Renault Kangoo MPV (2009 – 2012) expert review

By Ian Robertson, 1st December 2010

The verdict

The Renault Kangoo has lots of passenger room, cargo carrying space and a flexible cabin. Equipment levels are pretty poor, but safety is excellent.

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Expert rating:

3.0

Pros

  • Acres of space
  • Frugal engines
  • Decent value

Cons

  • Low equipment levels
  • Poor performance
  • No seven-seat option

Full Review

1. Exterior

Back to basics is the best way to describe the Renault Kangoo. It is obvious straight away that it is based on a commercial vehicle, with added windows. That said, it is a little more rounded than the majority of the opposition, and is prettier in execution than Citroën’s Berlingo Multispace and the Peugeot Partner Tepee. Entry-level models make do with black bumpers, but the higher specs gain colour-coded items which tidies up the looks and gives a more car-like appearance.

Our rating: 2

2. Interior

The design of the interior is the first surprise, as it doesn’t look or feel like the cabin of a van. It’s neatly styled with solid and sturdy plastics, and a gear lever that is neatly positioned on the centre console. While that may seem like a strange place initially, it’s surprising how natural it feels after a few miles on the road. All of the controls are well placed, including the audio system which is sited high up in the dash, and the dials are easy to read both during the day and at night. Only the seats disappoint, lacking sufficient padding and bolstering to get truly comfortable.

Our rating: 4

3. Practicality

Space at an affordable price is the purpose of the Kangoo range, and you get that it in spades. Not only is there room for three passengers abreast in the back, but there’s plenty of head and leg room too. All of them fold down flat to add to the versatility, and should you need to carry very long items, the front passenger seat folds in half too. Boot space is just as generous as the interior space, with 660 litres available with seats up, and a massive 2,866 litres with them folded. This compares well with the Citroën Berlingo Multispace and Peugeot Partner Tepee which offer similar cargo carrying capacity. With so much room, it is shame that Renault hasn’t given buyers the option of a third row of seats in the Kangoo, like there is in the Berlingo.

Our rating: 4

4. Ride and handling

Ease of use, together with safe and predictable handling are the main strengths in the Kangoo. The steering is light around town, making manoeuvring and parking a doddle. Grip levels are high, but thanks to the tall body, lean through corners is quite high, which can be quite unnerving. The suspension is set for comfort rather than agility, so can get a little bouncy on more challenging roads. Because of its van roots, noise levels are quite high, mainly due to a lack of sound proofing. The diesel engine clatter is quite evident, and because of its slab sides, wind noise is noticeable too.

Our rating: 3

5. Performance

If you’re looking for scintillating performance, then you’ll need to look elsewhere, as all of the models in the Kangoo range are plodders. The entry level 1.5-litre dCi engine with 74bhp has a 0-62mph acceleration figure of 19.6 seconds and a top speed of 91mph. The mid-range 89bhp engine is slightly better with a 96mph maximum speed and acceleration in 16.0 seconds. Even the most powerful engine – the 108bhp 1.5-litre dCi unit – is short of grunt, with a top speed of 106mph and zero to 62mph in 13.0 seconds. The only petrol engine that is available is mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox, delivering 104bhp, a top speed of 102mph and an acceleration figure of 14.3 seconds.

Our rating: 2

6. Running costs

All of the diesel engines produce low levels of CO2, and deliver decent fuel economy. Only the single petrol model with automatic gearbox causes a problem, with exceptionally high CO2 emissions of 200g/km and a combined fuel consumption figure of just 33.2mpg. By modern standards, this is atrocious. Both the 1.5-litre dCi 75 and 90 models emit 137g/km and achieve 54.3mpg. The flagship dCi110 model is only slightly higher at 140g/km and 53.3mpg. Thankfully insurance costs are pretty low for this bargain-basement MPV, and residual values decent.

Our rating: 4

7. Reliability

Renault isn’t known for its reliability, often appearing low down in reliability surveys and customer satisfaction indexes. That said, with the Kangoo being so basic, there can’t be too much to go wrong. Even so, Renault is striving to improve quality levels and with each new model that is launched, it is considerably improved.

Our rating: 2

8. Safety

Renault has an exceptional reputation for crash test safety, and the Kangoo is no different. It achieved a solid four-star rating when it was tested in 2008. All Kangoos feature driver, passenger and side airbags, with curtain airbags an optional extra. Electronic stability programme and traction control are also resigned to the options list, which is hardly surprisingly considering the car’s utilitarian roots. Rather disappointingly, Isofix child safety seat mountings are optional on the base Extreme model, and standard equipment on the other models.

Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

There are three levels of trim in the Kangoo range, kicking off with the Extreme spec which features a CD with auxiliary socket, remote central locking, electric front windows and not much else. Expression trim is slightly better kitted out with electric mirrors with power folding, front fog lights, trip computer and colour-coded bumpers, while top spec Dynamique TomTom models include Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, TomTom sat-nav, cruise control and air-con. Optional extras include rear parking sensors, privacy glass, roof bars and automatic headlights and rain sensor.

Our rating: 2

10. Why buy?

The Kangoo does exactly what it says on the tin. It offers lots of space at a knock-down price. Performance is meagre, and so are the equipment levels, but you do get a versatile, adaptable cabin.

Our rating: 3

Expert review 3stars

  • Exterior2
  • Interior4
  • Practicality4
  • Ride and handling3
  • Performance2
  • Running costs4
  • Reliability2
  • Safety4
  • Equipment2
  • Why buy?3

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:

Kangoo  Extreme dCi 75

Entry spec and engine is the best budget buy.

Best seller:

Kangoo Expression dCi 90

Mid range diesel engine and top trim sells the most.

Blow the budget:

Kangoo Dynamique TomTom dCi 110

Generous spec and powerful diesel is ultimate buy.

Space at an affordable price is the purpose of the Kangoo range