Renault Koleos is a product of the alliance between the French automotive giant and its Japanese partner Nissan. A mid-sized SUV, it sits on the same platform and shares its engine and transmission with the popular Nissan X-Trail.
Adding to its multinational identity Koleos is built at Renault’s Samsung factory in South Korea.
Despite pricing of the two models being in the same ball park, X-Trail outsells Koleos by a ratio of around seven to one.
Koleos comes in three specification levels: Life, Zen and Intens ranging in price from $30,990 for the FWD 2.5-litre petrol Life through to $47,490 for the AWD 2.0-litre diesel Intens.
The FWD-only Life has cloth seat trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors; rain-sensing wipers and reversing camera.
The mid-level Zen adds the option of all-wheel drive together with artificial leather seat trim; front seat warmers; powered driver’s seat with lumbar support; 18-inch alloys; blind spot warnings; satellite navigation; push-button start/stop; tyre pressure monitoring; electronic parking brake; and front parking sensors.
The range-topping Intens gets 19-inch alloys; LED headlights; panoramic sunroof; parking assistance system; auto dimming rear view mirror; ventilated front seats; powered front passenger’s seat with lumbar support; and powered tailgate.
While the overall shape of the Koleos aligns with that of the X-Trail – and with many others in their bulging market segment – they are easily distinguished elsewhere. Koleos has a much bolder grille highlighted by a large version of the distinctive Renault badge in the centre.
There’s an excellent list of safety features across the range including Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning. There’s some cost-saving in the entry-level Life with an old-style ignition key and a foot operated parking brake. All higher spec variants have push button start/stop and an electronic parking brake.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Two engines are offered, a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol and a 2.0-litre turbo diesel. The petrol peaks at 126 kW and 226 Nm at 4400 rpm. The diesel, only available in the top-spec Intens, provides marginally more power (130 kW) but significantly more torque (380 Nm) and at a much lower 2000 rpm.
Despite its extra grunt the diesel’s towing capacity is 1600 kg compared with the 2000 kg behind the petrol unit. A Renault spokesman explained that this apparent anomaly was due to the petrol engine being specially retuned to provide extra capacity to meet European demands.
Koleos also comes with the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The latter gives three options: 2WD, Auto and Lock controlled by a switch on the centre console.
Unlike X-Trail which offers optional third-row seats Koleos is only available as a five-seater. There’s plenty of space in all directions. The rear seats can handle three adults with more than enough head and legroom although, as expected, the centre seat restricts shoulder and hip-room.
There are twin air vents in the rear.
There’s good storage space helped by the location of the foot-operated parking brake in the Life and the size of the powered parking brake in the other two models.
Boot space ranges from 458 litres to 1690 litres. There’s a full-size spare below the boot floor.
All models get Renault’s R-LINK 2 Multimedia system with voice control through Siri capable smartphones and customisable home screens as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system works through a 7-inch touchscreen in Life and Zen, 8.7-inch in Intens.
Intens has two rear-seat USB ports in addition to the single one in the front console.
Life and Zen have an eight-speaker Arkamys sound system, upgraded to a 12-speaker Bose system with subwoofer and digital amplifier.
Entry and exit is easy and the driver’s seat is wide, supportive and comfortable. The steering wheel is both tilt and reach adjustable.
Our test car was the relatively Spartan 2.5-litre petrol entry-level Life with its key-in-ignition start, foot-operated parking brake and manual front seat adjustment.
These minor annoyances aside it’s a capable enough vehicle with good, but unexciting, performance from its 126 kW / 226 Nm engine, the latter not reaching its peak until a fairly high 4400 rpm. We found it needed a bit of coaxing to climb steepish hills and when overtaking. Fortunately there is a pre-set manual to assist the CVT.
Even when pushed the cabin remained well insulated from outside noise.
Fuel consumption is listed at 8.1 litres per 100 km. We averaged 9.6 L/100 km during our usual blend of urban, motorway and rural conditions. Expect double figures in exclusively city driving.
Suspension is a little harsh and relatively firm without making the ride uncomfortable. Steering is light and direct.
Koleos is an attractive, capable family-sized SUV with excellent interior space and a high level of safety equipment. It certainly doesn’t deserve to trail its market-leading competitors to the extent that it does and so is well worth a comparison test drive.
The close alignment between Koleos and the big-selling Nissan X-Trail is a big plus for the French car because it should reduce possible reliability and quality concerns. At the same Koleos offers significantly better value including a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty as compared with Nissan’s three year / 100,000 km coverage.
AT A GLANCE
Life 2.5-litre petrol 2WD: $30,990 (CVT automatic)
Zen 2.5-litre petrol 2WD: $35,490 (CVT automatic)
Zen 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $37,990 (CVT automatic)
Intens 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $45,990 (CVT automatic)
Intens 2.0-litre diesel AWD: $47,490 (CVT automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Renault Koleos Life 2.5-litre petrol 2WD five-door wagon)
Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 126 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 226 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.1 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 188 g/km
DRIVELINE: Continuously variable transmission
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4672 mm
Wheelbase: 2705 mm
Width: 1834 mm
Height: 1678 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1552 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres