Renault Koleos: road test

Posted on August 22nd, 2017 by James Luckhurst

A good addition to the growing ranks of SUVs now dominating the car scene.

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What is it?
The third SUV-crossover model in Renault’s car range, joining the already-popular Captur and Kadjar. The Koleos is the largest of the three, so becomes the new flagship of the trio.

How safe is it?
The Koleos achieved a top five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, just like its smaller SUV siblings in the Renault range. It is well equipped with safety kit including electronic driver aids.

Who should buy one?
Business users after a bit more versatility and family drivers who want a spacious lifestyle-orientated SUV with plenty of room for all the leisure kit they might want to lug around with them.

Road test by Sue Baker, August 2017

 

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE

The South Korean-built Koleos rivals cars like the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento and Volvo XC60, so it’s up against some very respected opposition. In fact, it has quite a lot in common with the X-Trail, based on the same under-skin structure. Up top it’s different though, packaged to maximise space for five rather than accommodate extra seats (the X-Trail has the option of a third row).

Performance-wise it has decent oomph, with a 128bhp power output in this 1.6 litre, the lower-powered of the two diesel engines. Acceleration from 0-62mph is a respectable though unexceptional 11.4 seconds. The six-speed gearbox snicks cleanly through he ratios, which seem sensibly spaced.

There is also a 2.0-litre diesel with 172bhp and four-wheel drive. This engine comes with the option of an auto transmission instead of the manual, and reduces the 0-62mph time to 9.5 seconds with the automatic ‘box, or to 10.7 seconds with the manual. There isn’t a petrol version, which may surprise some when there are so many anti-diesel stories in the news at the moment.

The Koleos’s driving calibre is civilised and efficient, but it’s not what you might call a driver’s car – the steering isn’t very communicative and when you push on through bends on a spirited cross-country drive, there is some body lean in corners. There is also a somewhat lumpy feel to the suspension over coarse urban surfaces and country lane potholes.

However, the car has secure roadholding, and the ride smooths out when the Koleos is settled at cruising pace on a dual carriage way or motorway.

Air flows cleanly over the bodywork and there is scant evidence of wind noise. You are aware of some engine rumble, but at a relaxed driving pace the general refinement is pretty reasonable.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY

This is where the Koleos shines. It is roomy with big seats, said by Renault to be the biggest of any car in its category. The car doors have been designed to open a little wider than usual, which makes entering and exiting the Koleos just a bit easier than is the case with some rivals.

Interior stowage is well planned, with a big glovebox and commodious door pockets plenty big enough for carrying large bottles. A neat feature is a temperature-controlled cupholder, located between the front seats, that unusually can be heated or cooled to keep a drink just as you want it to be.

Boot space is very good at 498 litres with the rear seats in place, extending to 1,706 litres when they are folded. There is a handy option that lets you open the boot by waving your foot under the rear bumper, which can be a boon when you have your hands full of shopping bags.

SAFETY

The Koleos has active emergency braking to help it avoid hitting a vehicle that suddenly stops in front, a common cause of shunts in heavy traffic. There is a forward collision warning light and alarm to alert you to looming danger, and the brakes are primed for rapid response. As we’ve come to expect of a Renault, the Koleos has achieved a five-star rating from the safety experts at Euro NCAP.

EQUIPMENT

There are two trim levels, Dynamique S and Signature Nav. Every Koleos comes with dual-zone climate control, part-leather upholstery, a seven-inch touchscreen, auto lights and wipers, heated/folding mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels. The higher-spec model also has a full leather interior, heated front seats, a bigger touchscreen with satnav, and a powered tailgate. Options include a heated windscreen and steering wheel, front seat cooling as well as heating, and heated rear seats.

COSTS

On-the-road Koleos prices start from £27,500 for a two-wheel-drive Dynamique S Nav with a 128bhp engine, and the range-topper is a four-wheel-drive auto with a 172 bhp engine at £34,200. Fuel economy varies from 47.9 to 57.6 mpg, and CO2 outputs from 128 to 156g/km. The model we tested is mid-range with the most economical engine and front-wheel drive. Hands-free automated parking is a £350 option, and a spare wheel is available for £120.

WE SAY A good addition to the growing ranks of SUVs now dominating the car scene.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £28,800
Performance: 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds
Economy: 57.6mpg combined
Insurance: 11
Tax: £160 first year, then £140 standard

Figures for Koleos Signature Nav dCi 130 4×2

About 

James Luckhurst has been editor of GEM's quarterly magazine, Good Motoring, since 2006. Previously he worked at the BBC World Service and was a freelance contributor to the Daily Telegraph (where he had a weekly column), the Sunday Times, the Daily and Sunday Express and the Herald. His interest in road safety and driver behaviour has led to his involvement in a number of television and radio programmes, including So You Think You're a Good Driver for BBC1, where he was associate producer, Kerbside Justice for Granada Television, which he presented and occasional items for Radio 4, BFBS and the BBC World Service.