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FIRST DRIVE: Renault Kangoo Multix

2004-07-20 11:23

John Oxley

That's the news from Renault SA MD Roland Bouchara, who said the Multix would be especially targeting the Condor at the bottom end of the people-mover market.

The Renault compares favourably on price with the Condor, under-cutting the Toyota product by a smidgin under R30 000, and beats it on performance and economy while offering more features, such as an integrated front loader CD player/radio with satellite "finger-tip" controls, a driver's airbag, and air conditioning as standard.

There's also remote central locking and Renault's RAID immobiliser system.

The Kangoo Multix is fitted with Renault's latest 1.4-litre engine which produces 55 kW at 5 000 r/min and 114 Nm of torque at 2 800 r/min.

According to Renault this translates to a sea level top speed of 153 km/h and 0-100 km/h acceleration of the order of 13.7 seconds, while returning overall fuel consumption of 7.5 litres/100 km. It has a 50 litre fuel tank.

Vast interior

We drove the car on a useful 150 km route around Johannesburg and out towards Heidelberg at the launch of the car on Monday, and even with three large males aboard found it nippy and responsive, despite the power-sapping altitude.

One of its big points is the vast and tall interior.

In the early days of motoring cars were judged on their ability to accommodate passengers wearing a top hat, and if this was the criteria today the Multix would certainly foot the bill.

The tall shape also means great loadability, with some 650 litres of "boot" space under the removable luggage cover, and a ginormous 2 600 litres with the rear seat tumbled forward.

What's more loading the Multix is easy thanks to a low load sill height and its huge lift-up tailgate, which is high enough to stand underneath if you're loading or unloading in a rainstorm!

More pluses come from the pair of sliding rear doors, which are great for loading in tight spaces, and mean when the kids jump out at school they don't block people on the pavement.

And there are lots of spaces for nicknacks inside the car, including a unique shelf at eye height running across the breadth of the vehicle.

Big screen

Driveability is super thanks to the large windscreen and side windows, and the boxy shape makes parking a doddle.

Legroom all round is good, although bigger people might find the back seat a trifle narrow.

Renault has kept the price of the Multix down by limiting its standard features to those judged most popular, but the car can be specced up.

This means you can replace the one-piece rear seat with a 60/40 split item, you can add in ABS brakes (with electronic brake force distribution) and a second airbag, (for R6 000) and you can add electric windows and mirrors as well as a carpeted load area - the standard is rubber.

There's also an optional boot partition net.

Only one version of the Multix is currently available, although Renault revealed others may be added later according to demand. However, the 4x4 version - popular overseas - won't come here.

The Kangoo Multix comes with a 3 year/100 000 km warranty, while a 3 year/60 000 km maintenance plan can be bought for R6 650.

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