You might think the Renault Kangoo Be Bop is a concept vehicle what with its quirky looks and trick sliding roof. You can credit the quirky styling to it being a Renault, an automaker not known for producing bland production designs. As for the rear roof panel that slides forward to create a van-vertible, that's a direct carryover from the concept on which the Kangoo Be Bop is faithfully based: the Kangoo Compact Concept that debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. The production Be Bop maintains the two-door van layout of the concept, and the ceiling is now comprised of two tilting glazed glass panels up front, one fixed glass panel in the middle, and an opaque roof panel in the rear that lifts up and forward to create an open air experience for back seat passengers. Letting even more light in are expansive side windows, so despite being tiny in dimension, the Be Bop shouldn't feel confining to its passengers. The rear seats can also be removed to increase cargo capacity, and Renault says that passengers can even enter the vehicle through the open rear gate and slide between the rear seats. Power will come from three engines: an 85-hp 1.5L dCi and 105-hp dCi, both of which are paired with a six-speed manual, and a gas-powered 105-hp 1.6L four-cylinder. It's quirky, oddly functional and definitely French, and Europeans will be able to buy a Kangoo Be Bop of their very own this Spring.
RENAULT UNVEILS NEW KANGOO BE BOP
- New Kangoo be bop becomes third model in New Kangoo range, following five-door car and van versions
- Compact yet spacious, with stylish two-tone exterior and raised ground clearance to appeal to active urban dwellers
- Contemporary interior with four MPV-style seats and contrasting upholsteries
- Innovative features such as sliding rear tailgate window and glazed roof
- Three engines available: 1.5 dCi 85 and 105, plus one petrol: 1.6 105. dCi 85 version is eco2
- Set to launch in UK in Spring 2009
The latest Renault is ideal for customers who want to move away from the norm, with a car that expresses their 'joie de vivre'.
A truly original reworking of a show car
Kangoo be bop came into being in the wake of the enthusiasm shown for the Kangoo Compact Concept show car at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. A compact leisure vehicle with an original design and strong personality, Kangoo Compact Concept showed that an unusual car could appeal to active urban dwellers who share the values of fun and friendship. In addition to its design, the originality of the concept lay in its extensive glazed area and unique convertibility solutions, with the emphasis firmly on space and light. Kangoo be bop's designers have succeeded in producing a production model which echoes the strengths and features of the concept car.
Kangoo be bop has the familiar Kangoo front end with its short bonnet and droplet-shaped headlamps. Light floods into the cabin through the sweeping, steeply raked windscreen for outstanding visibility. It differs from its five-door sibling by being even shorter (less than four metres in length), as well as through some original styling details, such as the black headlamp masks, new bumpers, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Ground clearance has been raised 20mm compared with New Kangoo, while protective side mouldings lend the look of an 'urban adventurer', ready to confront the great outdoors. Its robust, expressive lines are energized by the standard two-tone colour scheme handed down from the concept car. The bonnet, grille, door mirrors, front bumper bib and tailgate panel are Cosmic Grey, while the rest of the bodywork is available in one of three other colours: black, orange or white.
Another similarity is the elongated, semi-circular form of the side windows, which make Kangoo be bop instantly recognisable. The large tailgate window slides right out of sight into the door. It is operated by a switch on the instrument panel or by a third button on the ignition key, and makes it possible to access the boot without having to unlock the car or open the tailgate. The system naturally incorporates an anti-pinch safety function.
Kangoo be bop features the same convertible roof configuration seen on the concept car, with a fully glazed, forward-sliding panel at the rear. With the rear section of the roof and rear window in the open position, Renault Kangoo be bop's rear passengers are able to enjoy the delights of open-air motoring. The roof opens at an angle which creates a deflecting effect to prevent bothersome turbulence while on the move. Its 'open' and 'closed' positions are secured by two side locks. It opens independently of the tailgate with the help of two small arms.
The wide, fixed central glazed panel contributes to the cabin's brightness, while the two front tilting glass panels ensure that front-seat occupants also get a taste of the open air. Even when open, the panels do not interfere with the forward-sliding rear roof. The glazed roof panels have all been treated to filter out the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Although Kangoo be bop's dashboard and front seats are the same as New Kangoo's, the rear features two individual, raised seats which make the interior feel like a four-seater lounge.
The different exterior colour schemes and interior trim are reminders that Renault Kangoo be bop is at home in the city as it is on jaunts in the great outdoors and can look either 'chic' or 'fun'. Its chic look is derived from the black or white body colours, combined with the red and black upholstery and dark charcoal dashboard. The fun-loving be bop comes in orange with silver, blue, and orange upholstery. The white instrument backgrounds and satin-finish chrome climate control console further emphasise the exclusive feel of the car's interior.
For the first time in the New Kangoo range, be bop can be ordered with Carminat Bluetooth® CD satellite navigation. In addition to its attractive price, this system offers all the fundamental multimedia features, namely GPS navigation with traffic information, a 16/9 seven-inch colour display and Bluetooth® connectivity.
Kangoo be bop features numerous travel accessories that mark it out as a car for getting away from it all. An optional luggage/roof rail above the tailgate window can be used for carrying long items such as surfboards, while a range of decals and stickers allows customers to customise their Renault Kangoo be bop. If they wish, occupants can to listen to their own playlists thanks to the multi-function TunePoint option which is located in the glovebox and has USB, MP3 player, and iPod® connection ports and is controlled via the steering wheel-mounted fingertip remote control. Rounding off the multimedia equipment is the hands-free Bluetooth® telephone control.
A unique travelling experience
Despite its compact exterior dimensions, Renault's latest model affords an amazingly generous, warm living space. The emphasis is on space and light. Its extensive 3.9 sq. metres of glazed area (roof and windows) flood the cabin with light. Front occupants benefit from the sweeping windscreen inherited from New Kangoo, while the large, semi-circular side windows heighten the rear passengers' sense of travelling comfort, reminiscent of the tranquility afforded by a modern high-speed train such as Eurostar. The rear windows also permit excellent three-quarter rear vision for manoeuvring and overtaking.
All four passengers benefit from individual seats which enable them to fully appreciate the journey experience. The front seats are as spacious as those of New Kangoo and benefit from 1,510mm of elbowroom, as wide as anything on the market, while the ergonomically designed driver's seat is worthy of the best MPVs. Although the dashboard's colour scheme and materials are different from those of New Kangoo, its forms, as well as its ease and comfort of use are identical. Deeply recessed below the dashboard lip, the displays are always shaded from the light and easy to read. The gearlever on the centre console falls naturally to hand, as do the very short stalk switches and audio remote control. The radio display screen is also remote for greater comfort. Thanks to its original aviation-style design, the handbrake frees up an appreciable nine litres of stowage space in the armrest between the two front seats. Very special attention has been paid to the quality and finish of materials used.
Rear passengers enjoy unique travelling comfort. The individual seats are inspired by those of Scénic. They are fore/aft-adjustable, removable and their backs can be reclined. Mounted 9cm higher than the front seats, they produce an amphitheatre arrangement that affords an impressive 180° panoramic view. Looking out through the glazed roof and sweeping side windows from the rear seats, passengers experience a heightened sense of comfort and space. On each side is a wide armrest with two deep, easily accessible stowage bins, one of which can be closed. Rounding off the outstanding comfort at the rear are the loudspeakers mounted in the side panels. The model's spaciousness is reflected in impressive figures worthy of luxury segment vehicles: elbowroom 1,220mm and kneeroom 250mm, while at 998mm, headroom is far superior to that of rival leisure vehicles. Rear passengers can conveniently slip their belongings into the 24cm space between the two seats. Passengers can access the rear seats in one of two ways.
The first is through the front doors, using a handle that folds down the back of the front seats and slides them out of the way. It is easier to get in on the passenger side, where the seat slides further forward than on the driver's side. Passengers can also climb into the rear seats through the open tailgate and the gap between the rear seats, which affords ample space. Children will particularly enjoy climbing into the car in this way. Indeed tailgate access is facilitated by the low sill and bumper which can take weights of up to 100kg. The tailgate incorporates a handle that can be used to pull it shut from the inside. Reassuringly for parents however, it cannot be opened from the inside.
The rear of the car is fully modular. The capacity of the luggage compartment ranges from 174 to 1,462 litres depending on whether the seats are in their rearmost position or removed altogether. Like Scénic, the rear seats can be folded and tipped forward with a built-in notching system to hold them in place. It is also extremely straightforward to remove one or both seats to free up additional carrying capacity. Luggage can then be placed either on them or in the space left by the seats. Two side anchorage points help hold items in place when the car is moving.
When the rear window (operated by a driver's side switch or a button on the ignition key) has slid away into the tailgate, the car can be loaded without opening the tailgate, e.g. when doing some quick shopping or if the car is too tightly parked to open the tailgate. Two hooks on the left of the luggage compartment are intended for hanging small bags. The tailgate has two open positions: an intermediary one for accessing the luggage compartment in a restricted space, and an 85° opening for full access to the luggage compartment. And with the glazed rear roof and tailgate window both open, Renault Kangoo be bop's carrying capacity is further extended to take even more luggage or tall loads, while longer items can be attached to the luggage rail which is available as an accessory.
At home in town and country
At only 3.87 metres in length, Renault Kangoo be bop is perfectly at home in towns and cities. Its wheelbase is 38cm shorter than that of five-door New Kangoo, giving a significantly reduced turning circle. Kangoo be bop can be turned round between kerbs just 9.7 metres apart, making it as agile as the most manoeuvrable city car.
Nevertheless, it is always ready to head out into the wide open spaces. Like New Kangoo, it benefits from Scénic's chassis, which lends it remarkable dynamic performance qualities that are quite exceptional for such a compact vehicle.
Kangoo be bop's front and rear track, which are 1.52m and 1.53m wide respectively, make it remarkably stable. It shares Scénic's suspension: MacPherson type with rectangular lower arm and anti-roll bar at the front and, a programmed deflection torsion beam with coil springs and anti-roll bar at the rear. The entire chassis is designed for cornering stability and reassuring handling. With its wide, 16-inch alloy wheels it holds the road with precision, while the dimensions of its four ventilated brake discs (280mm at the front, 274mm at the rear) ensure prompt, efficient stopping power.
A vehicle for leisure and pleasure, Kangoo be bop is powered by engines that yield genuine driveability and which are robust, economical, and kind to the environment. Three engines are available at launch (depending on country), including two diesel powerplants – the 1.5 85hp dCi and the 105hp dCi with six-speed gearbox – and the petrol 105hp 1.6 16V unit.
The dCi 85hp, which delivers peak power at 3,750rpm, is particularly versatile. With 200Nm of torque available from 1,900rpm, it is equally at home in urban environments as it is on the open road. With this powerplant, Kangoo be bop ensures a fine balance between performance and its combined cycle fuel consumption of 53.3 mpg. This is equivalent to CO2 emissions of just 140g/km, making this version of Kangoo be bop eligible for the Renault eco2 signature.
With the more powerful version of the 1.5 dCi, which also equips Clio, Modus, Mégane, Scénic and New Laguna, Kangoo be bop benefits from maximum power of 105hp at 4,000rpm, as well as 240Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Thanks to its second-generation common rail injection, variable geometry turbo and 1,600-bar injector pressure, this powerplant yields nimble performance for combined cycle fuel consumption of 52.3 mpg (142g of CO2/km) thanks to its piezo-electric injectors and six-speed manual gearbox. Noise is minimal thanks to a twin-mass flywheel damper which reduces boom at low engine revs.
The 1.6 16V petrol engine develops 105hp at 5,750rpm and maximum torque of 148Nm at 3,750rpm. It delivers outstanding driveability and low combined cycle fuel consumption (35.8 mpg) thanks to the use of lightweight materials and a timing system with roller cam followers.
Whether on city streets or open country roads, occupants will be reassured by Renault Kangoo be bop's safety credentials, with active safety on a par with that of a family saloon. It is equipped with Bosch ABS incorporating electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist and automatic activation of hazard lights. Bosch ESP 8.0, combined with understeer control, comes as standard.
ASR traction control and an engine torque overrun regulation function ensure the car is able to pull away and drive in conditions where grip is at a premium and also prevent wheel-lock in the event of sudden loss of traction on slippery surfaces.
Numerous driver aid systems come as standard on Renault Kangoo be bop. These include cruise control with speed limiter, automatic headlights and wipers and rear parking sensors.
To enable occupants to travel in safety, Renault Kangoo be bop has inherited New Kangoo's body structure, made of steel and materials that absorb and dissipate impact energy. Its front seatbelts are equipped with pyrotechnic pretensioners to hold occupants safely in place in the event of a collision. All seatbelts incorporate load limiters calibrated to optimise protection of the thorax. Kangoo be bop is available with up to four airbags, two front airbags and two thorax airbags.
To reduce the risk of groin injury in the event of a head-on collision, the front seats are equipped with anti-submarining humps. Renault Kangoo be bop is also equipped with a retractable brake pedal to prevent injury to the driver's ankle.
As part of the ongoing quest for greater safety and comfort, Kangoo be bop's front seats and headrests are designed to absorb energy in the event of impact from the rear. Clio III debuted this technology, which has helped to considerably reduce whiplash injury. Headrests are adjusted to the right height by sliding them up and down their support struts and no longer by sliding the struts in and out of the seatbacks. To complete the passive safety picture, the front passenger seat and both rear seats are equipped with Isofix child seat anchorage.
Whatever type of road it's driven along, Kangoo be bop respects the environment. The Renault eco2 signature testifies to Renault's commitment on the environmental front.
To qualify, vehicles must comply with three ecological and economical criteria:
- CO2 emissions of less than 140g/km, or biofuel compatibile
- Production in an ISO-14001-certified factory
- They must be 95% recoverable by weight, while at least 5% of the plastics they contain must be sourced from recycling