Traveling with a family around Europe? If you're staying 21 days or more and want a vehicle, a good choice may be the unique and economical Kangoo, above.
I'm a fan of the Kangoo, as I'll detail in following pages. But first, some background about getting one. We sampled the Kangoo through one of the "Car Lease Buy-Back" programs offered by two French car manufacturers, Renault and Peugeot. Advantages over car rental include:
- comprehensive zero-deductible insurance coverage
- brand-new vehicle
- low daily rates
- unlimited mileage
- travel in over 26 countries
- more liberal minimum/maximum driver's age
- pickup in one city/country, dropoff in another one
The logic behind these car "leases" is brilliant: in France, the purchase tax on a used car is much less than on a new vehicle. Renault (and Peugeot) "lease" new cars to tourists, and can then sell these "used" cars in Europe at competitive prices.
Note that only non-Europeans can do these "buy-leases"! Read more about Renault Eurodrive Car Lease Buy-Back, which offers the Kangoo and other models.
And now, a tour of the Kangoo's virtues for family travelers...
Always check company web sites for updates!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.
Kangoo - photo side view
Above: one of the best features about the Kangoo are the sliding side doors.
Kangoo - passenger front seat
Can you make out the gear-shift, between the seats? Remember that most European cars are standard shift.
The Kangoo, at time of writing, is only available with manual (non-automatic) transmissions. (Check latest models.) Other Renault vehicles are available with automatic gear shifting.
Tip: if you need an automatic, be sure to make this clear right away whenever you do a car rental of any sort in Europe. You may pay a somewhat higher rate.
Kangoo - photo, back seat
The back seat comfortably seated three people, including two big teenagers.
Kangoo - photo, rear storage
I worried that "the boot", as they say, wouldn't hold all the luggage for five people on a month-long trip, but the rear storage was very roomy. One of the back seats can fold up, too.
Kangoo - photo, drivers' seat
You can pick up, and drop off, your Kangoo, at many cities; for cities utside France, though, you'll pay an extra charge.
Kangoo - photo, dashboard and overhead storage
At the top of the photo, you can see the handy "parcel shelf", where you can store maps, guidebooks, etc. The doors have "map pockets", good for much more.
Kangoo - photo, overhead storage
Our 2004 model, pictured above, ] had terrific side compartments, called "aviation lockers", because they open and close like the overhead storage on airplanes.
In 2008, we again rented a Kangoo and instead of side compartments, the overhead storage went across the door, above the front seats, in a position to be reached from the rear seats.
I'd love to see these type of features on North American cars!
Renault Eurodrive - Kangoo 2008
In 2008, we did another "Eurotrip" and again opted for the Kangoo. This model was larger, and felt a bit more like an SUV. However, it did maintain the main features we loved: the sliding side doors (-why don't we have a model like this in North America?); the surprisingly roomy interior and rear storage space; and clever overhead storage.
Renault Espace minivan
Renault has many other models, including station wagons, and minivans. Minivans aren't as common in Europe, so expect to pay more for this type of vehicle.
On a previous trip, my family had a five-seat Espace minivan (above), which was very comfortable and had some nifty features, like two fold-down trays (airplane-style) for those in the backseat.