Driven: Renault Koleos

Dear Renault Koleos, in Kelly’s own words “I forgot that you existed.”

In a market filled with the Nissan X Trail, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, BMW X3, Landrover Discovery Sport, Audi Q5, Volkswagen Tiguan and more, it’s easy to forget that the Renault Koleos even exists. So, imagine my surprise when one showed up on our driveway and I was given the keys (or key card) to test it.

What is it?
Well, as you can tell by the company it keeps, the Koleos is a medium-sized SUV. With five seats, a wheelbase of 2 710mm, an overall length of 4 670mm, and a 464-litre capacity boot it certainly leans more towards the top end of the medium-sized SUV segment. This family SUV is imposing from the outside but feels a bit smaller on the inside. In terms of styling, the Koleos got a minor upgrade in 2020 with some styling changes at the front, a few tweaks at the rear, new alloy wheels and some updates on the inside, too.

2019 – Nouveau Renault KOLEOS Initiale Paris

What is it like to dive?
Under the bonnet, no matter which model you opt for comes a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine. This is the same one that does duty in Nissan and Mitsubishi’s products. The power and torque outputs are 126 kW and 233 Nm, respectively. Transmission comes in the form of a CVT – a system that has never been anyone’s favourite. It’s not a quick vehicle – it is large and heavy, after all. But I honestly don’t have any complaints about it – it is what it is. No one is buying a Koleos because of its performance. The vehicle performed adequately and it is my honest opinion that it makes for a perfectly fine leisurely family vehicle.

Is it stylish?
Well, stylish is a strong word. It’s certainly not offensive and in its own Renault way, it turned out to be a bit of a head-turner. Renault has clearly gone to great lengths to make the Koleos cabin feel sophisticated and modern with dark materials and chrome inserts. I’m not mad about the wood inserts, but the overall look is neat and tidy.

Standard features?
Across the range you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Depending on the model you choose, it’s either through a 7-inch horizontal display or, like on this flagship 2.5 Dynamique 4×4 version, through an 8.7-inch vertical screen. All are equipped with the R-LINK 2 Sat Nav and Multimedia system that allows access to your music, podcasts and more. In terms of safety, you will be happy to know that the Koleos boasts a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance systems, including Blind Spot Warning and 360 Park Assist. Other safety features include six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist.

So, it goes off road?
This flag-ship model can, yes. I didn’t test it though, but the Koleos comes with a full 4×4 technology with a control switch that allows drivers to choose the transmission mode: 2WD, 4WD AUTO or the exclusive 4WD LOCK, the latter of which allows the driver to engage permanent four-wheel drive at speeds of less than 40kph to distribute available torque equally between the front and rear axles (50/50). According to Renault, this mode is automatically disengaged at speeds of more than 40kph, or when the engine is restarted.

Would I consider buying it?
Well, I wouldn’t NOT consider it. In fact, its Japanese twin, the Nissan X-Trail at this exact same spec level will cost you R599,000. Making this, dare we say – a bit of a bargain? The Koleos really is a capable family SUV that delivers everything you want in a vehicle such as this. But so do its competitors at a similar and, in some cases, cheaper price. If you’re in the market for an SUV, I’d say add the Koleos to your list of possibilities. It might just win you over.

Quick spec: Renault Koleos Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4X4
Price: R554,900
Powertrain: 2.5l turbo diesel, CVT auto
Performance : 126kw/233Nm, 0-100kph in 9.8sec, 199kph


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