The Renault’s Koleos (like the British Dualis from sister company Nissan) clearly demonstrate how the Europeans have nailed the ‘Crossover’ vehicle. The compact dimensions are spot-on for crowded European roads, the available all-wheel-drive traction handles frosty European winters and the clever interiors deliver the versatility needed for families and fleet operators.
Sales growth for these sorts have vehicles prove Australians too are tuning in to the practicality provided by ‘Crossovers’ or ‘Compact SUVs’. The reality is most families don’t really need to lug around a full-size SUV when vehicles like the Renault Koleos - with its fuel-efficient four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines – can easily do the job.
Sure there are also similarly competent vehicles from the Asian-based brands, but for a touch of Parisian-style you really should consider the Renault Koleos.
Renault Koleos Overview
Car Showroom tested the range-topping Renault Koleos ‘Privilege’ 4X4. Powered by Renault’s 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and driving all four wheels via a continuously variable (CVT) automatic, the ‘Privilege’ specification adds nice leather seats, a Bose sound system, some aluminium trim and electronic seat adjustment amongst its extras.
Priced at $43,990, the Renault Koleos ‘Privilege’ isn’t the cheapest European compact SUV, but it delivers competent on-road dynamics, a handy 1380 litres of cargo space and a luxury-kitted interior. Bundled together, its actually great value.
Renault Koleos Engine
Diesel is the preferred power in Europe and Renault Australia offers the Renault Koleos with a 110kW/320Nm, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel in the ‘Dynamique’ specification grade. The petrol version as tested is a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder delivering 126kW/226Nm. By comparison, the Peugeot 3008 is sold with a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder with 115kW/240Nm.
Renault says the Renault Koleos ‘Privilege’ is rated at 9.5l/100kms for fuel consumption and 228g/km for exhaust emissions.
Drive is to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Renault’s ALL MODE 4x4-i system.
The Renault Koleos ‘Privilege’ tips the scales at only 1,613 kgs, so the 2.5-litre petrol engine and CVT are nicely mated and get the job done with impressive refinement at most speeds. The towing capacity is 2,000kgs.
Renault Koleos The Interior
Inside is where the Renault Koleos scores major points with the Car Showroom team. In fact across the entire Renault range, the interior designs, choice of trim materials and clever features are a highlight of the French brand.
In ‘Privilege’ form the Renault Koleos comes with beige colour leather seats, which are nice to touch and have that almost indefinable luxury smell. The drivers’ seat has electronic adjustment and combines with rake/reach adjustment for the leather-wrapped steering wheel to provide a comfortable driving position.
Like most compact SUVs you sit high in the Renault Koleos (one of the attributes which distinguishes these vehicles from normal hatchbacks, the all-round visibility providing good comments from our females testers).
Instrumentation in the Renault Koleos is typically high standard from Renault – conventional in layout and nicely trimmed. Cruise control is stalk-operated and the seven-function trip computer’s digital readout is comprehensive.
In ‘Privilege’ grade the Renault Koleos gains an excellent Bose six-CD audio system with seven speakers, a ‘woofer’ and auxiliary input.
The Car Showroom juniors were easily installed in the rear seat and they were glowing in praise of the aviation-style trays, which fold out from the rear of the front seats. Standard rear window sun blinds in the Renault Koleos also got a big tick.
For adults, the rear seat provided excellent leg, shoulder and head room – surprising given the Renault Koleos is a compact 4520mm in overall length and the wheelbase is a mere 2690mm. Similarly the 1380l cargo capacity is impressive (‘Privilege’ specification adds one-touch electronic opening/closing of the tailgate).
Renault Koleos Exterior & Styling
Externally the Renault Koleos exudes French flair and a Renault ‘family’ look. The front end has the trademark Renault grille and some styling cues from the Megane hatchback.
A prominent lip under the front bumper alludes to the Renault Koleos’ off-road functionality (approach angle is 27 degrees and the 206mm ground clearance provides a fording depth of 450mm).
There is curved sculpturing around the front guards and the prominent waistline blends with the large glasshouse which gives the Renault Koleos a nice silhouette.
From the rear, the Renault Koleos is thoroughly modern in appearance with contemporary large taillights.
Renault Koleos runs 17-inch alloy wheels with on-road biased 225/60 R 17 tyres.
Renault Koleos On The Road
We’ve previously tested other Renault Koleos models so we knew the ‘Privilege’ model would be competent, easy to drive around town and handy over the twists of our mountain roads test route.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine was a willing worker, nicely matched to the CVT automatic and refined in its operation (typical for a European vehicle).
Our female testers were very impressed by the easy maneuvering of the Renault Koleos around town with good visibility and rear parking sensors (the latter included in the ‘Privilege’ specifications).
In wet conditions over the mountains, the Renault Koleos was sure-footed and precise with nice chassis balance.
Renault Koleos Challenges
We only deduct points from the Renault Koleos for its steering. Noticeable in our high-speed tests, we would have like a bit more feel.
Renault Koleos Verdict
We’re fans of compact SUVs and the Renault Koleos is one of our favourites. It’s a clever design with brilliant practicality and unmistakable French flair. We reckon the interior is one of the very best in this segment and the extra luxury included in the ‘Privilege’ specification adds to the charm of the Renault Koleos.
Renault Koleos The Competition
Peugeot’s 3008 is the most direct competitor for the Renault Koleos. The Peugeot also has French flair and individuality but lacks the all-wheel-drive dynamic of the Renault Koleos Privilege.
Renault Koleos Likes:
Good looks; great interior; surprisingly spacious
Renault Koleos Dislikes:
Steering lacks feel at speed