Renault Kangoo Phase 2
What is it?
Renault has given the Kangoo a mid-life facelift which sees new styling outside, an improved cab, and a host of technological nips and tucks to improve ride, handing and fuel efficiency.
‘Phase 2’ models will start appearing in the UK in July.
The improvements bring the van in line with the new Mercedes-Benz Citan, which rolls off the same Renault production line as the Kangoo at Maubeuge in northern France.
Metalwise, the Kangoo gets a stylish new front end – and it’s swathed in black plastic to alleviate the impact of the varying bumps it is likely to suffer if used as an urban runabout.
The headlights are a different shape and there’s a massive Renault diamond on the front. If you opt for the ZE electric version, that diamond serves to hide the charging socket.
In the cab, the dash is new – taken from the Clio to be precise.
On the tech-front, there’s a new R-Link system, which will be a paid-for extra at £810. It brings together all the van’s multi-media functions such as sat-nav, radio, Bluetooth telephony and audio-streaming and offers a catalogue of apps that can be downloaded directly to the vehicle.
All this is controlled by a seven-inch touchscreen. It can even read out texts and emails to the driver while he or she is on the road too, which is pretty clever.
The Kangoo is powered by Renault’s usual 1.5dCi common rail diesel unit and power outputs are 75bhp and 90bhp.
New for Phase 2 is a 110bhp 1.6-litre unit and there will also be a petrol variant for the UK in auto-mode, although this is not expected to be a big seller. A new addition is an eco-button which cuts down the engine’s torque slightly when selected. It’s reckoned to save around 10% in fuel or give the electric version an extra 10% range.
Renault is claiming class-leading fuel economy figures of up to 65.7mpg and a low of 112g/km of CO2.
Three lengths are available in Europe but in the UK Renault won’t be selling the Compact version, leaving us with standard and long wheelbases. Payloads range from 630kg to 800kg and volumes go from 2.8 cubic metres to 3.5 cubic metres.
Meanwhile there are three specification levels – Debut, Core and Sport, with the Core expected to take the lion’s share of sales.
- Well, pricing for starters. Mercedes-Benz has made a lot of noise about how much better the Citan is than the Kangoo but as they come off the same line it’s difficult to see how that can be so. The Citan generally gets better standard spec than the Kangoo, but the French contender is between £1000 and £2000 cheaper than the Citan. You can buy a lot of extras for that money!
- Ride and handling are much improved over the old model. On a test drive in the 90bhp standard wheelbase variant in France, the van felt much tauter and settled than the old Kangoo.
- We tried playing with the eco button and even with a half load of 350kg on board it didn’t seem to make much difference to the power on offer. If I was an owner-driver I’d keep it pressed in all the time to save that handy 10% on fuel. Business van managers might consider depressing the button and glueing it down so drivers can’t flick it up again!
- It’s top marks too for fuel economy at around 65mpg. Be aware, though, that these official figures are calculated in a nice warm shed with the van empty and on a rolling road with no wind resistance, so you are highly unlikely to get anywhere near that figure in real life.
- Renault has rather sadly decided not to include ESC stability control as a standard fitment, unlike the rival Citan. It’s a device that cuts down on sideways skids and has been lauded as the best safety gadget since the seatbelt. It’s a £350 option, which means that most van fleet buyers won’t pay for it. You can’t even get it as an option on the base model.
- Another gripe is that the 12-volt power take-off is in between the front seats just behind the rather curious spade-handle shaped handbrake lever. If you plug a sat-nav unit in, the wire not only gets tangled up with the gear lever but it snags on the handbrake too.
Business Vans verdict
The Kangoo was beginning to show its age but this new version brings it bang up to date, although with that massive difference in price between it and the Citan, we can see a rather uneasy alliance developing between the rival manufacturers.
Plump for the Kangoo as the cheaper option by all means but we strongly recommend that you cough up the extra for ESC. We’ve tested it on the track as part of this business van review and it really is a life-saver. Surely a life is worth £350?
What you need to know
|OTR price (ex-VAT)||£12,145-£19,045|
|Load capacity||2.8-3.5 cubic m|
|Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)||750-1050/635-1050|
|Engine||1.5 litre 4-cyl turbodiesel|