Review: Renault Kangoo (2008)
Versatile and user-friendly compact van, economical 1.5 dCi engines improved for 2013 with start/stop, Z.E all-electric version available with range of 105 miles.
Short wheelbase Compact version no longer available.
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Renault Kangoo (2008): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure
The Renault Kangoo is one of the most popular compact vans on the market and it's easy to see why. Well built, comfortable and practical, it's ideal for small businesses who want a good quality and versatile van. There are three versions - the Kangoo Compact, the standard Kangoo Van and then the Kangoo Maxi - the latter being available as a two-seat or five-seat crew van.
The standard Kangoo Van is ideal for most needs and has 3.0 cubic metres of load space that's user-friendly with neat touches such as a movable bulkhead and folding passenger seat that means longer items can be carried. There's also a useful optional roof flap that means you can transport things like ladders or pipes.
There are three versions of the impressive 1.5 dCi diesel engine available in the Kangoo range with varying outputs of 70PS, 85PS or 105PS. There's also a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 105PS although this was dropped when the Kangoo was facelifted in early 2013.
That facelift bought a new front end look with redesigned headlights as well as improvements to refinement with better sound proofing and aerodynamics while the Compact model was dropped from the range. There were also improvements to the engines with more power and better fuel economy. Start/stop is now standard on the 1.5 dCi 75PS and 90PS versions which helps claimed economy increase to 62.8mpg.
In September 2016 the Kangoo engine line-up was updated, with more power, Euro6 emission standards. The four-cylinder 1.5dCi outputs increase to 75PS, 90PS and 110PS, while peak economy remained unchanged.
What does a Renault Kangoo (2008) cost?
Renault Kangoo (2008): What's It Like Inside?
With a choice of three body lengths, as well as panel van and crew van versions, there’s a Kangoo to suit almost every need. The Kangoo can deal with maximum payloads from 650kg to 800kg, with the Z.E electric model coming in at same 650kg maximum permissible payload as the 75PS diesel models, so there’s no loss of practicality in choosing the battery-powered model.
Cargo volume ranges from 3.0m3 to 4.0m3 to put the Kangoo on a par with the best in this class. Even the shortest body length version can cope with a Euro pallet in its load bay, while the Maxi version is able to swallow two whole Euro pallets to make it a very useful bit of kit without the need to trade up to a larger van. There is only one roof height across all Kangoo models though.
For the Z.E electric version of the Kangoo, Renault fixes the batteries underneath the floor, so there is no intrusion into the load bay and its cargo volume is unaffected. Like the other models in the range, there are lashing hooks in the floor and a tubular bulkhead behind the driver’s seat. Core and Sport models can be ordered with an optional full steel bulkhead, and they also have underbody protection as standard to safeguard from scuffs and speed bumps, but the entry-point Debut models do without this.
Every Kangoo model has side-hinged rear doors that open out to 180-degrees and a sliding left-hand side door that affords excellent access to the cargo space. A sliding right-hand side door is an option for the Core and Sport models, as are trim panels for the load bay. The top spec Sport models have a rubber load floor covering as standard and this is an option for the Core trim but not the Debut.
In the cabin there is loads of space and this feeling is enhanced by the large windscreen and high roof. It gives the Kangoo cab an airy feeling that makes it a pleasant place to spend long days. Hard wearing materials make it rugged but they could do with looking a little more attractive for those who have to spend long periods of their working lives. A driver’s airbag is standard, with passenger and side airbags as options.
All-round visibility in the Kangoo is generally good, though you have to pay extra for glazed rear doors should you want this aid to reversing. Or, you could add the optional rear parking sensors to help when manoeuvring into tight spots.
The dash is easy to get on terms with as most of the instruments and dials are lifted straight from Renault’s passenger cars. The Z.E electric model has a battery charge indicator instead of a fuel gauge and it also has blue trim highlights to distinguish it from its fossil-burning counterparts. Satellite navigation is an option for the Core and Sport models.
Standard equipment across the range includes Bluetooth, a USB connection plus an adjustable passenger seat. The Core trim adds electric front windows and a trip computer, while the Sport gains an uprated CD stereo, air conditioning, pollen filter, alloy wheels, front fog lights and Renault’s R-Link Multimedia system.
What's the Renault Kangoo (2008) like to drive?
It’s clear from the off that Renault has designed the Kangoo with not just the van market in mind but also the passenger car MPV market. Its ride comfort is much better than most vans’ as it soaks up lumps and bumps in the road with considerable ease. It makes the Kangoo a wise choice for anyone who drives over rough city streets or pockmarked country lanes with regularity. It also means the Kangoo is a good at carrying delicate loads that might otherwise be jolted around by some of the Renault’s less sumptuously sprung competitors.
There is a downside to the soft-set suspension and that is more body lean than you experience in a Ford Transit Connect or Vauxhall Combo. It’s not an alarming angle of dangle through corners, but it’s noticeable enough to make the Kangoo stand out from its rivals. Whether this is something that bothers you is more down to personal taste than any dynamic shortcoming of the Kangoo and we rate the Renault’s grip and poise through corners highly in this class.
We also like the Renault’s steering feel, which helps make the Kangoo good to drive in town or on faster roads. It’s light when parking and, combined with relatively compact dimensions whichever model variant you prefer, makes the Kangoo a cinch to slot into those tight parking spots that are the bane of every van driver’s life.
Making life easier for van drivers is the Kangoo’s engine line-up. There's a 1.6-litre 105PS petrol engine but it’s not an engine many users will take up as 36.7mpg average economy and 180g/km CO2 emissions cannot come close to matching the diesels’ far more impressive figures. The 1.6 petrol was axed from the Kangoo range in 2013.
The 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel engine is a common sight in the Kangoo and in many other Renault models. It’s a very sound engine and, as a measure of its reliability, it has not been subject to any recalls since the Kangoo arrived in its current guise in 2007. In fact, the Kangoo has been subject to very few recalls overall, suggesting the design is spot on.
At launch, the 1.5-litre dCi came in 75PS, 85PS and 110PS variations. With the entry-point diesel, Renault also offers its Eco2 technology to further improve economy and lower emissions, with 60.1mpg and 112g/km CO2 emissions compared to the standard 75PS diesel’s 52.3mpg and 129g/km. There is an additional cost in choosing the Eco2 model, though this is compensated for by it coming in the more generously equipped Core trim rather than the most basic Debut configuration.
The 90PS and 110PS diesels offer stronger acceleration and better cruising than the 75PS unit, which can struggle on the motorway. Both of the more powerful diesels are refined and make light work unless the Kangoo is loaded to its maximum capacity.
Euro6 versions of the 1.5-litre dCi were introduced in September 2016 with lower emissions and more power, with 80PS, 90PS and 110PS.
Then there is the Z.E battery-powered Kangoo. It has an electric motor with 60PS, which is less than the least powerful diesel but because the electric motor offers instant shove it feels just as zesty. A single-speed automatic transmission makes life very simple for the Kangoo ZE driver as all you do is press the throttle to go and the brake to stop. Top speed is 80mph, so the Kangoo ZE can tackle motorways, but this will drain the battery quite quickly and reduce its practical range, which is rated at 106 miles in mixed driving.
With zero tailpipe emissions, the Kangoo Z.E is exempt from the London Congestion Charge and, as it can be charged from a plug point, it also qualifies for the Government’s grant to help offset the cost of battery-powered commercial vehicles. However, you should bear in mind you will have to pay a monthly rental for the battery as Renault sells you the van but hires you the battery.
Real MPG average for a Renault Kangoo (2008)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
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