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SPACE RACE: New Renault Kangoo drives like a car but provides all the practicality of a van

MODERN vans are not only practical little workhorses, but they are also very well-equipped and as much fun to drive as a car.

The perfect example of this is the new Renault Kangoo which shares a chassis with the Megane, a car that is available as a very potent hot-hatch.

The Kangoo is a great-looking van and rammed with kit inside, not like the vans of old that were sparsely equipped.

The new Kangoo, like all vans, doesn’t have a rear-view mirror, there’s no point as you can’t see out the back because there is a bulkhead in the way.

So Renault has come up with the clever idea of fitting an optional seven-inch screen where the rear-view mirror would fit, which receives images from a camera fitted to a shark fin on the roof, above the rear doors.

As soon as you start the van an image of behind is displayed and this becomes your rear-view mirror, though this screen isn’t used for reversing as the camera is placed too high up.

REAR WE GO: The Kangoo is available with a seven-inch screen and rear facing camera that replaces the rear-view mirror

Instead, there’s an additional rear-view camera mounted lower down on the rear door and it’s viewed on the main infotainment screen.

There are medium wheelbase and long wheelbase versions of the Kangoo available with a loading capacity of up to 4.2m3 and a payload up to 1,000kg.

In the cargo area are clever drop-down rails so you can hang long items up above out of the way, freeing up space in the cargo bay below.

And very long items can be slid into a compartment that sits above the driver’s head, so you can use the full length of the van for storage – very clever.

Inside the cabin it is rammed with numerous smart storage areas so goods and equipment can easily be stowed away, and above the driver’s display is a hidden compartment, handy to store your phone away from prying eyes.

The Kangoo is available with a 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine in either 95bhp or 115bhp and it was the more powerful variant with 270Nm of torque that was fitted to my test van.

It’s not fast, 0-62mph takes 13.6secs with a top speed of 107mph, but the diesel engine is responsive with all the torque available from only 1,750rpm.

DELIVERING SUSTAINABILITY: The electric Kangoo has a range of 187miles with a reduced payload of 615kg

And as the Kangoo handles so well, just like a supermini, it’s a blast to drive around some twisty roads.

But just make sure you use the anchor points in the rear to strap any loads down, just in case your precious cargo ends up upside down.

It’s frugal, too. Renault quote 50.3mpg but I averaged around 45mpg, which is pretty good.

There is even a new electric Kangoo that has a 45kWh lithium-ion battery, which powers a 75kw electric motor that produces 120bhp and 245Nm of torque.

It has a potential range of 187 miles and the EV has the same loading capacity as the two diesel engine options, but the payload is reduced to 615kg.

Charging takes 13 hours using a regular domestic socket, four hours using a 7.4kW wallbox, 1 hour 21mins using a 22kW public charger or 40mins using a 80kW fast charger, if you can find one.

LOAD LUGGER: The long wheelbase versions of the Kangoo has a loading capacity of up to 4.2m3 and a payload up to 1,000kg


Cost: From £19,250

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel

Power: 115bhp

Torque: 270Nm

0-62mph: 13.6secs

Top Speed: 107mph

Economy: 50.3mpg

Real world economy: 45mpg

Emissions: 115 g/km

Euro NCAP: 4 stars (2021)

Rivals: Volkswagen Caddy, Citroen Berlingo, Ford Transit Connect, Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Combo

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