Friday, April 3, 2015

5k: Documented Migrant: 2007 Renault Kangoo

 If you are looking for a small fuel-efficient car van in the USA, your options are really limited.  It seems that the automotive product planners feel that Americans want some giant overpriced diesel pickup if they own a small delivery service or need a junk hauler.  The fact that Europe, Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas are filled with compact delivery vans is completely ignored by major OEMs, with the exception of Ford who was recently introduced the Transit Connect into the US market.  However if the splash screen on the Ford Transit website that reads "Impressive Horsepower and Torque*" is any indicator, they still don't get that these vehicles are about usability and not driveability.  So, if you want a miserable driver that is wonderful as a compact junk hauler, find this 2007 Renault Kangoo offered for $5,500 in Oxnard, CA via craigslist.

As they used to say in communist Russia, a tool for each job and a job for each tool -- and this isn't the car you use for tackling the Nürburgring.  This is the car (van) you use for hauling your band's drum set around, or hauling race car engines to the machine shop.  It isn't sexy looking, it doesn't need to be fast, or have enough to torque to haul a 28 ft yacht up the Grapevine without slowing down.  

There it is.  It has an engine.  What kind?  Who cares.  Its got some cylinders.  They go boom boom.  With any luck, it is small and will give you good fuel economy.  Heck, its even got a manual gearbox, good for short shifting to save on fuel economy.   The bigger question you should be asking is how on earth does this thing have valid plates and a sticker for California street use.

Slow down.  Don't be in a such a hurry.  Throw a mattress in the back of this thing and just take a nap until traffic dies down.


  1. Neat! Add the NV200 to the list of similar vehicles offered in the US.

    1. And maybe the Ram C/V, I suppose.

    2. And Chevy is selling a rebadged Nissan...

      Notice how I've completely skipped over the part about no way that thing is in the country legally?'re welcome...

    3. You got some 'splainin' to do Chuck 'cuz I no comprende what you just wrote. Are you just referring to the Renault?

  2. Well, what do you know: a recent car that I have had real experience with! My sister-in-law in France has owned the passenger version of the Kangoo for several years. Diesel (due to misguided French tax laws) with a 5-speed. I have driven it many times, both around town and on longer trips. Remarkably spacious, nice upright seating, lots of power, not too many reminders that it is an oil-burner (cuz I hate diesels, in general). Much larger that you might think from the photos. Very easy access, thanks to two sliding side doors. Lots of cargo room. Being a tall vehicle, you might not want to be trying to do four wheel drifts with it, but is really nice to drive.

    So, how did this thing get into the US and get registered?

  3. My '59 Morris Minor van is cuter and easier to get parts for.

  4. I recall reading an interview with Gordon Murray some years ago, think it was a little after the McLaren F1 had hit the streets and he was still doing design work on their F1 team, and he noted that his daily-driver was a Renault Kangoo.


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