Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Stylish looks
- Well-equipped as standard
- No 7-seat option
- Limited range of engines
- Rivals may be better value for money
What's the Renault Koleos like?
Renault's first SUV was the odd-looking but surprisingly capable Koleos, which went out of production in about 2010.
Then came the two-wheel drive (2WD) smaller offering, the Captur, and this was followed by the first collaboration car – the Kadjar – which shares much of its chassis and some engines with the Nissan Qashqai.
Finally, to complete the line-up, the company unveiled a new Koleos, based very closely on the latest Nissan X-Trail, and it’s a very capable and comfortable large SUV.
There are as of yet no petrol engines – just two diesels – the well-known 130bhp 1.6-litre used in many Renault cars, and a 2.0-litre with 175bhp.
Both are reasonably smooth and refined, but the 1.6-litre version is only available with front-wheel drive.
It covers the 0 to 60mph sprint in approximately 11.4 seconds, and is also capable of a government economy average of no less than 56mpg.
The 2.0-litre covers the sprint in around 10.7 seconds, and is still capable of 50mpg.
Both are very car-like to drive and easy to manage in tight spaces, and they're decently comfortable, even over rougher road surfaces.
Both engines are available with a 6-speed manual gearbox that works very well and is easy to use, while the 2.0-litre can also be fitted with a clever ‘stepped’ CVT automatic.
Called X-Tronic, and combined with AWD, this is a very good version of the continuously variable gearbox theme, where the engine doesn’t hit constant high revs if you floor the accelerator.
Instead, there are seven steps built into the electronic control, and these match engine speed to acceleration, making it feel very like other types of auto.
The lighter weight and willingness of the 1.6-litre makes it feels quicker than it is, and more agile through the corners.
The AWD 2.0-litre is obviously the off-road king, with a choice of front-wheel drive, AWD auto that brings in the back wheels when needed, and AWD lock, which sends power equally to both front and rear wheels, but disengages above 25mph.
Driving Experience and Practicality
The Koleos is unashamedly comfortable – just as any such car should be.
The ride is good enough to soak up almost everything in its path, although it occasionally floats a little over undulations and rolls a fair amount when pushed too hard through corners.
The high driving position is excellent – one of the main reasons why so many people buy SUVs when they never venture off the tarmac – and the seats are pretty comfortable, even if they aren’t particularly supportive in the corners.
The cabin is a stylish and quiet place to ride, with little noise from the engines but more wind and tyre noise than would be perfect.
The most reasonable Dynamique S Nav has an excellent range of equipment, including leather upholstery, heated front seats, powered tailgate, and loads of safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition.
There's also sat nav, cruise control, traction control, parking sensors, audio remote control for the DAB radio, and Bluetooth.
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The Renault Koleos is a stylish and practical SUV that provides peak levels of comfort, hi-tech equipment, and a high driving position that's loved by many. The Koleos is great for the adventurous family getaways and day-to-day drives alike.
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