RENAULT KOLEOS: FRENCH FLAIR AND PRACTICALITY

renault_koleos_frontAustralia was chosen as the first country in the world to get the new Renault Koleos as the French marque if obviously well aware sales of medium to large SUV crossovers are selling like hotcakes, or should that be crepes? downunder.

New Koleos is a about half a size larger than the previous model, making for family friendly interior space and good luggage room.

The entry level Koleos Life comes only with 2WD (the front wheels) and is priced at an impressively low $29,990. It has 17-inch alloy wheels. This is certainly no ‘stripper’ as it has dual-zone climate control; dark carbon cloth upholstery and a leather trimmed steering wheel.

The Koleos Zen has 2WD and is priced at $33,990; or 4WD for $36,490. It rides on 18-inch alloys. It has a powered driver’s seat with electrically adjustable lumbar support; heated front seats, and remote locking with Renault Smart Key Card. It uses dark carbon artificial leather trim and has rear privacy glass.

Topline Renault Koleos Intens ($43,490) is only sold in Australia with 4WD. To the Zen’s features it adds remote engine start; blind spot, forward collision and lane departure warning systems; parking assistance features; and a hands-free power tailgate.

Koleos Intens has black leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front seats; ambient cabin lighting; an electric panoramic sunroof. It has chrome trimmed foglight surrounds, chrome is also used on the door sill plates.

On-road costs have to be added to all prices. However, you may be able to twist a dealer’s arm and get them to partially, even fully, absorb these.

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STYLING
New Renault Koleos has a tall bonnet with a prominent Renault diamond. There are chromed strips that run from the headlights along the full length of the guards and all the way back to the ‘gills’ in the front guards. Wide horizontal taillights sit between another Renault diamond at the back.

The cabin features plenty of shiny details. The ambient LED lighting can be customised, colour choices are green, blue, sepia, red and violet. Ambience light levels can also be increased or decreased according to your mood.

INFOTAINMENT
Renaults latest R-Link 2 multimedia system can be operated by voice control. It has a customisable 7.0-inch landscape-oriented screen in the Life and Zen models. There’s an Arkamys audio with eight speakers.

Koleos Intens uses a larger, 8.7-inch, touchscreen with portrait configuration; a Bose audio system with 12 speakers, subwoofer and digital amplifier. It dual-zone climate control; dark carbon cloth upholstery; leather trimmed steering wheel.

We particularly liked the vertical screen in our review Koleos Intens as the satellite navigation shows a long way ahead. Horizontal screens may look stylish, but they show a shortish distance in front of the car, and an unnecessary large space to side of vehicle, where it’s of no real use.

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ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Power comes from a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine delivering 126 kW at 6000 revs, and 226 Nm of torque 4400 rpm.

Transmission is by a continuously variable unit, that automatic type being very good at getting the best from engines as it’s always in the correct ratio to match the conditions.

SAFETY
Safety features in the Koleos include driver and passenger adaptive front airbags, pelvis and chest airbags at the front seats, curtain airbags covering both rows. Hill start assist seems somewhat pointless on vehicles with an automatic transmission, but Koleos has it anyway. Tyre pressure monitoring is always handy; there are rear parking sensors as well as a rear view camera. Automatic wipers and headlights are always welcome.

DRIVING
The Koleos’ front seats are positively spacious, and soft and comfortable in the French manner. Added ground clearance of the Koleos compared to many vehicles in this class may prove a bit of a hassle for some people when getting in and out. On a positive side, once you’re in there the view out is very good.

Rear kneeroom and legroom mean that passengers with the same dimensions as myself – six-foot in the old money – had no trouble getting comfortable. Three adults can travel in the back without being overly squeezed together. However, two and a junior makes more sense. When only two back seats are in use our review Koleos Intens had central armrest that folds down and has two inbuilt drink containers.

The 458-litre luggage area has a floor that sits level with the 60/40 easy-folding rear seatbacks. The latter has handles located inside the. Maximum capacity is a handy 1690 litres.

Koleos’ ground clearance is significantly higher than average for this class. Indeed, the Renault’s 210 mm is generally regarded by 4WD people as the minimum for real off-road work.

A serious off-roader? Perhaps not, because the approach and departure angles are quite shallow, but the Koleos certainly had no trouble traversing some bumpy and corrugated dirt backroads during our initial road testing at the media launch a couple of months back.

This week’s testing put us in more mundane conditions; motorways dominated by drivers who have no concept of lane discipline, shopping centre carparks, endless traffic lights – all the usual hassles. Which were thankfully punctuated by some nice drives in the country.

On-road handling is fine, but the leaning towards comfort in the endless comfort/handling equation may not please those wanting a sporting SUV. Sensible folks will love the ease of travel, especially on long distance trips.

The Renault engine’s peak torque at 4400 revs is significantly higher than average for this class, which tends to be dominated by turbo power nowadays. However, the CVT selects its correct ratios virtually instantly and gets the best from the engine according to driver demands and road conditions. And it’s nice to drive an engine without turbo lag.

Fuel consumption was in the six to seven litres per hundred kilometres range on the open roads and usually sat about nine to eleven litres around town. Which is good for a large wagon with 4WD.

SUMMING UP
Renault Koleos is a large(ish) crossover SUV with excellent comfort and interior space. It’s surprisingly good on dirt roads and can even tackle relatively tough forestry trails if you select one of the 4WD models.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Koleos Life 4×2: $29,990 (automatic)
Koleos Zen 4×2: $33,990 (automatic)
Koleos Zen 4×4: $36,490 (automatic)
Koleos Intens 4×4: $43,490 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Renault Koleos Intens 2.5-litre petrol 4×4 five-door wagon)

ENGINE:
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
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 192 g/km

DRIVELINE:
Continuously variable

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4672 mm
Wheelbase: 2705 mm
Width: 1834 mm
Height: 1678 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1608 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited km

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