The kangaroo Kangoo or: how I learned to love old crap

No teenager expects to become a white-van-man so early in life, let alone a yellow van man. But, like most unusual events, it sort of just happened. Now let me get a few things straight, I was (am) exceptionally lucky to have the use of another car when my '02 MINI failed one of its MOT's. For that, I am eternally grateful. But when that 'other car' is actually a bright yellow, fully branded, ex-National Rail (oh yes, she has a beacon), Renault Kangoo, one can understandably feel a bit embarrassed. Thankfully, it wasn't me that suffered too strongly with the embarrassment- my poor sister on the other hand... Anyway, for a short while, this van was my runabout.

And I h̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ loved it.

Crammed under its backwards French bonnet, is a 1.7-litre chunk of pure, diesel flavoured coal and a steam-train-esque tailpipe to show for it. The billows of black smoke are enough to make Kingdom-Brunel weep. This thing could make a Dodge Bighorn look like a Prius.

When you really stand on it, Ye olde turbo wheezes and sputters into life, expelling what can only be described as a whine for mercy, unleashing a face distorting top speed of 88mph... (use your satnav for this, the speedo doesn't work). But that doesn't matter. When you strip away the urine yellow exterior, the poverty-spec plastic interior and subtract any Renault badge you can find, you're left with, what is in its purest essence, a classic car. For that I respect it. You can keep your E-type, I've got a Kangoo!

The engine is about as reliable as any BL product, the electrical system is comparable to that of a 9th-century monastery, the brakes are on strike half the time and the puddle of water in each footwell after a rainy day (which we get a lot of in Britain), is enough to house a small family of whales. Once the engine has finally cranked into consciousness, the van is so eager to get going, it literally hops along the road in joy, earning its namesake as the "Kangaroo Kangoo". In hindsight, that might have been the engine mounts... Being aged and decrepit, one must exercise a level of mechanical sympathy when operating the old girl. I suppose the biggest similarity to a classic car you can find in the Kangoo, is the amount of cold hard cash you have to sink into it to make it work. It needs a weekly payslip of its own...

"You can keep your E-type, I've got a Kangoo!"

In a conclusion I never thought I would write, what we have here is a modern classic. While it's no Rembrandt to look at, heck, it's not even stick-on-the-fridge worthy, but for those looking to get into classic car motoring without sacrificing fuel economy, load capacity or a certain element of safety-

This is the car, erm, van for you.


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