Available in short-, medium-, and long-wheelbase guise, today’s Renault Kangoo offers a lot more choice than its one-size-fits-all predecessors. Steve Banner reports
Prior to the latest model’s launch at the Amsterdam Commercial Vehicle show in 2007 – the long-wheelbase variant arrived slightly later than its stablemates – the Kangoo was up for grabs solely with a 2.7cu/m load box that could be extended to 3.0cu/m if you folded the front seat forwards and swivelled the bulkhead, an optional facility.
Payload capacities ranged from 600-800kg depending on the version selected, with most buyers favouring the 1.5-litre dCi common rail diesel at 60, 70 or 85hp.
Those common-rail diesels are reasonably frugal. A What Van? road test of an 800kg-payload Kangoo with the 85hp engine returned a perfectly respectable 49mpg. In the same test we praised the van’s abilities as a high-speed motorway cruiser and applauded its handling, but we were less happy about its ride and in-cab noise levels. We also suspected that the light-grey interior would become very grubby very quickly, but welcomed the amount of storage space provided.
Also sold by Nissan as the Kubistar – although never in vast numbers – the old Kangoo was popular both with fleets and small to medium-size businesses. As a consequence there are plenty of used examples around, some of which are powered by the earlier 1.9-litre diesel. Watch out too for the 4x4 model and for petrol variants, including the 1.2-litre at 75hp and the 1.6-litre at 95hp. They may make suitable subjects for conversions that will allow them to run on cheap, environmentally friendly, LPG.
So what do you need to look for if you are buying a second-hand Kangoo? For a kick-off, examine the service record and ensure that the cam belt has been changed on schedule. Changing regimes vary. In some cases you may be looking at four years and 45,000 miles, in others five years and 72,000 miles, with a 36,000-mile interval sometimes advised if the van has been used on a lot of short-haul, stop-start local delivery work. Failure to change the cam belt on time runs the risk that it will let you down and do considerable damage to the engine in the process. If the work hasn’t been done on the Kangoo you should then ensure the vendor knocks £200 to £300 off the asking price.
Leave the Kangoo you are considering for 15 minutes then check the ground beneath the engine to see if there are any tell-tale drops of water. If there are, then the water pump is probably leaking – a reasonably likely scenario if the van has covered more than 70,000 miles – and will need changing. Get the asking price reduced by at least £350 and remember that because of the work involved it may make sense to change the cam belt at the same time. Also check the front brake discs. If they are pitted or show signs of uneven wear,
then they too will need changing along with the pads – that’s £200 you need to get sliced off the price.
Sample the clutch pedal action. The Kangoo’s clutch is not always the most durable of components, especially if the van has been on city centre delivery work with the driver constantly changing gear, and there is every chance it will need swapping, especially if the van is high-mileage.
The Kangoo’s central locking remotes aren’t always that reliable, so ensure that the one you’re holding is working properly. Get the price cut by £100 if it isn’t or ask for it to be replaced.
Van exterior mirrors are bashed regularly, so check for signs of damage. If they’re heated then a wallop could have broken the temperature sensor and the entire mirror will need changing if you want it to defrost on a cold winter morning, for which a £60 allowance is only fair.
So how much should you pay for your second-hand Kangoo? Around £2000-£3000 should allow you to pick up a decent one depending on whether you are buying at auction or from a dealer.
At a recent sale organised by auctioneer Manheim, a 1.5 dCi with 63,000 miles, 2006-vintage on a 06 plate, fetched almost £1800. A similar model on a 56 plate and with 61,000 miles on the clock sold for £1600, while a 2007 example on a 07 plate (71,000 miles) sold for just over £1800.
Over at auctioneer BCA, a 2005-vintage 55-registered 1.5 dCi Kangoo that had covered 51,000 miles sold for £2050. A 2007 example on a 07 plate with 65,000 miles to its name sold for £2000.
• All price negotiation reductions come courtesy of second-hand van market specialist UsedVanExpert. Visit www.UsedVanExpert.co.uk for more advice and information.