Launched in Australia in September 2008 it followed the increasingly common feature of being offered in 2WD (front wheels) or 4WD. It’s as much an on-road station wagon as an off-road machine and with all four wheels being driven it can get onto moderately rough roads. Koleos has good ground clearance and the approach and departure angles aren’t too bad. But is certainly no bush basher.
The transmissions have Hill Assist Start, and Hill Descent controls.
The cabin is well insulated from road and mechanical noise is heavily muffled. In the French manner the suspension copes all road surfaces with aplomb and confidence.
Koleos 4×2 (two-wheel-drive) has 2.5-litre petrol with a six-speed manual, or CVT automatic transmission. Koleos 4×4 (four-wheel-drive) has a choice between that petrol or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed conventional automatic.
Again, showing the multiple nationality of the Koleos is the fact that the petrol engine is a Nissan unit, while the diesel engine is a French design. The diesel was never particularly popular but is a decent performer with strong torque.
Koleos’ rear tailgate has a clever ‘clamshell’ design allowing many options for access and load-carrying. You can fold the front passenger seat back to permit loads up to 2.6 metres to be carried. The bottom section of the tailgate can hold up to 200 kg and is often used for people to sit on when watching sporting events under the cover of the upper part of the ‘gate.
There’s sufficient leg, knee and headroom for three adults to travel in the back without too much squeezing, but two and a child makes more sense. An excellent feature is that when you only have two rear passengers the central armrest can be folded down to provide two inbuilt drink containers.
Renault was a pioneer in crash safety and from the start the Koleos had a five-star Euro NCAP crash test result, using dual front, dual side and curtain airbags amongst many other features do to so.
In December 2011 the Koleos Phase II arrived. Visually, the front end was beefed up in its shape, with a larger, chromed grille and slimmer headlights. The turn indicators were moved to the door mirrors. The rear was pretty much left alone.
Renault Koleos was replaced by a virtually all-new model in September 2016. This second-generation design is more French than its predecessor. It continues to share its platform with the Nissan X-Trail.
As the original Koleos hadn’t reached the anticipated sales targets prices were trimmed on the new one. It still didn’t sell as well as hoped but is appreciated by buyers looking for European flair rather than Asian SUVs so there are quite a few on the used car market.
There is a reasonably number of local Australian Renault dealers. As you would expect there’s a concentration in metropolitan areas. However, there are some in major country centres as well.
We haven’t heard of any major complaints about parts availability and prices are generally on par for this class.
Minor servicing can be done by good amateur mechanics, but is really is smart to leave anything but the simplest work to the professionals. Service and repair cost are pretty favourable for this class as Renault has trimmed them several times as part of its push to gather more new-car buyers.
Insurance costs are about average for this type of vehicle, but there are greater variations in premiums than you might expect. Shop around for insurance, but it’s important to do accurate comparisons.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the service books to make sure all the work has been done. A few owners have told us of poor experience with Renault dealers, if you find that numerous dealers have done the work it may mean the owner hasn’t been happy with them.
Look for damage to the wheel rims, the left-front is usually the first to suffer. This is a sign of bad drivers – and who knows what else they may have bumped into…
Have a professional check for signs of crash repairs. If these have been major it’s probably time to find another Koleos.
Look at the door edges for paint chips where they have been opened against other cars or carpark walls.
Run your hand over the front tyres; more resistance in one direction than the other probably means there’s an alignment problem, possibly even suspension damage.
Arrange to have the engine stone cold before you start it. Be sure it kicks over within a couple of seconds and that’s there’s no hesitation under acceleration even when it is cold.
Check for previous crash repairs: mismatched colours, paint overspray and ripples in the panels. A magnet will tell you if the material under the repaired area is metal – or plastic filler.
Look for sun-induced fading on horizontal surfaces, a sign that a car has spent almost all their time out in the open.
Expect to pay from $3000 to $5500 for a 2008 Renault Koleos Dynamique; $5500 to $9000 for a 2010 Privilege; $8000 to $12,000 for a 2012 Privilege; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2014 Bose SE; $13,000 to $18,000 for a 2015 Privilege; $15,000 to $22,000 for a Bose SE Premium; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 20198 Sen Carplay; $21,000 to $30,000 for a 2017 Intens X-Tronic; and $26,000 to $35,000 for a 2019 Intens S-Edition.
CAR BUYING TIP
Check if there is a specialist in your local area for the vehicle you are considering. This should be an essential part of your i pre-purchase investigations.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/