After a seven-year absence, the Renault Koleos is back and it’s bigger and better than ever. Boasting all the refinements and practicality of a modern SUV, the Koleos looks dynamic, is packed with techno treats and is competitively priced too.
The goodModern design and packed with technology
The badCompeting in a highly competitive segment
Renault Koleos Signature dCi 175 4×4 X-Tronic (2018)
During the noughties it seemed like every other week bands that had long since disappeared into the depths of time were brushing the dust off their drumkits and Fenders and announcing comeback tours. But more recently we have seen some blasts from the past in the motoring world making a reappearance and one such model is the Renault Koleos.
In fairness, the Koleos had only been put out to pasture for seven years mainly due to poor sales, but thanks to the surge in demand for SUVs it re-emerged again last year. And it’s bigger and better in every possible way.
The flagship Koleos model completes Renault’s trio of classy upmarket SUVs joining its smaller stablemates the Captur and Kadjar.
It boasts a sporty, muscular design that demands attention and looks impressive from any angle thanks to its bold high-sided stance, roof rails, a smart grille housing the company logo, tinted rear windows, Renault’s C-shaped LED daytime running lights, 3D-effect tail lights, a panoramic sunroof and chunky 19-inch two-tone alloys.
Move inside and the interior is equally as impressive with a wealth of technology at your disposal. Creature comforts include heated and ventilated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen with Renault’s R-LINK 2 multimedia system which offers access to the majority of the vehicle’s infotainment functions such as navigation, hands-free calling, radio and driver aids. It works similarly to a smartphone or tablet with two-finger zoom, page scrolling plus drag and drop etc.
Our test car also featured an upgraded seven-speaker BOSE sound system costing £600 along with a few other options which saw the price rise from £34,200 to £36,610.
The interior of the Koleos is beautifully crafted with plenty of soft touch surfaces, smart leather upholstery and neat looking inlays. It is also exceptionally spacious with ample room for five adults to travel in comfort. This is due to the fact that the Koleos has one of the longest wheelbases in its class with short overhangs.
In addition, luggage limitations will be few and far between because the boot has a capacity ranging from 579 litres to 1,795 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat at the press of a button. There is an additional 35 litres of storage space scattered throughout the cabin including a practically-sized glovebox, deep door pockets that can hold a water bottle and heated or cooled cup holders that can warm or chill drinks on the go.
The Koleos was powered by a punchy 2.0-litre 175bhp diesel engine mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox. It could sprint from 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds, topped out at 125mph and, according to official figures, delivers combined fuel economy of 47.9mpog with carbon emission of 156g/km.
When it comes to performance and handling, the Koleos is a very composed and assured model to drive. The road holding is ultra grippy meaning tight curves can be attacked with confidence – our car also featured 4×4 capabilities for added reassurance. There can be a little body sway if driven into bends too enthusiastically because of its high-sided SUV styling, but it’s not too severe.
The sharp steering offers plenty of driver feedback and the acceleration through the gears is smooth and rapid with a constant supply of power on tap at all times – some CVT gearboxes can be noisy and quite juddery, but that’s certainly not the case with the Koleos.
Out on the fast-moving motorways, the car cruises effortlessly at higher speeds and then it is deceptively agile when faced with the congested town centres where the excellent all-round visibility and elevated driving position are real plus points. The addition of hands-free parking costing £350 will make any driver look like a complete expert when squeezing into tight parking spaces – this is a bonus with a car measuring almost 4.7 metres in length.
On the downside, I did find quite a lot of engine and road surface noise filtering into the cabin at higher speeds, but this can soon be eradicated by the pitch perfect BOSE music system. My only other slight gripe was the gear markings which were on the passenger side of the gear stick so impossible to see without leaning across or looking at the instrument panel to make sure you were in the correct gear.
That aside though, the Koleos is a great all-rounder and is also packed with safety features that helped it secure a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. Features include the likes of anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, advanced emergency braking system, hill start assist, six airbags, automatic lights and wipers plus a rear parking camera with front and rear sensors.
All in all, it’s great to see the return of the Koleos and it joins the larger SUV sector that’s bursting at the seams with model options such as the Nissan X-Trail, Audi Q5 and Peugeot 5008. But, in all honesty, competition is a good thing and the more competitive a sector is, the more each manufacturer has to up its game to stay in the hunt.
Renault Koleos – first drive (2017)
It’s been missing from our showrooms for seven years, but now with demand for classy SUVs on the charge, the Renault Koleos has made a very welcome comeback– and it’s better than ever.
The athletic-looking car is priced from £27,500 and there are two engines to choose from along with two well-equipped trim levels. Firstly, buyers need to decide which of the duo of diesel powertrains will be best suited. The options are a 1.6-litre turbodiesel 130bhp or a 2.0-litre turbodiesel 175bhp engine. As an added incentive, four-wheel drive and the option of a seven-speed automatic gearbox is offered on the higher-powered model.
Then there is the choice between the pair of generously-equipped spec levels. First up is the Dynamique S Nav which boasts plenty of kit as standard such as TomTom sat nav, a panoramic sunroof, part leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic dual zone climate control, ambient lighting and parking sensors. The entry-level models feature Renault’s R-LINK 2 multimedia system which coordinates the majority of the car’s functions such as infotainment, navigation, hands-free calling, radio and driver aids. It offers the same navigation as a smartphone or tablet with two-finger zoom, page scrolling drag and drop etc via a 7-inch landscape screen.
If you step up to the range-topping Signature Nav you will see the introduction of full carbon black leather upholstery, an 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen again with R-LINK 2 multimedia system, electrically-adjustable front seats which can be heated, 19-inch alloys and LED headlights.
One of the advantages of offering plenty of kit in the asking price is that optional extra costs are kept to a minimum. However, if you fancy splashing a little extra cash then there is a Climate Pack that adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel along with ventilated front seats and that can be tagged on to the Signature Nav cars at a cost of £400.
Another upgrade is a 13-speaker BOSE sound system (£600), along with the option of automatic hands-free parking, priced at £350.
The five-seat Koleos is a smart-looking car with a strong, sporty profile. It boasts athletic proportions with a dynamic stance. Eye-catching features include its muscular haunches, Renault’s C-shaped LED daytime running lights, roof rails, along with the company’s instantly-recognisable diamond logo which sits neatly on the chrome grille. At the back, a chrome bar connects the twin exhaust pipes and the sculpted rear bumper and tail lights wrap over the rear wings. The 3D-effect tail lights complete the car’s modern and elegant styling.
The interior is incredibly spacious and beautifully bright thanks to the panoramic sunroof that allows the light to flood in. Renault has carefully selected the materials to ensure a mix of comfort, styling, durability and quality and there are plenty of smart chrome inserts along with soft-touch surfaces.
The elevated seating means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility which is vital in family-friendly SUV models and all dials, controls and read-outs are perfectly positioned for driver usability.
As the Koleos features one of the longest wheelbases in class with short overhangs, the interior space is superb with back seat passengers treated to plenty of leg, head and shoulder room. And when it comes to storage the Koleos once again impresses with a boot capacity of 579 litres which can be increased to 1,795 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat at the press of a button. Elsewhere there is an additional 35 litres worth of storage space scattered throughout the cabin including a good-sized glovebox and heated or cooled central bin.
Range-topping Signature Nav models also feature a powered automatic tailgate which can be opened via the keycard or by waving a foot under the rear bumper if your hands are full.
The Koleos also features a tow-bar that folds away when not in use and the car has a towing capacity of two tonnes.
Safety specifications are comprehensive and the Koleos has been awarded the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP testing. Features include the likes of driver fatigue alert, lane departure warning, active emergency braking and blind sport warning which are standard on all models.
We had the opportunity to test drive the Koleos Signature Nav dCi 175bhp 4WD Auto X-Tronic priced at £34,200. This car can reach from 0 to 62mph in 9.5 seconds and tops out at 125mph. According to official figures, it delivers combined fuel efficiency of 47.9mpg with carbon emissions of 156g/km.
The new Koleos is certainly a class act. It is comfortable, spacious and the build quality seems premium and upmarket with plenty of soft-touch surfaces.
Despite being powered by a CVT gearbox (which on some cars can be noisy and screechy when pushed hard), the system on the Koleos is as close to a conventional auto gearbox as you can get. The acceleration is smooth, responsive and there is a constant supply of power on tap which helps make light work of overtaking at short notice.
The excellent insulation protects the cabin from any outside noise and the highly-efficient suspension irons out the undulating road surface. There is a little body roll when corners are attacked too enthusiastically or the road surface is particularly bad, but that aside the Koleos is a delight to drive.
We even took the car away from the comfort of the Tarmac and tested it out on some steep, slippery grassy banks and, once again, it coped admirably. It climbed halfway up the incline in 2WD and then we stopped, switched to 4WD lock and it instantly gripped the wet grass to complete the task in hand.
It would appear that the demand for SUVs is showing little sign of letting up and it remains the fastest growing segment amongst buyers. The Koleos, which is built in Korea, is another contender for sales and will be challenging the likes of the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Ford Edge, Audi Q5 and Peugeot 5008.
Renault Koleos Privilege dCi 150 auto (Pre 2010)
It’s a fact that when someone mentions the name Renault, the thought of a sturdy all-terrain vehicle doesn’t exactly spring to mind. That is… until now.
For now the French manufacturer has joined forces with Nissan for its first venture into the off-road market and it’s already making quite an impression.
I was fortunate enough to test out the Koleos during one of our colder winter snaps when a fair covering of snow was on the ground and can honestly say the vehicle dealt with the conditions with ease without the slightest hint of a slide.
That’s because the All Mode 4×4-i system guarantees outstanding road-holding at all times and then in more extreme conditions, there is added control with the 4WD-lock option.
In addition, there is a hill start assist system and hill descent control which helps the Koleos tackle steeper and more slippery slopes.
In fairness, the Koleos is never going to be a threat on the renowned off-roaders, but in a climate where soft roaders are proving ever more popular, it can certainly hold its own.
The high-seated driver’s position guarantees excellent all-round visibility and the cabin boasts all the mod cons of a quality saloon with plenty of quality specifications throughout.
Features include the now-traditional Renault hands-free card, automatic parking brake, cruise control, automatic headlights and wiper activation plus plenty more.
And for those with an ear for sound, the Bose audio system is a real bonus.
Back seat passengers are treated to plenty of legroom and there are numerous storage compartments throughout the vehicle, along with a generously-sized boot.
And to be fair, the Koleos handles really well too. Out on the open road the 2.0-litre engine provided plenty of power and city centre driving was an absolute breeze too.
In fact, after a week behind the wheel, my only real gripe would concern the electronic handbrake which sometimes proved a little daunting… especially on a hill start.
But all in all, the Koleos is a fantastic vehicle that definitely puts Renault on the 4×4 map, and if the success of this first venture is anything to go by, I look forward to phase two.