Inspired by the popularity of SUV sales, Renault have just relaunched their large SUV the Koleos & they’ve done a pretty good job of it too, although it won’t be available with 7 seats. It takes its place as the flagship of Renault’s range & sits above the Captur and Kadjar, giving Renault a trip-umverate of SUV’s in the B, C & D sectors. The D-segment SUV is built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance Common Module Family (CMF) C/D platform used for the Kadjar, Mégane, Scénic, Talisman & Espace, as well as for it’s direct Nissan competitor the X-Trail.
Renault have kept the range simple, with two diesel engines, a 1.6-litre dCI 130 in six-speed manual and 2WD & a 2.0-litre dCI 175 a 4WD four-wheel drive, available in both manual & 7-speed Auto X-Tronic. CC&V drove the X-Tronic, which Renault expect to be the biggest seller in the UK. With the current vogue for bigging up petrol, Koleos isn’t offered in petrol, although Renault says it’s available elsewhere in their range so if there was a clear sign of demand across Europe for a petrol version, it could easily be introduced.
Koleos is offered in two trims as well. Entry level Dynamique S Nav, comes very well appointed with rear parking camera with front & rear sensors, 18” alloys, part-leather & cloth upholstery, front and rear electric windows, R-LINK 2 multimedia system, which features a 7″ touchscreen, TomTom® LIVE services with European mapping, FM/AM/DAB tuner, Bluetooth audio streaming & hands free calls, 2 USB & an AUX sockets, as well as voice control, compatible with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. Safety is impressive with blind spot warning, lane departure warning, automatic headlights & wipers, over-speed prevention with traffic sign recognition, hill start assist AEBS & Active Emergency Braking System
If you want more then the top of the range Signature Nav, adds GALIKI 19″ two tone alloy wheels, full LED “Pure Vision” headlights, carbon black leather upholstery, front heated seat, an electronically adjustable driver’s seat & a powered automatic tailgate. The R-LINK 2 multimedia system comes with the larger 8.7“ touchscreen.
There are seven model across the range, with the Dynamique S Nav dCi 130 being the cheapest model, retailing at £27,500 OTR. For company car drivers this offers a BIK of 27%, VED in year 1 of £160 & sits in insurance group 18E. Emissions are 128g/km with claimed combined fuel economy of 47.9 MPG.
Top of the range is the Signature Nav dCi 175 4WD Auto X-Tronic, which we tested.This comes in at £34,300 OTR & offers business users a BIK of 33%, VED in year 1 of £500 & sits in insurance group 23E. Emissions are 56g/km with claimed combined fuel economy of 57.6 MPG. Clearly, choosing the larger diesel engine, with 4WD & the auto gearbox, will cost you.
Unsurprisingly, from the outside the Koleos looks like a lot of it’s competitors, including the Skoda Kodiaq. However, Renault’s designers have added some nice touches which lift it above the norm. At the front, there’s a prominent, vertically positioned diamond logo set within a chrome grille. Down each side are sharp side creases with Renault’s signature C-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) with illuminated horizontal DRL at the rear. The back looks sharp too, with dual -exhaust tailpipes & a sculpted rear bumper with the tail lights wrapped over the rear wings.
Climb aboard & the Koleosdoesn’t disappoint. Plainly, Renault are pitching the new model high, with good quality soft plastics & even faux-wood inserts. The heated ventilated front leather seats are nice as well, offering good support & an array of electrically controlled adjustment. The leather finished steering wheel contains controls for the infotainment system, as well as allowing you to adjust the cruise control. The black dashboard with chrome edged air-vents look classy too. There are some useful cubby holes locate between the front seats & in front of the gear lever. Four USB’s are a real bonus for those of us with older teenagers.
A wheelbase of 2705mm – identical to the Nissan X-Trail – means good rear leg room, although the sloping roof line may hinder taller era passengers. Large SUV’s nee large storage & the Koleos boot is pretty good at 458 litres. Fold the rear seats down & this increases to 1,690 litres.
We tested the Koleos on a combination of roads across Oxfordshire & Gloucestershire, even trialling the 4WD system on a 45 degree hill start. It was comfortable to be in, easy to drive & the CVT gear box, which Renault have described as an ‘advanced CVT’ system that uses a step system to mimic a sequential gearbox, was pleasing to use as well. On the motorway there’s plenty of torque to get you out of trouble & even when you put your foot down hard on the floor, this CVT handles the gear changes up with little or no feeling of ‘CVT slip’. A definite improvement over other CVT’s we have tried.
Handling for a large SUV is stable & it steers & manoeuvres well around tight corners. It doesn’t offer a soft ride perse, but it does not come with as hard a ride as the Skoda Kodiaq, but feels more supportive than both the KIA Sorento & Hyundai Santa Fe.
Renault have bought back the Koleos to take advantage of the massive success of SUV’s in Europe in recent years. Out of 350,000 D segment SUV’s sold in Europe in 2016, 140,000 were bought in the UK. It’s not rocket science; if you have a car in this sector, you will shift units. Even though Renault are not looking to sell thousands & thousands of Koleos, in our opinion it’s definitely a competitor & will sit comfortably in it’s sector next to the direct competition, namely the Kodiaq, X-Trail, Sorento & Santa Fe. From a corporate perspective, we would suggest leasing the smaller engined lower specced Dynamique S Nav dCi manual version, or dCi 175 4WD version, to keep both your fleet manager & accountant happy.
A shooting from the hip 3.75/5.