New car test: Renault Kangoo: from family-ute to a nearly proper saloon

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Renault launched the Kangoo back in 1997 and has sold 4,200,000 units since. This is a great endorsement of its space, volume and modularity! Three traits that have undoubtedly won over buyers. But the funny thing is that with time and the proliferation of SUVs, the Kangoo looks less and less van-like. Moreover, it is even more compact than many of these unnecessarily high and bloated vans. The Kangoo third generation lands in June and will add a welcome touch of elegance to this family-ute.

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We can even honestly say that this new Kangoo looks really nice. It could nearly be seen as posh and can even take a saloon car stance. The new horizontally- ribbed bonnet, the near vertical front end and its flanks without protective strips all make it look more like a car than a van. The Renault brand visual identity is unmistakable and the rear end features the C-shaped light signature. The flush side windows and the gloss black inserts go along very well with the colour-coded body parts and the diamond-shaped aluminium wheels all combine to give it a strong character.

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The interior wasn’t left out, it gets a completely redesigned dashboard highlighted with chrome inserts and a polished dark fake wood stripe. This brings it a welcome flair and the luxury feel is  enhanced by the 8″ Easy Link integrated central screen. Dual-zone automatic climate control is now available as an extra. Rear seat passengers now benefit from two adjustable air vents located in the back of the centre console. Eventually, Renault claims drastically improved soundproofing to enhance comfort.

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The modular capabilities of the new Kangoo remain one of its strong points, thanks to its 2/3-1/3 folding bench seat, its retractable front passenger seat, its innovative roof bars (they can now move from a lateral to a transversal position without tools), not forgetting front doors opening at 90° and its 49 litres practical and easily accessible storage space in the passenger compartment. The boot volume is 775 litres with 5 seats up. However,  but its capacity can rise to 3500 litres with the rear seat and the front passenger seat folded !

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We briefly tested a dCi 95 version proudly showing a new colour called Terracotta Brown. It’s becoming so rare to find a diesel under a new car bonnet that we really appreciate such cars. Economical, silent but with a decent torque value (246 Nm) allowing good acceleration and in-gear pick up, this engine can take the Kangoo to 164 km/h and achieve 0 to 100 km/h in 15 seconds. More than enough when it comes to transporting a whole family. On daily commutes, the Kangoo will prove to be quiet, comfortable and up to date in terms of infotainment. The driving position and the way the suspension, absorb speed bumps, are reminiscent of this Renault’s utilitarian origins but this will hardly be a hindrance for Kangoo enthusiats. And for those who need even more space, a longer 7 seater is expected later this year. RRP are not yet known.

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The new Renault Kangoo is ready to adopt a wide range of diverse lifestyles and is a very convincing alternative to any SUV thanks to its tough-looking style, its unmistakable practicality and its 14 driving aids. We wouldn’t be surprised if some very imaginative people manage to give it a very exclusive look thanks to a few mods… (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)

Driving the Trafic Spaceclass
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On top of the new Kango, Renault offered us  the opportunity to try out its new Spaceclass, the top-of-the-range luxury version of the Trafic Combi. It only took a few minutes to feel like a particularly pampered VIP driver. Leather is the everywhere, there are captain chairs and a removable central table that turns this vehicle into a real mobile lounge. Behind the chrome and leather sterring wheel, there’s a new exclusive Meteor Grey dashboard.
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There are 13.2 litre storage spaces inside, including one in front of the driver, on top of the dashboard. The Easy Life drawer provides an extra 6.6 litre storage space at your fingertips. This classy minibus features the Easy Link multimedia system with its 8-inch screen, as well as an induction smartphone charger. A 2.0 Blue dCi 170 engine with an EDC gearbox mean passengers can be driven around in royal comfort. And there is always plenty of power when and if needed. The average fuel consumption was very reasonable, at 7.5 l/100 km. Its attractive price and generous equipment should put it on top of many VIP taxi companies shopping list...
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