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Renault Kangoo Maxi

LENGTH AND EFFICIENCY (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

A longer Kangoo van should be just what some operators are looking for. Jonathan Crouch checks out the Maxi model in updated 'Phase II' form.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 47

Well built and easy to drive, the Renault Kangoo has won plenty of friends amongst the UK's small van operators and may continue to do so in improved 'Phase II' guise. In long-wheelbase Maxi form, its load volume increases to 4m3 with a maximum payload of 800kg.

Backgroundword count: 149

There are terrible days in every van driver's life when the cargo that needs to be moved won't fit in the van that has to move it. In such a situation, there are only two realistic ways to go: less cargo or more van. Renault is hoping that it can persuade customers to take that latter option with the Kangoo Maxi. This model is identical to the standard Renault Kangoo in every way: it's just a little bit longer. Renault was already unusual in the compact van market because it offered two versions of its Kangoo van from the outset - the short-wheelbase Kangoo Compact and the lengthier Kangoo. Today, the Kangoo Maxi sits above the Kangoo offering a third load length and a larger carrying capacity. It could be the ideal option for operators looking to minimise the occasions when the things they need to carry won't fit.

Driving Experienceword count: 405

It's the popular 1.5-litre dCi diesel engines that form the basis of the Kangoo Maxi range. These are familiar units used across the manufacturer's line-up and 90bhp or 110bhp versions are offered. The less powerful diesel doesn't move the Kangoo with any great zest and can sound harsh when pushed into the upper realms of the rev range. The 110bhp version feels stronger and is the unit to choose if big mileages are on your agenda. If they're not, then you might want to consider the Z.E. all-electric plug-in version. The Kangoo's underpinnings are borrowed from Renault's Scenic passenger car and these origins are felt out on the road. The ride is more compliant and forgiving over the worst surface imperfections than we've come to expect in a compact van but the flipside is that body-control is a little wayward when you press the Kangoo into corners. The longer wheelbase of the Kangoo Maxi helps it provide a more composed ride and handling package than the shorter options which bounce around far more. On the downside, the turning circle increases with the extra length but most drivers will hardly notice, the Kangoo always feeling manoeuvrable for its size. All models have great forward visibility courtesy of the extensive windscreen and truncated bonnet, while the well-weighted steering and positive gearchange also impress. The main point of access to the cargo area in the Kangoo Maxi is the asymmetrically-split rear doors. These open to a 90 degree angle but releasing a catch inside allows them to swing out to 180 degrees. The sliding side door is also offered and this opens to reveal a 635mm aperture with a tug on the reassuringly chunky handle. There are various bulkhead options including a mesh grill that swings open to increase the payload capacity and a ladder flap is also available so long items can be poked out through the roof at the rear of the van. Eight load lashing points are provided for the securing of cargo. This Renault has been designed to minimise operating costs in all its forms. As well as the economical engines and the long service intervals, the wings are made of a composite material so they're cheaper to repair. Various small design modifications have also been made to cut labour time needed in the repair process. If you really want to minimise your running costs, there's even a 'Z.E.' zero emissions all-electric plug-in version.

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