Pros: standard heat pump, fast charging, overall design
Cons: affordability, no ‘Open Sesame’ function for Ireland
Renault is hoping to steal a march on its competitors in the LCV segment with its all-new Kangoo. In addition to models with diesel engines, there is also a battery-powered version called E-Tech Electric that could be a very appealing prospect for businesses and tradespeople looking to reduce their emissions and running costs.
Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric Design
With the introduction of the latest Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric comes an all-new exterior look and an interior that is much more modern. It brings it in line with the rest of Renault’s commercial vehicle range that also includes the Trafic and Master. Available in two lengths with the ability to carry up to 800kg, it features twin rear doors and several clever storage solutions.
Load volume isn’t adversely affected by the electric powertrain as the battery is designed to be accommodated within the floor allowing for 3.9 cubic metres in the L1 model and 4.9 cubic metres in the longer L2 version.
One of the most innovative aspects of the new Kangoo’s design is what Renault calls ‘Open Sesame’. Sadly, this design option isn’t available on right-hand-drive models, but it merits mention anyway. On the passenger side, the front and sliding side door open to reveal one large open space due to the removal of the traditional centre pillar, which is now integrated into the doors. Doing so creates a 1.45-metre side opening that is great for loading bulky items.
Meanwhile, the battery charge port is located behind the Renault badge on the front grille, making it easy to access both rapid DC chargers and kerbside public chargers.
Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric Interior
For many drivers, the interior of the Kangoo doubles up as an office during the day, so Renault has made many improvements to both the layout and the quality of the materials inside. The standard dashboard is made up of two analogue dials for power usage and speed, with a central 4.2-inch digital display that provides additional trip computer information.
The steering wheel comes from Renault’s passenger car side and is much nicer looking than in some other van offerings. Given how much contact drivers have with it the high quality of the materials used is welcome. A sensible approach to the layout of the centre console sees the drive selector positioned up high and within easy reach, with physical climate controls ahead of that and the colour touchscreen sitting up at the top of the dashboard.
A decent amount of storage is available in the door bins, between the front seats and in a practical drawer-style glovebox. The passenger seat can also fold flat to double up as a desk. With 12-volt power sockets and USB charge ports there are plenty of ways to keep your various devices topped up throughout the day. Another plus of the Kangoo is that it supports cabin preconditioning, which gets the interior up (or down) to temperature while it is still plugged into the charger. And staying warm on the move puts less of a dent on the range thanks to the fitment of an efficient heat pump.
Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric Performance & Drive
Only one electric powertrain is available in the Kangoo E-Tech. It consists of a 45kWh battery and a 90kW (120hp) motor. That drives the front wheels through a single-speed automatic gearbox. The pulling power is reasonable thanks to the motor’s 245Nm of torque available right from the off, so the Kangoo never feels slow.
Another big plus of the Kangoo E-Tech Electric is how much smoother and quieter it is in comparison to a diesel van. That automatic transmission is impressively smooth with a steady and linear power delivery. We loaded our van up with 150kg of weight and it was able to deal with it very easily. The overall driving range without a load is 300 kilometres, but that figure will of course change depending on the cargo being carried and how the van is driven.
Many people might only consider the Kangoo E-Tech Electric for shorter daily journeys and delivery tasks in urban areas, but long distances aren’t much of an issue either, as the Renault comfortably cruises at motorway speed. Around town there are several settings for the regenerative braking, with the strongest doing a decent job of scrubbing off speed while putting energy back into the battery.
Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric Pricing
Pricing for the new Kangoo E-Tech Electric has not yet been announced, but with the outgoing model having a starting price of €30,005 (including taxes) and a smaller battery, it’s likely that the new van will come with a price increase.
Carzone Verdict: 4/5
There’s a lot to like about the new Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric. Besides the useful driving range and reasonably fast charging, the interior cabin is much nicer than before. Driving it reveals a van that is much more solid and robust than before, too, and it has an overall quality that is an improvement over its predecessor. While the likely cost of entry may deter some, the benefits of lower running costs and potential for more uptime are positives in the longer term.