Koleos Privilege dCi
New Koleos challenges
established crossover models.
And while Renault may be amongst
the last major manufacturers to
enter the burgeoning SUV crossover
sector, the wait has definitely been
THE ARRIVAL OF THE RENAULT KOLEOS this summer marks a new era for the French
marque. It is their first modern-day four-wheel-drive model and pitches itself
right into the heart of the booming crossover sector where the forthcoming Ford
Kuga will also be competing, amongst others, against the Nissan X-Trail, Honda
CR-V and VW Tiguan.
The Koleos is also the first model range to be built in Korea as part of the
Renault-Samsung production agreement. Borrowing heavily from the mechanical
elements under the Renault-Nissan agreement, the new model's potential off-road
ability looks to be better-than-average the Koleos has hill descent and
hill hold features to simplify cross-country driving as well as ease of use
The much-needed by Renault Koleos range will be available in eight versions,
with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive, and will be powered by 150 or 175bhp
turbodiesel engines with six-speed manual or automatic 'boxes.
The range goes on sale in Britain on 4 July with prices from just under £18,000
upto £24,695. These cover three trim levels and there's a comprehensive three-year,
It is not Renault's first 4x4 model that appeared with the Espace Quadra
in 1988 but it is their first 4x4 to be available from launch of a new
model range. It is a product of the Renault-Nissan alliance which has seen their
Japanese partner's X-Trail and Qashqai vehicles doing particularly well in the
Renault's Koleos is a modern, family-sized SUV that effectively combines a versatile
MPV body with the looks (and sometimes running gear) of a soft-roader. As such
it is intended to give additional safety and ability on wintry roads, as well
as manage modest off-road work and make available useful towing capabilities.
For some buyers they will also be seen as fashionable 'lifestyle' vehicles.
The five-seat Koleos has a split tailgate which opens to reveal a normal 450-litre
load bay. This can be increased to 1,380 litres in two-seater mode thanks to
Renault's Super-Fold, quick release seating system which, no doubt, will also
prove popular on the new Laguna Sport Tourer.
For the activity users there's a ski-hatch; and the front passenger seat folds
to permit up to 2.6m-long objects to be carried. Options include front and rear
skid plates for additional protection off road.
Renault has a strong equipment list for Koleos. Standard items in the Dynamique
trim versions include air conditioning, cruise control, fog lights, heated mirrors,
tinted glass, multiple airbags, an MP3-compatible sound system and even a cooling
box plus lots of oddments storage.
Among other features, Dynamique S models get climate control, a hands-free facility,
Super-Fold seats, automatic lights and wipers, ESP with descent and hill start
assistance and rear parking sensors.
In addition, the top of the range Privilege (only available with four-wheel
drive) comes with full leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof and blinds, bi-Xenon
lights, on- and off-road SatNav, auto-dipping rear view mirror and a superior
sound system tailored specifically for the Koleos.
The familiar 150 and 175bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines will not be joined
by a petrol unit for the UK market because Renault believes there is unlikely
to be enough demand. Four-wheel drive is available with both engines, but the
optional automatic six-speed transmission is only available with the 150bhp
The 150bhp models have a 0-62mph time of between 10 and 12 seconds, depending
on whether two- or four-wheel drive is chosen, but the 175bhp 4x4 versions take
10 seconds. Maximum speed rises from 107mph for the automatic 150bhp 4x4 to
117mph for the 175bhp 4x4 with a manual 'box. Emissions range between 191gkm
to 221gkm depending on the powertrain, and the overall fuel economy shifts between
34mpg for the 150bhp 4x4 auto to 39mpg for the non-4x4 150bhp model.
While Renault may be amongst the last major manufacturers to enter the burgeoning
SUV crossover sector, the wait has been worthwhile. As a result of Renault looking
at rival models, talking with customers and embracing the latest technology,
the new Koleos is undoubtedly one of the best of the new breed of SUVs. Its
pricing, packaging, performance and long warranty, as well as its all-round
sophistication, certainly gives it an edge over
I tested the 175bhp version over a wide mixture of roads in Morocco, ranging
from billiard-smooth tarmac to what were little more than goat tracks
and it shrugged off all challenges to its handling. The Koleos at speed was
composed. And crossing dry river beds or rutted tracks, its refinement shone
The hill descent system and automatic four-wheel drive did a superb job at finding
and maintaining grip, while the fairly long travel suspension soaked up the
bumps without letting the Koleos roll about on sweeping curves.
The acceleration, if not rapid, is respectable but probably its most outstanding
feature, even when pressing on, is its quietness.
Access is very good, particularly with the drop-down tail and lift-up rear door
and quick-folding seats. And there's plenty of room front and back. Visibility
is good all round, and
the parking sensors are useful in very tight spaces.
My only slight disappointment was the turning circle. This could have been tighter,
particularly in some off-road situations or when turning or parking in town.
the steering give the greatest feedback, although you adjust to it fairly quickly.
The six-speed manual gearbox had a light clutch and a neat, precise action through
the gate while the brakes always felt reassuring and well balanced. The electronic
parking brake a straightforward 'pull and go' action was very
The diesel only availability will not satisfy everyone and its turning circle
is not as tight as it might be but off-setting that is the good packaging, pricing
and performance and, of course, the excellent warranty. It's also easy to drive
and live with. In addition, it possesses abilities most users will not have
to test to the maximum. All in all, the Koleos is likely to set a benchmark
in its sector over the next 12 months for its value, ability and sophistication.
Renault Koleos Privilege dCi 175 | £24,695
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Overall test MPG: 35.7mpg | Power: 175bhp | Torque: 266lb ft
CO2 209g/km | VED Band F £210 | Insurance group TBA