Renault took a decision to get rid of the Koleos from Britain seven years ago. But the French automaker reckons 2017 is a better year to usher in an all-new version to our shores. Our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, drove the Koleos at its UK media launch. Here are his thoughts.
The Renault Koleos is another sport utility vehicle (SUV), so the likelihood is it should do okay. Why? Well, because sales of SUVs are incredibly popular over here. It also gives Renault a good reason to complete its sport utility family. This means that if you’re currently driving a Kadjar or Captur, you could work your way towards owning a Koleos.
The Koleos’ direct rival is the popular X-Trail from Nissan. The word ‘rival’ might be a bit strong because both SUVs sit on the same platform. In fact, if you think of it as an X-Trail prettification you wouldn’t be too far off beam. And things are refreshingly simple with the Koleos, too. It comes with a choice of diesel or diesel. No, that’s not a typo. Despite the government planning for all new diesel and petrol car sales to be phased-out by 2040, many manufacturers are still churning them out. You get a 1.6-litre dCI 130 with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. Or you can go for a 2.0-litre dCI 175, with four-wheel drive that’s fitted with either a manual or seven-speed Auto X-Tronic transmission. I drove the more powerful oil-burner in auto guise – the model predicted to be the best seller in Britain.
The Renault Koleos won’t rock your world, but it’s a decent enough SUV. It looks a bit too like many other SUVs out there – most noticeably the Skoda Kodiaq, but it’s an impressive car, nonetheless. I got behind the wheel of the flagship trim level – the Signature Nav, which has a generous amount of Kit, comprising big 19-inch alloy wheels, a sat-nav, a touchscreen and leather-bound seats. The car’s infotainment system, accessed via the touchscreen, is easy and self-explanatory to use, and the Renault is practical, offering cubby holes and four USB slots, for instance. What’s more, the Koleos is endowed with good quality soft-touch plastics and the hide wrapping the seats and steering wheel is top notch. There is a lower trim version, too. This is named the Dynamique S Nav and it’s furnished with goodies, such as a panoramic sunroof and a rear parking camera.
The top-of-the-tree 2.0 dCi 175 AWD X-Tronic Koleos I drove really is the bee’s-knees, in terms of out-and-out technology and cabin refinement. The layout is well thought out for the driver and passengers, and room is more than respectable. The wheelbase is the same as the X-Trail’s at 2,705mm – and this equates to awesome legroom. Better still, the Koleos’ load area is 29 litres bigger than the Nissan’s – measuring 579 litres. Alas, take a tape-measure to the similar-looking Skoda Kodiaq and the Czech-made car’s boot is 630 litres. Oh well, you can’t have everything. Strangely the Gallic car brand isn’t providing the Koleos with a seven-seat option, though. This could be a deal-breaker as Skoda’s Kodiaq does. Renault gets away with it, however, by explaining that you can always go for the Grand Scenic if you need all those seats.
On the road, the Renault Koleos is well-behaved and easy to like. Zero to 62mph arrives in 9.5 seconds and the top speed is 125mph, so the car has plenty of ‘go’ for motorway commutes or for overtakes on lesser roads. The Koleos has 174 horses under its ample bonnet to provide such power, and this helps tug the car along, even with five-up and a fully laden boot. The auto ‘box isn’t bad, even though it’s a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This means the transmission shifts through a constant range of ratios. Alas, CVTs don’t always work as seamlessly as they should, resulting in a rather jerky driving experience. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report Renault has stuck an advanced CVT into the Koleos that uses technology to copy a sequential ‘box. This makes the car painless to operate.
Ride & Handling
The Koleos’ ride is super comfy, with its soft suspension making you all but forget the existence of potholes. But the squidgy springs don’t wreck the handling; if anything, the French SUV comes across as predictable and steady. The Koleos I drove had all-wheel-drive, so I also tested it off-road. Because the car has good ground clearance I could plough over small stones and hummocks without fear of ripping bits off the underneath of the Koleos. Furthermore, the Renault grips well in mud and anything not resembling tarmac. It’s no Land Rover, but it’s a great asset to have if you live in the sticks, or you plan on lugging a tin-tent to a grassy caravan park.
The Koleos is a car that is roomy and well-appointed. It also flies the luxury SUV flag for Renault. This means it could attract fresh customers to the brand who are looking for an SUV with a bit of French flair. If you’re interested in checking out the all-new Renault Koleos for yourself, please get in touch with Perrys Aylesbury Renault.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Comfortable √
- Refined √
- Commanding √
- Off-Road Ability √
- Insipid Looks X
Fast Facts (2.0 dCi 175 AWD X-Tronic 2017 – as tested)
- Max speed: 125 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.5 secs
- Combined mpg: 47.9
- Engine layout: 1995cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
- Max. power (PS): 174
- CO2: 156 g/km
- Price: £34,200