Driving report: Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric: A round thing

Anyone who thinks of a high-roof station wagon usually sees a Renault Kangoo in their mind's eye.

Driving report: Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric: A round thing

Anyone who thinks of a high-roof station wagon usually sees a Renault Kangoo in their mind's eye. Based on a popular 1990s ad, maybe even one that gets a rhino emotionally flushed. The basic design and genes of the Kangoo have remained largely unchanged for decades, because it is practical, variable and accompanies the family in its highly varied development with powerful sliding doors and countless shelves. But not only the price-conscious family with at least two children likes the high-built French ski boot, but also craftsmen, because the commercial vehicle version is hardly less popular with tradespeople. In contrast to the passenger car variant, the previous version was already available as an electric version.

Families with one to three children can now also look forward to this, because just like the sister models Mercedes EQT and Nissan Townstar, the high-roof model from France is perfect for an electric drive, since top speed, long ranges and luxury equipment do not play a significant role if the Children have to be taken to school or bulk purchases have to be transported home. Therefore, obvious disadvantages such as a manageable range of 285 kilometers or a top speed of 130 km/h, which is too narrow, hardly matter when it comes to the purchase decision. Even with electric drive, the Renault Kangoo is one you can rely on. Children in the back seat, luggage or shopping in the hold and quickly on to the next appointment in the city.

The 4.49 meter long Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric is perfect for the city and urban environment, and here the electric motor on the front axle with its 90 kW / 122 PS / 245 Nm torque is always sufficient. Admittedly, the maximum speed of 132 km/h is thin, if there is to be a weekend trip to the Eifel or the Rhön; also because it is too thin with the propulsion from Tempo 110 and overtaking should be well prepared. This applies more than ever in Eco mode, when instead of 122 only 75 HP and 110 km/h are provided in order to maximize the range. However, if you do your day's work alone in the city, you can make solid progress in Eco mode with three recuperation levels without becoming a traffic obstacle. In contrast to the normal Kangoo with a combustion engine, the driver feels the heavier weight of a mighty 1.8 tons, the tight cushioning of the damping, especially on the front axle, and the very smooth and quite callous steering. However, that shouldn't bother anyone. On the other hand, people are happy to do without manual switching operations and are happy about the two displays with seven and eight inch diagonals.

The central driving information such as speed, range or driving mode is displayed simply and clearly behind the wheel. In the middle of the dashboard, the occupants can see the navigation map, sound system and comfort functions on an admittedly rather coarse-pixel screen, while their own smartphone is clipped in next to it – fits. Practical, clear, Kangoo. The space available is also more than decent in the initially available version with a normal wheelbase. The XL variant, which is 25 centimeters longer, will follow at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the lithium-ion battery in the underbody takes up a lot of space, so tall people have to sit in the second row with bent legs. However, this should hardly bother children up to 1.50 meters when they have the tablet in their hands or are playing on the smartphone. The rear seat can be folded down as usual or moved up to 14 centimeters in length. Especially in the interior, the family friend can score as usual. There are deductions for the fact that the sliding doors or the tailgate cannot be operated electrically if desired, as has been offered in the USA for many years, for example even in inexpensive family vans. It is also incomprehensible why there is no sensible seat heating in the rear, which is part of the standard package in most electric cars, so that the occupants quickly feel comfortable despite the electric drive.

The 45 kWh battery in the underbody lasts around 300 kilometers in warm temperatures, depending on the area of ​​use. More than this moderate range for a vehicle of the year 2023, the untimely charging speed is annoying, because a maximum of 80 kW can hardly be described as fast charging if you are traveling longer distances and have to top up. 11 kW charging power alone is also standard. 22 kW and 80 kW fast charging are only available for an extra charge, which should bother not only private users, but also businesses who want to charge between customer appointments. After all, the power connection is within easy reach at the front of the radiator grille behind the brand signet.

As practical as the Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric is, potential customers have to get used to one thing, just like with all other electric cars: the handsome price. Because even the moderately equipped basic model costs at least 39,300 euros. However, only the variant of the Kangoo E-Tech Electric Techno with 22 kW / 80 kW charging option, which costs at least 43,500 euros, makes sense. With a heated windscreen, steering wheel heating, adaptive cruise control, multimedia system and parking aid, the 45,000 euro mark is easily broken. The 130 hp petrol engine starts at 27,000 euros.