Renault's revived Koleos SUV aims to make big impression
Renault is the latest car-maker to expand its SUV line-up to three models with the launch of the large Koleos. Motoring editor Andy Russell checks it out at the UK launch.
Sport utility vehicles are the world’s fastest-growing sector and so important that many car-makers have got not one, or two, but three different sizes to cover all bases.
The latest to do so is Renault which has revived the Koleos name for its new large D-segment SUV, a sector with more than 350,000 sales in Europe last year and trebling since 2011 to 140,000 sales in the UK.
It joins Captur, Europe’s best-selling B-segment crossover, and popular Kadjar which shares its underpinnings and running gear with Nissan’s Qashqai which dominates the C-segment SUVs so Koleos has a lot to live up to.
The styling cues from the Kadjar and new Megane hatch and estate are clear with distinctive C-shaped front light signature while the rear clusters look like staring eyes.
It’s a good-looking SUV and that’s a great starting point for getting noticed.
Under the bonnet
A simple choice between two turbo diesels - front-wheel drive 130PS 1.6 dCi with six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive 177PS 2.0 dCi with manual or CVT automatic transmissions, available in Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav trims.
The launch cars were all autos – expected to the big seller – which makes good progress but needs a good prod of the throttle to do so hence only 36 to 40mpg on the test route, including some mild off-road hill-starts to show off the all-wheel drive system with 2WD, auto which sends up to 50% of power to the rear wheels when needed and locked 4WD modes.
The advanced CVT transmission has seven set ratios so can be used manually and drops ‘gears’ when kicked down to avoid the big rev rises and engine drone of conventional CVTs.
How it drives
The ride is firm but comfortable on decent roads but sensitive to poor surfaces, not helped by Signature Nav’s 19in wheels while Dynamique S Nav gets 18in ones.
The Koleos steers well and feels composed through corners but, press on, and body roll becomes noticeable so it’s more about relaxed, reassuring progress than a rewarding drive.
Space and comfort
There no seven-seater option or sliding rear seats - that’s the Renault’s Grand Scenic’s role – so it aims to be a very comfortable five-seater, not a compromised seven-seater.
A long wheelbase maximises space inside, there’s enough legroom for six-footers in the back and large, heavily padded seats offer impressive support and armchair-like comfort. Wide opening doors aid getting in and out and overlap the sills to prevent them getting mucky and it coming into contact with clothes.
The 579-litre boot has a sill-level floor, and storage tray beneath, rising to 1,795 litres with the 60/40 rear seat backs folded.
At the wheel
Renault has really raised interior quality with padded plastics, tasteful trim and satin chrome highlights while a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment tailors the driving position.
Most functions are operated via the R-Link 2 multimedia system with a touchscreen of up to 8.7 inches which also customises the LED cabin lighting colour and information display.
Equipment and safety
A wealth of driver aids includes standard blindspot and lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, hill start assist, rear parking camera and front and rear sensors.
Other Dynamique S Nav highlights are opening panoramic sunroof, part-leather seats, heated and cooling cup-holders, dual-zone climate control and TomTom European sat-nav. Signature Nav’s also include LED headlights, full leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat and powered automatic tailgate.
The Koleos hasn’t got the most versatile interior, or the most rewarding drive, but it’s big on space, style, quality, comfort and equipment and that’s puts it in good stead in this competitive sector.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Renault Koleos Signature Nav dCi 175 4WD Auto X-Tronic £34,200 (range from £27,500)
Engine: 1,995cc, 177hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel mated to CVT automatic gearbox with seven manual ratios
Performance: 0-62mph 9.5 seconds; top speed 125mph
MPG: Urban 45.6; extra urban 48.7; combined 47.9
CO2 emissions: 156g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 33%
Insurance group: 23 (out of 50)
Warranty: Four years or 100,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,672mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,063mm; H 1,678mm