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As most of you are well aware, the Kangoo is the realised version of the concept car Pangea, named after the prehistoric continent where all the present continents were in one piece. (Remember ? That weird car with a permanent trailer hooked to its tail)
As soon as our family doc told us that our baby daughter decided to arrive, we started looking for more space and of course added safety. So the 2-month painful search started.
As we had Renault' s for both of our family cars (a Twingo and a Megane) Our first stop was our Renault dealer. After all, Renault's are cheap in Turkiye since they are made here...
*** Looks and Body : My wife hated the Kangoo' s looks. I was half neutral and half hateful. That was why I decided to give it a chance.
So our dealer gave us his own Kangoo 1.4l which he used for staff transportation for a weekend. It was of a sweet crimsonish color. As a matured car which clocked 10,000 kms, it was a perfect platform to see everything.
The body is rock solid. The assuring "klunk" of the doors and the excellent "tock" when you knock on the panels gives you a good feel of what sort of material was used. The pillars are real thick and rock hard. The only setback is with the A pillars which compromise your view when driving in curvy roads. You have to lean forward and look around them into the blind corners.
The body does not twist. I tried it by parking half on the saidewalk and half on the road. The angle of the car to the horizon was of some 20 degrees and the rear hatch opened and closed perfectly. The body twist is the worst problem you face with a van or an MPV and this car (which is in between) does not have it. Good...
I checked the car which was some 8 months old for any traces of corrosion or oxidation. None... Not even in the most vulnerable areas. Excellent...
*** Interior : The seats are typically Renault. Too soft and smaller than usual. The dashboard is hard and tacky. The plastic is of high quality but why grained ? The light bluish grey color would (and had) turn black in no time due to all the dirt and grime trapped within the grain.
The dashboard design is weird. The uneven and strange nooks, protrusions and that utterly useless clip annoyed me.
The controls were easily and dearly appreciated by both of us (me and wife) since they were the very same with that of the Twingo and Megane, including the knobs and switches and their placement. Nice...
I loved that horn system which is activated through the steering wheel hub, wiper arm and turn signal arm. Lovely idea... You do not go clawing to find the correct spot to honk. Choose any one and honk you go...
Again that strange overhead shelf kept me worrying about the safety of my forehead. (My wife commented that it was actually of no concern since it was empty behind that forehead thus no potential harm. :P )
The rear knee room is very good for such a car size but the seats are too steeply angled for a comfortable ride and even worse, they are fixed.
Luggage space is excellent. However, it would have been better if the wheel wells would not intrude so much into the boot area.
We both could not tell of too many findings of interior trim rattles or squeeks. The fixings etc are pretty sound. Here again, you find the annoying exposed metal. Although the nice color blended in superbly, I did not enjoy resting my arm against hot metal.
The airconditioner is adequate and cools swiftly. The fan is surprisingly strong when you select the internal circulation mode. My wife could have well easily used it as a blowdryer. The only setback is little too much of hissing.
Extreme road and tyre noise will suppress this anyhow...
*** Engine and Mechanics : The engine from what I was told was the updated engine of the renault 19 Europa; thus actually being the Renault 9 engine modified in Argentina and modified again.
I only wish they had modified it provide some more torque and power. It simply and utterly is inadequate for this car. To pull away from a stop or accelerate on the go is painfully slow. This painfully poor performance is further impaired by the airconditioner when it is on. Overtaking on a two way road in the summer may prove to be dangerous depending on how crowded the road is. If it is crowded, you will get a feel to what it feels like being an 18 wheeler semi driver in a convoy.
I found the 0-100 km/h sprint to be at 15 seconds. (The catalog stated some 11 seconds if my memory is not playing tricks on me) well, I do not drive a dragster for some beer company anyhow...
The car consumed an average of 9.5 liters per every 100kms I drove it. A bit high, given the tiny and weak 1.4 liter engine.
The gears are between smooth and clunky. The whirring within the gearbox is faintly heard inside. So more insulation sil vous plais messieurs... The 5th gear actually makes you think it was there for exercising your right arm. It does not even make you feel you shifted. (Ahh, by the way, the steering wheel is on the left side of the cars in Turkiye.)
The steering system is too light, senseless with poor driver feedback. You need to yank the wheel very hard to even slightly change the yaw of the car. That gave me the impression that the steering had a high ackermann angle to improve manouver steering but that proved not to be the case. The car is hard to manouver in tight areas.
Maybe too steep a king pin angle ? Maybe, since the fact that steering does not swiftly self center, this somewhat confirms this impression. Anyhow, who am I to decide ?
The car acts erratic on the go. It is like driving a billy cart downhill with a loose rope steering. The car virtually "wanders" on the lane. Maybe I felt so after the heavy and low Megane. My wife however felt the same compared to her Twingo.
Brakes are sound and strong. ABS is there but I never felt it kick in. The brakes shouldn't have faded so quickly but that is probably because of the very severe environment codes. They probably will have to use paper for brake pads soon, until the "save the trees leauge" comes calling... Braking stability is safe though.
Although there is plenty of wheel well clearance, the shocks have an unusual short stroke. You have them knocking when you face a rough surface. Ride is firm if you get used to the erratic steering.
We went over to my mother-in-law's to test the car on a long trip and I found that driving fatigue is induced in only 45 to 50 minutes. (Maybe it was that quick psychologically since I was going to my mom-in-law. I do not remember being so tired coming back home.)
*** Conclusion : A nice grocery getter, a good car for short trips. But definitely not a holiday cruiser. I would give it an 8 out of 10.
If you want a Renault and definitely an MPV, look at the Megane Scenic which is much better and much more expensive... (Almost twice the price.)
Good review. I think the car has been updated since/
Connoisseur_Haggler1 15.04.2004 13:40
the gear changes on this seem a bit tiresome. I kinda looked at that mileage and though for 100km it seems a lot trying to calculate the mpg, doesnt seem too good. You know I dont think I know what the Kangoo looks like, if you find a photo of it your own or on the net you can upload photos with your reviews after submitting them anytime later too, should you find one! -CH