Coming as it does from the Renault-Nissan Alliance Koleos has a real multinational pedigree, designed in France with Japanese components and built at Renault’s Samsung factory in South Korea.
Renault Koleos sits on the same platform as the Nissan X-Trail and shares the 2.5-litre petrol engine and continuously variable transmission. Poor sales numbers have seen the previous diesel option dropped.
The latest upgrade tagged MY2020 arrived in August 2019 and gave Koleos some exterior styling tweaks and improved comfort including extendable front seat cushions, extra soft-touch materials and reclining rear seats.
Three variants are offered: Life, Zen and Intens. Life and Zen are both front-wheel drive with the Intens having the choice of FWD or AWD.
Renault’s bold grille is highlighted by a large version of the brand’s distinctive diamond badge in the centre.
The MY2020 Koleos can only be distinguished from its predecessor by new alloy wheels and bumpers along with LED foglamps. Our Intens AWD test vehicle came with an eye-catching new “Millesim Red” body colour as well as Intens some extra chrome features.
Twin chrome exhaust pipes add a sort-of sporty touch.
Koleos only comes with five seats unlike the X-Trail which has a third-row option.
Rear seat space is excellent in all dimensions and allows three adults to travel in reasonable comfort. With two rear passengers the central armrest can be folded to reveal twin drink holders.
Boot space with the rear seatbacks in place is a decent 458 litres expanding to 1690 litres when they are folded.
Standard in all variants is a one-touch folding mechanism for the rear seatbacks. Intens adds an automatic bootlid opening via the key fob and can be closed either the same way or with a button on the bottom of the lid. The bootlid opening height can be reduced to cater for tight spaces.
Koleos comes with a high level of standard equipment across the range including six airbags; ABS brakes with emergency brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution; forward collision warning; autonomous emergency braking; electronic stability control; hill-start assist; lane departure warning; IsoFix child seat anchors; reversing camera; rear parking sensors; tyre pressure monitoring; height adjustable headlights; and front and rear foglights.
Koleos Zen adds front and side parking sensors; automatic ‘walk-away’ door locking and blind spot monitoring while the Intens tops off the safety package with Easy Park Assist and optional all-wheel drive.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Power in all models comes from a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder unit with peaks of 126kW at 6000 rpm and 226Nm at 4400 revs. Transmission is via an X-tronic continuously variable auto.
The AWD Intens has three drive options: 2WD, Auto, and Lock controlled by a switch on the centre console.
The infotainment is based around Renault’s latest R-Link 2 system. Both use a portrait design screen. Life and Zen models have a 7.0-inch screen. The premium Intens model displays onto an 8.7-inch tablet-style screen.
We found the touchscreen required too much distraction with small tabs that regularly needed at least two touches to move between features that would have been much more convenient, and so safer, had they been on the dashboard.
One thing that is more convenient is the new location of the front USB socket at the bottom of the dashboard. There are two rear-seat USB ports.
Audio in the Life and Zen comes from an eight-speaker Arkamys 3D system. Our Intens test car had an enhanced 11-speaker Bose unit with subwoofer and digital amplifier.
The Koleos’ front seats are 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.
The steering wheel is both tilt and reach adjustable.
One of the first things that we noticed when we stepped into the Koleos was its electric parking brake, a welcome change after our recent experience when testing the latest X-Trail with its annoying foot-operated parking brake.
On the road Koleos is a capable enough vehicle with good, but unexciting, performance. We found it needed a bit of urging to climb steepish hills without losing momentum although there is a pre-set manual mode if you don’t agree with the CVTs ratio.
Suspension is a little harsh and relatively firm without making the ride uncomfortable. Steering is light and direct.
Handling is good. It drives true and flat through corners and the steering offers enough feel to keep you engaged. With a suspension that settles on the firmer end, you are likely to feel more than the odd bump, but not uncomfortably so.
On the motorway Koleos cruises comfortably despite its fairly modest outputs and with enough pulling power to cope comfortably with the occasional hills.
We did take our AWD Koleos Intens onto some corrugated dirt backroads and although it falls short of being a serious off-roader partly because the approach and departure angles are quite shallow. Apart from that Koleos, with its 201 mm ground clearance, had no trouble traversing the moderately challenging conditions on our off-road test area.
Fuel consumption is listed at 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres for the Intens AWD. We averaged 10.3 L/100 km during our week-long test, acceptable enough for a fairly large SUV.
Koleos comes with Renault’s new 5:5:5 Easy Life Ownership Program which provides a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty; five-year capped price servicing (up to 150,000 km); and, subject to dealer servicing, up to five years roadside assistance.
Until the end of May Renault is extending its warranty to seven years although we’d recommend haggling for that offer even if you miss their deadline. It’s a real buyers market out there so make the most of it.
Although it lacks any hint of its Gallic heritage Renault Koleos is a conservative but handsome medium-large SUV that performs and drives well, plenty of family-friendly interior space and an excellent range of safety levels.
AT A GLANCE
Life 2.5-litre petrol 2WD: $32,490 (CVT automatic)
Zen 2.5-litre petrol 2WD: $35,990 (CVT automatic)
Intens 2.5-litre petrol 2WD: $42,990 (CVT automatic)
Intens 2.5-litre petrol AWD: $45,490 (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 Intens 2.5-litre petrol AWD 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): 8.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 192 g/km
DRIVELINE: Continuously variable transmission
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4672 mm
Wheelbase: 2705 mm
Width: 2063 mm
Height: 1678 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1639 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres