Succeeding the Renault Express, the Renault Kangoo is a leisure activity panel-van vehicle in production since 1997. While the first Kangoo model was generally manufactured in France, Argentina, and Morocco, its ASEAN version was put together in Malaysia. The first-generation Kangoo was in production from 1997 to 2007 while the second-generation model began in 2008 and is still currently in production. Before the second-generation Kangoo came out though, the first-generation model received a facelift in 2003.
While the Renault Kangoo was successor to the Express, the second-generation model follows the designs of the Scenic so it is not only longer but also more car-like to drive instead of an MPV. There are also nine engine options to choose from so you’re sure to find one that will meet your needs, including an upgrade to the 1.5 dCi diesel engine that is available in a lot of Renault models. The standard diesel engine was also integrated with a six-speed manual gearbox that offers better control to improve performance and refinement. Refinement really is the key word for the new Kangoo since Renault really made the effort to seamlessly put together the functionality that vans are so well-known for and the comfort that is to be expected out of an MPV.
While there are still some issues about how the Renault Kangoo looks like on the outside, the French car manufacturer did a better job on the interiors, with vast improvements implemented like plastics that feel better to the touch. There’s also a good impression of space inside the Kangoo, with most of it most evident in the rear. When needed, the rear seats can be folded down to reveal 2,600 cubic metres of space in the boot. Other in-cabin storage options include an overhead shelf, a number of cubbyholes, and airplane-style lockers.
There’s still much that the Renault Kangoo can learn from MPVs but it is capable of offering a reasonable driving experience on the road. Steering is light and easy, complemented by superb visibility and a six-speed gearbox that makes driving around town pleasant. Suspension is also quite sufficient so cruising down city streets is kept comfortable. And thanks to the more powerful 1.5 dCi engine, the Kangoo feels like it can go farther than it has ever gone before. If you’re looking for something that can move people, the Renault Kangoo is definitely a good option to consider.
Unfortunately, despite being directly derived from a commercial vehicle, the new Kangoo still looks very much like a van, featuring a front end that does nothing good for an already not-so-appealing profile. And while improvements were done on the interiors, there’s still a little bit of a problem with regards to space. It’s not exactly uncomfortable to be a passenger in a Kangoo but it could be better.
The stronger 1.5 dCi engine is a welcome improvement because it makes the Renault Kangoo feel more solid and reliable. However, it can be overeager when you overestimate a turn, resulting in a high-sided body roll that is not at all comfortable.
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