Renault Kangoo 1-5 dCi Authentique

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Keywords: Renault Kangoo 1-5 dCi Authentique

Description: Renault's Kangoo 1.5-litre dCi 68 Authentique Provides A Much Needed Entry-Level Diesel In This Popular Range. Steve Ghosley Reports. When Renault put seats and rear windows in one of their best

Renault's Kangoo 1.5-litre dCi 68 Authentique Provides A Much Needed Entry-Level Diesel In This Popular Range. Steve Ghosley Reports.

When Renault put seats and rear windows in one of their best selling vans and marketed the result as a family MPV, little did they realise what a hit this car would become on this side of the Channel. With sales continuing to break new records in the UK, this very practical, if not wonderfully attractive, vehicle is carving itself out a growing number of adoring fans. Vans have come along way in recent years, gaining passenger car creature comforts that were once denied the working man. These days, light commercial vehicles can come with air-conditioning, satellite navigation and CD players, so it's not such a big step for manufacturers like Renault to convert their commercial vehicles into practical family movers.

The Kangoo took a while to catch on in the UK as the British motoring public first had to overcome its natural aversion to driving its loved ones around in the back of a builder's van. It didn't take them long, however, to realise that the concept made sense both in terms of practicality and safety. For active families, the Kangoo offers the luxury of a comfortable medium size car with the added advantage that it can be easily transformed into a load-carrying vehicle with a capacious interior.

An entry-level diesel model like the Kangoo 1.5-litre dCi 68 Authentique we look at here is absolutely idea for the cost-conscious modern family. Retailing at just £11,165 on the road, this Kangoo offers families on a budget the option of modern diesel power and economy at a very affordable price. Admittedly, in Authentique guise, the creature comforts are limited to remote central locking, power-assisted steering, driver's and passenger's airbag, ABS brakes, tinted windows and a radio/CD player but you do get a car with a four star Euro NCAP safety rating.

"The Kangoo's chassis is based on that of the latest model Clio, which means that it's wonderfully agile around town."

One of the best features of the Kangoo are the sliding side doors. Anyone who has returned to their car parked in a supermaket carpark only to find that tell-tale dent in the side of their vehicle will appreciate the benefits of these doors in the hands of young children as opposed to conventionally opening ones. I know that I always feel more secure parking next to a Kangoo than I do next to a conventional mini-MPV.

The first things many will notice about the Kangoo are the huge elliptical headlamps that rise high into the front wings. The bonnet features a bold crease down the middle and the front grille is now of the latest Renault family face. The rear door mouldings are a good deal beefier and the protective strips running down the sides are bigger and tougher.

The Kangoo's chassis is based on that of the latest model Clio, which means that it's wonderfully agile around town, with light quick power steering, short gearing and great visibility through those huge windows. It isn't quite as confident as its supermini stable mate on the open road however - for many of the same reasons. The short gearing means you have to swap cogs regularly and the tall, thin, glassy profile can make it a little susceptible to crosswinds.

In addition to offering twin front airbags and ABS, Renault have beefed up side protection in the doors. Pretensioning seatbelts and ISOFIX child seat attachments all hint at why Renault have been consistently outscoring all other manufacturers in terms of safety provision. Even Volvo. Passive safety has been a big focus for Renault in the development of this car and the engineers have developed a keen awareness of what items should be rigidly mounted and what should retain some give. Therefore there are stiff bulkheads and seat frames, plus absorbent padded doors and a collapsible steering column. This new model is the only car with a four star Euro NCAP safety rating compared to its immediate rivals the Citroen Berlingo, Fiat Doblo and the Peugeot Partner.

The Kangoo 1.5-litre dCi 68 Authentique gets a 1.5-litre common-rail turbo diesel that develops a useful 68bhp. The added power of the diesel unit is a welcome feature for a vehicle of this type as it tends to be used for moving either large loads or lots of people, yet it will still return over 51.4mpg on the combined cycle. It's fairly utilitarian inside - though that's intentional: you can clean the interior with a hose if you really want to. If necessary, the rear bench pivots forward to convert the Kangoo from people carrier to a 2,500-litre estate. Moreover, thanks to those sliding side doors, it's a lot easier to access the space. Versatility is helped by the airline-style overhead bins and side bins with a total volume of 100-litres plus there's the usual exterior plastic protection that makes a sideswipe of a farmer's gate that little bit more insurance-friendly.

The running costs of the Kangoo have been kept deliberately low by design. It sits nicely in insurance group 4E thanks to the emphasis on safety and the servicing intervals are at 18,000 miles or every two years. Buyers of the Kangoo 1.5-litre dCi 68 Authentique will also benefit from a three-year/60,000 mile warranty and three years of free Renault Roadside Assistance.

The Renault Kangoo 1.5-litre dCi 68 Authentique is a welcome addition to the Kangoo range. It may not have all the bells and whistles that others offer but nevertheless it does provide an economical, practical and safe option for a family on a budget. A diesel MPV for under ten grand can't be bad.



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