RENAULT’S ALL-NEW KOLEOS

Renault_Koleos_frontMidsize SUVs are all the rage globally at the moment as fuel prices drop and buyers want to get into larger, more spacious vehicles. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Australia and ours is the first market in the world to get the new Renault Koleos. Obviously Renault’s head office is pleased with the way our local office is operating.

The previous Koleos enjoyed more than 9000 sales downunder since its 2008 launch. The new model seems likely to improve the sales rate as it’s up about half a size on the superseded one and has excellent interior space. Bold lines of the stylish new Renault Koleos will also play their part in the sales race. The Renault design strategy introduced by Laurens van den Acker is very French and said to be aimed at those with a taste for adventure.

Koleos has a tall bonnet with a prominent Renault diamond taking pride of place. There are ‘gills’ in the front guards that tie in with chromed strips that run from the headlights along the full length of the guards. Wide horizontal taillights sit between another Renault diamond on the tailgate.

The cabin is equally stylish, and features plenty of shiny details. Ambient LED lighting that can be customised, colour choices are green, blue, sepia, red and violet and all these colours can have their brilliance increased or decreased according to your mood.

Renault_Koleos_rear

There’s nothing shy or retiring about the shape of this French machine.

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. However the Renault’s approach and departure angles of 19 and 26 degrees are relatively shallow.

Off-Road? Perhaps not, but the Koleos certainly had no trouble traversing some very rough and ready Australian dirt backroads during on extended test drives set by Renault as part of the media launch.

Hand grips located on both sides of the centre console proved useful on the bumpy roads.

With rear kneeroom of 289 mm, that Renault tells us outclasses its rivals, and good head, shoulder and elbow room my six-foot frame had no trouble sitting behind itself (if that doesn’t sound too Irish). Three adults can travel in the back but two and a child makes more sense.

DASHBOARD - BROWN LEATHER TRIM - RIGHT-HAND DRIVE

DASHBOARD – BROWN LEATHER TRIM – RIGHT-HAND DRIVE

Koleos has a large, 458-litre, boot with a removable floor at the same height as the boot that forms a flat floor. The one-touch, easy-folding rear seat has handles located inside the boot to enable the 60/40-split rear bench seat to be enlarged. That brings total boot capacity up to 1690 litres.

Koleos comes in three versions.

Koleos Life comes only with 2WD and is priced at $29,990 plus on-road costs. It sits on 17-inch alloy wheels; has Renaults latest R-LINK 2 multimedia system with voice control and a customisable 7.0-inch landscape-oriented screen. There’s an Arkamys audio with eight speakers; dual-zone climate control; dark carbon cloth upholstery; leather trimmed steering wheel

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

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

Intens uses a larger, 8.7-inch, touchscreen with portrait configuration; a Bose audio system with 12 speakers, subwoofer and digital amplifier. It has black leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front seats; ambient cabin lighting; and electric panoramic sunroof. Style-wise the Intens features chrome trim fog light surrounds, chrome front and rear door sill plates

Power comes from a significantly upgraded version of the 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine delivering 126 kW at 6000 revs, and 226 Nm of torque 4400 rpm. That 4400 is higher than average for this class, which tends to be dominated by turbo power these days. However, our test runs showed good pulling power from about 2000 revs. And it’s nice to drive an engine without turbo lag.

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

Safety features in all models include driver and passenger adaptive front airbags, lateral pelvis and chest-level airbags for driver and front passenger, front and rear curtain airbags; hill start assist; tyre pressure monitoring; rear parking sensors; and a rear view camera; and automatic wipers and headlights.

Renault’s all-new Koleos has a bold shape, a family friendly interior and decent performance. It’s hard to see it not selling well in Australia.

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