4.2m3 in the long-wheelbase model. Those are some of the best figures in the small van class.
Adding to the model's versatility is the Renault Easy Inside Rack, which allows you to store ladders and other long items below the roof but above the rest of your loadspace.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
This latest Renault Kangoo is a vast improvement over the previous version, and not surprisingly, the price has gone up a bit. Despite that, it remains competitive next to rival small vans in terms of price and equipment levels.
As well as a choice of standard wheelbase or long wheelbase body sizes, there are two trim levels, Start and Advance.
Start gives you a DAB radio with Bluetooth and a 3.5in driver’s display as standard. It also has automatic headlights and rain-sensitive front wipers, manual air-con, cruise control and Renault’s signature wide-view mirror in the passenger sun visor.
Advance trim gets you an 8in touchscreen infotainment system, and introduces a passenger bench seat inside rather than a single seat and rear parking sensors.
The Kangoo range has plenty of safety equipment options, but most of them come at a price. The only universal standard safety systems is hill-start assist (unless you count the wide-view mirror, which is a wide-angle insert in the passenger sun visor).
Options include lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with Stop and Start, parking sensors and a parking camera. Side-wind assist, trailer sway assist, road-sign recognition and traffic jam assist can all be added.
There are 20 new driving aids in total, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring and a permanent rear-view assist that streams a view of the road behind you on to a small screen where the rear-view mirror would be.
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The standard Kangoo is 4486mm long, 2159mm wide (including the door mirrors) and 1864mm tall. It has a maximum load volume of 3.3 cubic metres and a maximum payload of 850kg.