Lit­tle Roo packs plenty

Back seat gives this van much more ver­sa­til­ity if you’re look­ing for a solid rocket around town, CHRIS RI­LEY writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

WE turn the spot­light on the car world’s new­est and bright­est stars as we ask the ques­tions to which you want the an­swers. But there’s only one ques­tion that re­ally needs an­swer­ing – would you buy one?

WHAT IS IT?

Re­nault’s lit­tle par­cel van, but it ain’t so lit­tle any­more. This one has a back seat for the kids with oo­dles of room left­over for car­ry­ing stuff.

HOW MUCH?

Prices start at $19,990 for the en­try level short wheel­base petrol model ris­ing to $27,990 for the our test ve­hi­cle, the top of the line long wheel­base Kan­goo maxi crew diesel with man­ual trans­mis­sion.

COM­PETI­TORS?

Citroen Ber­lingo, Peu­geot Part­ner and prob­a­bly the Volk­swa­gen Caddy. All come in short and long wheel­base form for around the same kind of money.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The 1.6-litre turbo diesel de­liv­ers 81kW of power and 240Nm of torque and is paired with a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion.

The Re­nault Kan­goo maxi and crew pro­vide an ex­tra 384mm of load area, with an ex­tra three seats in the case of the Crew – all with three-point seat belts.

The two rear doors are slid­ers with barn doors down the back.

HOW DOES IT GO?

Like a rocket. It’s hard to be­lieve that some­thing that looks like this could be so much fun to drive.

IS IT ECO­NOM­I­CAL?

It’s rated at 4.7 litres/100km and we were get­ting 6.6 litres/100m af­ter about 400km which means you are prob­a­bly go­ing to crack 1000km out of a sin­gle 60 litre tank of fuel.

IS IT GREEN?

Gets four out of five stars from the Govern­ment’s Green Ve­hi­cle guide (Prius scores five). There’s even a fully elec­tric model that is be­ing tri­alled by Aus­tralia Post.

The Crew ver­sion fea­tures a fuel sav­ing fea­ture called ECO mode. It re­duces en­gine torque and al­ters the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal map­ping for more con­ser­va­tive throt­tle re­sponse, with claims of up to 10 per cent bet­ter fuel con­sump­tion in the city.

IS IT SAFE?

Kan­goo gets four out of five stars for safety from the Aus­tralian New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gram (ANCAP). With two airbags and op­tional side airbags, along with elec­tronic trac­tion and sta­bil­ity, plus anti-lock brakes with brake as­sist.

IS IT COM­FORT­ABLE?

It’s not un­com­fort­able but we wouldn’t like to be chalk­ing up any long trips. The steer­ing wheel lacks reach ad­just­ment and we could not find any lum­bar ad­just­ment for the driver’s seat.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

Sur­pris­ingly nippy but vi­sion is lim­ited in some sit­u­a­tions. The short, high-mounted gear shift it easy to use and chang­ing gears is not a chore.

En­hanced sound­proof­ing makes this model qui­eter and wind noise has been re­duced thanks to an acous­tic wind­screen and dif­fer­ent pro­file door mir­rors. The de­sign of the en­gine mounts has also been re­vised to min­imise vi­bra­tions.

IS IT VALUE FOR MONEY?

The Crew can carry a 1.3 cu­bic me­tre or 740kg pay­load, with eight tie-down points in the cargo area. With the rear seats folded the ca­pac­ity ex­tends to 4.0 cu­bic me­tres or 830kg. Comes with cloth trim, cli­mate air, 15-inch al­loys, auto lights and wipers, cruise con­trol with speed lim­iter, Blue­tooth and more.

WOULD WE BUY ONE?

It’s amaz­ing how use­ful these lit­tle vans can be if you are al­ways cart­ing stuff around. The ad­di­tion of a sec­ond row of seats adds an ex­tra di­men­sion and means you can pick up the kids if the need arises – a real win-win.

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