Renault Kangoo was first shown in late 1997. Available with four- or five-door bodies, in a two-seat cargo (with a regular or large compartment, standard or increased to 800 kg payload) or five-seater cargo and passenger versions. It is completed with gasoline engines 1.1; 1.4 liters, as well as a 1.9 liter diesel engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. Driving wheels - front.


"Doninvest Orion M" was demonstrated at the current Moscow Motor Show. In fact, it debuted in 1996, Citroen Berlingo (Peugeot Partner). The French car is available with three- or four-door bodies, in a two-seater cargo or five-seater cargo and passenger versions. It is completed with gasoline engines 1.1; 1.4; 1.8 liters, as well as 1.8 diesels; 1.9 liters With the first two engines, not only five-, but also four-speed gearboxes are aggregated, and the most powerful gasoline and diesel versions can be not only front-wheel, but also all-wheel drive.

Yuri NECHETOV. Photo by Vladimir Knyazev

A little over a year ago, a pair of “heels” already visited our test (ЗР, 1998, No. 9). Today there is a reason to return to utility vehicles: firstly, Renault Kangoo is now sold in Russia (ЗР, 1997, No. 12), and secondly, the Doninvest company has started the “screwdriver” assembly of the Orion M model . So let's get acquainted with the newcomers closer.


The square itself is for those who need it. And these cars are “square” only in height, and in length and width are the same as ordinary cars. The Kangoo design, deliberately functional in the style of the once-popular Renault 4 model, as it says: I'm not a dude, I'm almost a proletarian. "Orion", on the contrary, in every possible way conceals its worker-peasant origin: here it has an elegant appearance, and large fourteen-inch wheels, and a single rear door, like a regular station wagon. Under it, it’s nice to sit in the rain, having “covered” the table in the trunk, but for loading and unloading it’s still more convenient to have a double-wing swing, like on the Kanga. However, it depends on the performance - if desired, the door on both machines can be ordered any. For transportation of something very long - either boards or stairs - Renault has a huge hatch in the back of the roof as additional equipment.

There is one more difference that is invisible from the outside, but quite relevant for Russia: the Orion's engine compartment is not covered by anything from below, and the rival colleague has a powerful steel pallet that can only be crushed.


You can sit. Places above your head - a good quarter of a meter. In front of the ceiling of both cars there is an extensive shelf and many other niches and pockets throughout the cabin. Three people behind? No problem! True, with one “but”: “Rostovite” strives to bend the right passenger side with a protruding punch over the door runner. By the way, the second row at Orion is located higher, as in an amphitheater. The level of the floor, from which the hump of the tunnel disappeared, was also raised, but a couple of convenient “hiding places” for the instrument appeared under the rugs. But the internal handle was designed either by a laps or a sadist - the door can be opened only with the left hand. The handles on the front doors are too far forward. There is no need to sleep on a long journey - the backs do not recline completely. But the interior is decorated without discounts on utility - like in a passenger car.

“Kangu” inside is simpler - there is a lot of “bare” iron, devices are only the necessary minimum, the rear landing is slightly more vertical and smaller in length, in the middle of the floor there is a tunnel. However, there are no obvious mistakes, with one exception - the rear door handle is located near the floor. Given the French roots of both cars, chronic problems with handles are alarming - maybe the French have their hands not growing out of there?


For suitcases and the usual small car is enough. The same cars are passenger-and-freight and can be used as light trucks. "Orion" is a little later - in addition to the driver, it is able to take on board another 580 kg, against 505 kg at Renault. However, the latter can be increased up to 800 kg of carrying capacity. The internal volumes of the rival colleagues are impressive - 2.8 mz with the rear seats folded! By sacrificing the right front seat, you can get another 200 liters in the Kanga. The luggage racks are covered with soft shelves, curtains, and in our "Orion" there was also a removable lattice partition, and a split back seat in an unusual proportion of 1/2. The floor in the luggage racks is low and the wheel arches are minimal - thanks to the French so beloved compact torsion bar suspensions with almost "lying" shock absorbers.


Well steered. Only thoughtfully.

Thoughtfully sat … In the "Kang" is simple, but comfortable, everything is in place. The gear lever is nice - short, with clear strokes, exterior mirrors are good. True, there is no platform for the left leg and the leisurely rear “janitor” distracts - every time you wait with interest to see whether he crawls to the end or dies halfway.

"Orion" offers, in addition to seats, to adjust the steering wheel height. The front panel has a richer decoration; a tachometer has appeared among the instruments. At the same time, manual adjustment of the mirrors does not differ in clarity, great efforts are made on the switches of the ventilation system, and the front pillars are quite wide. And again, the "national" problems with the rear wiper! - He stirs quickly, but the washer gives out a trickle after long thought.

… and thoughtfully drove off. Noting between the cases that on both machines, engines with a capacity of 1.4 liters and similar total transmission ratios are similar in capabilities. The marked difference in the characters of the cars was confirmed by their behavior on the road. “Renault Kangoo” - nimble and high-torque, but also noisy and tough, in the limit turn is prone to skidding. Interestingly, half a ton of ballast affects his behavior very imperceptibly - the stock under the pedal and the shaking in the cabin hardly change. However, a stiffer suspension has an advantage - it is not easy to break through. The smaller mass and size of the wheels allow you to get off the load on a steep climb without slipping the clutch, and even accelerate in third gear by 10 percent.

“Doninvest Orion” is not so hardworking - one has to start to lift with the load “playing” with the clutch; there is no talk of acceleration in the second exercise, although, in principle, staying in the stream is not a problem. And with the load, and without it, the car is quieter, more comfortable, in general, demonstrates an almost passenger character, although there is no need to talk about breakdown of the suspension here. His reactions are not so sharp, in the bend when speeding, he “drifts” to the side of the road with all four wheels, the brakes are just brilliance. The body is tougher here too: when driving with one rear wheel on a 20-centimeter curb, the doors of the Orion, unlike the Canggu, open and close as easily.


Already. For Renault Kangoo with a remote central locking, immobilizer, belt tensioners, electric mirrors and front windows - $ 13.5 thousand. Doninvest Orion M with fabric upholstery, driver airbag, adjustable steering wheel, split rear seat will cost only $ 10 thousand cars of Russian assembly without a catalytic converter, and gasoline can be poured "92nd". A little later on them will appear a diesel engine and even, possibly, four-wheel drive. Freight modifications of both models are cheaper by $ 1.5–2 thousand. Maintenance intervals for gasoline cars are 10 thousand km, warranty is one year, during which Orion can go no more than 20 thousand km, Kangu without restrictions . So if you are engaged in small business, have a summer house, love to travel - read, consider, choose.

Doninvest Orion M

Renault Kangoo

Doninvest Orion M

Renault Kangoo

+ Good dynamics, high-torque engine, protection of the engine compartment from the bottom, efficient ventilation, a huge trunk.

- Stiff suspension, increased noise, very modest interior design, high fuel requirements, low body rigidity.

Doninvest Orion M

+ High smoothness, effective brakes, large standard load capacity, good sound insulation, “light” interior design, the absence of a tunnel on the floor, a huge trunk, reasonable price.

- Inconvenient door handles and adjustment of the backs of the front seats, fuzzy mirror adjustment, tight pedal assembly, wide front struts, unprotected engine compartment.


With all the external similarities, the characters of the cars turned out to be different: if the Renault Kangoo is really a cargo-passenger one, then the Doninvest Orion M is more like a passenger-cargo car.