Auto added to Kangoo Maxi range

Albany Extra - - News - Derek Og­den

In dan­ger of be­ing left be­hind, the Re­nault Kangoo Maxi has fi­nally joined the light van con­voy of the likes of the Citroen Berlingo, Fiat Doblo and Volk­swa­gen Caddy with the ad­di­tion of an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

This will be good news for the Kangoo driver, who un­til now has spent his or her time con­stantly shift­ing gear in heavy traf­fic or hilly go­ing. I con­tinue to take my hat off to the city van driver, who un­til now and the auto up­grade, de­served bet­ter.

The Kangoo Maxi 1.5 tur­bod­iesel on test comes to mar­ket at an at­trac­tive $29,990, plus on-road costs, a $3000 pre­mium over the man­ual model.

A three-year 200,000km war­ranty adds fur­ther ap­peal for the cost-con­scious op­er­a­tor.

Styling is in line with the man­ual Kangoo Maxi, with an up­right stance, snub nose and ab­sence of sharp edges. Not that the soft looks de­tract from the char­ac­ter of a busi­ness-like cargo car­rier.

A ro­bust front with bold hor­i­zon­tal chrome work and maker’s badge as a fo­cus an­nounce the ar­rival of an un­mis­tak­able Re­nault. Wide, easy slid­ing doors on both sides make for con­ve­nience when load­ing in con­fined spa­ces. Asym­met­ric open­ing rear doors of­fer quick ac­cess.

In­side is plain but far from sparse-look­ing, with the Re­nault’s cen­tre dash dom­i­nated by the air­con­di­tion­ing out­lets and con­trols.

A nice touch is that the fan and tem­per­a­ture are in­te­grated in one large knob; it’s easy to reach and sim­ple to op­er­ate.

The down­side, lit­er­ally, is the positioning of the au­dio sys­tem be­low the air-con set-up. It’s a fair shift of the eyes off the road to read and switches are small and fid­dly.

Seats are firm and of­fer some side sup­port on quicker cor­ners. Up­hol­stery is light and modern, as are all cabin sur­round­ings. How­ever, grime could be a fac­tor in looks a few years down the track of heavy work.

An echo of yes­ter­year comes from an au­dio sys­tem with AM/FM ra­dio, MP3, even a CD player, and steer­ing wheel-mounted con­trols.

The 1.5-litre turbo-diesel en­gine leaves max­i­mum power of 81kW un­til well into the rev range at 4000 rpm, while top torque of 240Nm comes in at a rel­a­tively low 1750 rpm. The maker’s claim of fuel con­sump­tion of 4.7L/100km on the com­bined ur­ban/high­way cy­cle was pretty much borne out by the test ve­hi­cle’s record­ing 6.0 litres in city driv­ing and 4.1 on the open road with a light load.

Ride and han­dling is good for a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle, the Re­nault Kangoo of­fer­ing a smooth ride on rocky roads with cor­ner­ing only im­prov­ing as cargo was loaded up.

There was some drum­ming from the rear, es­pe­cially when empty. The solution? Turn up the ra­dio.

From the com­pany that has been the maker of Europe’s num­ber one van range 18 years in a row, it’s been an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic slow take-up of the auto gear­box.

Now the Kangoo Maxi is back on track to take on the best in class.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Re­nault Kangoo Maxi’s styling is in line with the up­right stance, snub nose and ab­sence of sharp edges of the man­ual Kangoo Maxi.

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