Renault Kangoo E-Tech long-term test: EV power suits our Small Van of the Year

First report: we’re trying to make the numbers add up in our new electric van

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5


The Kangoo is a neat little van that works well with electric drive. Refinements to the powertrain mean it’s far better than its predecessor – we’ll just have to see how we go when it comes to range.

  • Mileage: 5,923
  • Efficiency: 3.2 miles/kWh

If you’ve always driven petrol and diesel cars and vans, then you’ve probably got a pretty good gauge on how efficient an engine is. Over 40mpg for a petrol car is decent, more than 60mpg for a diesel is becoming the norm. But what about EVs

With miles per gallon thrown out of the window, I’ll have to admit that it’s taken me time to learn how to judge whether an EV powertrain delivers good efficiency or not. I think I’m getting the hang of it now, and I’m currently being helped to understand miles per kilowatt hour with the latest arrival on our fleet, a Kangoo E-Tech.

The Renault scooped our Van of the Year title at the 2023 New Car Awards, and it was helped to overall victory thanks to the fact this second-generation electric variant has been available from launch.

As before, the Kangoo E-Tech features the same running gear as the Zoe electric supermini, so what you’re getting is a tried and tested EV system. There’s a 45kWh battery, which isn’t the biggest on offer in the class, but a WLTP-tested range of 186 miles is 12 miles longer than you’ll get in a Citroen e-Berlingo, for example. However, a revised Berlingo is on the way, and this should improve on those numbers.

Of course, this just tells you how far you’ll go with a fully charged battery, and as with the WLTP test for combustion-engined cars, your own results may vary. For electric vehicles, there’s no standardised economy figure just yet, and while the vast majority of manufacturers quote figures in miles per kilowatt-hour (mi/kWh), Renault doesn’t publish such a number for the Kangoo. Its trip computer does display it, though, and at the moment we’re hitting 3.9mi/kWh.

That’s a pretty good return, and is largely helped by the fact the Kangoo currently only does short local trips at speeds below 40mph, which is where EVs are usually shown in their best light. A quick calculation says that this equates to a real-world range of 176 miles, so only 10 miles short of the official figure, which is pretty good. 

However, the trip computer’s range predictor says a full charge yields around 150 miles. At the moment we’re playing it safe and topping up little and often, rather than letting the battery run down until it’s ‘on fumes’, so to speak. But one day we might try to see which figure is correct.

We’ll have to watch how well the Kangoo holds on to that figure over the next six months, because cold weather often has an impact on EV range. However, this latest version gets a heat pump as standard, so where older models could see 10-12 miles trimmed from the total when the cabin heater is turned on, that’s not the case here.

Need to sell your car?
Find your best offer from over 5,000+ dealers. It’s that easy.

As well as this pump, our Kangoo Advance also features air-conditioning, LED lighting for the cargo area, rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen and an electric handbrake. The latter automatically engages every time you put the van into Park, so there’s no secondary lever or button to engage.

On top of this, our van has been kitted out with some choice extras that make life easier for the driver. One highlight is Rear View Assist. This £600 system is a substitute for a rear-view mirror and it provides a clear view behind, also working well at night, as long as there are street lights. Another neat touch is the double passenger seat, which features a folding backrest that doubles as a table, while adaptive cruise control will help keep our economy figures consistent.

As standard, the Kangoo just gets a driver’s airbag, but kit such as lane assist, active emergency braking and blind-spot detection are all added to our van. It’s a shame that this kind of safety equipment, which is becoming standard on passenger cars, is still only on the extras list, but it will make its way across in time.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the van’s ability so far, but it’s comfortable to drive. The instant power of the electric motor means it’s sprightly off the line, although it soon runs out of steam the faster you go, and it’s worrying to see the range figure drop a mile or so each time you accelerate. We’ll be doing plenty more to put its range claims to the test over the coming months.

Price:£37,075 (excluding VAT, after £5,000 grant)
Powertrain:1x e-motor, 118bhp, 45kWh battery
Options:Active Emergency Brake (£540), Advanced Lane Assist (£660), Blind Spot Intervention (£420), tyre pressure monitors (£120), wooden flooring and side panels (£600), rear camera (£375), Rear View Assist (£600), leather steering wheel (£60), keyless entry (£150), smartphone dock (£20), adaptive cruise (£400)
Insurance Group:34
Any problems?None so far
Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

Most Popular

Ford Transit Custom vs Vauxhall Vivaro: who makes the better mid-size van?
FordFord Transit Custom and Vauxhall Vivaro - face-to-face static (doors closed)
Car group tests

Ford Transit Custom vs Vauxhall Vivaro: who makes the better mid-size van?

Commercial vehicle sales are just as crucial to Ford and Vauxhall as cars. We run the rule over their panel vans
27 Dec 2023
New Range Rover Electric shaping up to be the brand’s most luxurious SUV ever
Range Rover EV - exclusive image

New Range Rover Electric shaping up to be the brand’s most luxurious SUV ever

The new Range Rover Electric is due to go on sale in 2024 and our exclusive image previews how it could look
27 Dec 2023
What are your toy cars worth now? Rare diecast models and iconic vintage collectables valued
Toy car feature - header

What are your toy cars worth now? Rare diecast models and iconic vintage collectables valued

Many of us used to receive model cars at Christmas as kids. We discover the big business of buying and selling these toys today
23 Dec 2023