Growth spurt for Renault Koleos

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Rear view of a Renault Koleos

SUV sales are running hot in this country and Renault Australia is making a serious bid for a slice of the action with its second-generation Koleos line-up. The company has worked hard on the packaging and pricing to ensure this all-new Koleos delivers a very competitive proposition. Three trim and equipment grades as well as two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive (depending on the variant) mean buyers have plenty of choice. But there is no manual transmission on any of the models.

Prices start from $29,990 (plus on-road costs) for the 2WD Life through to the 4WD Intens at $43,990. But the top sellers are expected to be in the middle of the line-up, where the Zen variant is $33,990 in two-wheel-drive form and $36,490 for the 4WD version. (For the time being, Renault has drive-away pricing on Koleos.) The price gaps between the models reflect their respective levels of equipment and safety features.

Combining new technology and some proven components shared with other vehicles from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Korean-built Koleos is designed for the world market. Yet it has retained the distinctive Renault exterior styling and a
subtle French accent in the cabin presentation.

Koleos has noticeably grown in size, moving from being one of the shortest to one of the longest among its direct five-seat medium SUV competitors. Doors open wide for easy access into a larger cabin. The extra seat height means good visibility and a commanding driving position, although the firm seats make you feel you’re perched on top rather than sitting in them.

Infotainment and in-car technology has become an important aspect for many buyers and Renault’s R-LINK 2 multi­media system delivers on most but not all fronts. Features such as an 8.7-inch touch screen in the Intens model with tablet-like features (e.g. swipe scrolling and two-finger zoom) plus customisable home pages are sure to appeal to the tech-buffs.

The greatest gain from the stretched wheelbase is more rear leg room and you will find ample luggage space with the versatility of an easy-to-fold 60/40-split rear seat. There is enough width across the rear to accommodate three adults, although the centre seat position is not all that comfortable.

Despite being an all-new model, there is a certain familiarity about Koleos, given that it employs a platform used by a number of Alliance vehicles, while the engine, transmission and driveline have been adapted from the Nissan X-Trail parts bin.

Interior of a Renault Koleos

On the road, Koleos proved to be a comfortable, well-mannered vehicle that does everything expected of it without too much fuss. It cruises quietly and is easy to drive in everyday use, but when accelerating quickly or pulling up hills the 2.5-litre engine and CVT automatic start to work hard and get a little noisy. Fuel consumption is significantly better than the previous model but Koleos is still thirstier than some in the class. The steering provides good feel, while the suspension is compliant and well controlled. Over a wide variety of road conditions both our test vehicles – a two-wheel-drive Zen and all-wheel-drive Intens – displayed a reassuring surefootedness, with the Intens adding a little more traction on loose or slippery surfaces. Some tyre roar can also be heard with changes in the road surface.

Although off-road driving is not Koleos’s main focus, its four-wheel-drive ability is a little more serious than some of its peers. Extra ground clearance helps, and the Alliance’s well-proven All-Mode 4X4-i system allows drivers to select easily between two-wheel-drive, auto all-wheel-drive and a lock mode which splits the drive 50/50 between front and rear wheels when below 40km/h.

The verdict

Appreciate Koleos for its extra space, its general drivability and surprisingly good off-road ability. Overall comfort is another matter, although you’ll be well entertained playing with the very hands-on multimedia system.   


RENAULT KOLEOS ZEN 2WD

Price: $37,990 drive-away. Premium paint $600. Range $33,990-$47,990 drive-away.

Safety: ESC. ABS. 6 airbags. Reversing camera. Front/rear parking sensors. Daytime running lights. Auto lights/wipers. Tyre pressure monitor. 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

Connectivity: 7-inch touch-screen (8.7-inch in Intens). Bluetooth. Sat-nav. USB input. Voice command.

Vehicle features: Dual-zone climate-control. Artificial leather upholstery. Heated front seats. Roof rails.

Driver features: Leather, fully adjustable steering wheel. Keyless entry/start. Electric driver’s seat with lumbar support.

Specifications:
Drivetrain: 2488cc, 4cyl petrol engine. Front-wheel-drive. CVT auto. 126kW@ 6000rpm, 226Nm@4400rpm.
Fuel: 9.6L/100km (RACV test); 8.1L/100km (govt test). 60L tank. 91-RON petrol.
Wheels: 18-inch alloy, 225/60 R18 tyres. Space-saver spare. Towing limits: 2000kg (braked trailer).
Environment: 188g/km CO2.
Service/repairs
12-month/15,000km capped-price services. 5-year/unlimited km warranty.
RACV RATING   **** (4 stars)


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Report: Greg Hill
Published in RoyalAuto Feb 17