Renault Koleos


     If you’ve set you heart on a mid-size SUV as your next set of wheels you probably don’t need me to tell you your choice is seemingly endless. And with the SUV market predicted to expand by another 20% over the next five years you can safely bet it’s going to get even bigger still.

    This is latest offering for those after the ruggedly handsome, looks-like-it-will-go-anywhere, high-riding, outdoorsy lifestyle-aspirational - and perhaps most importantly - stylish-on-the-school-run, family car. It’s called the Koleos. It’s Renault’s all-new flagship SUV.

   The Koleos has been built not only to provide Renault with a genuine premium-feeling product – in the deep Admiral Blue complete with contrasting Silver–Grey interior and sitting on 19” Galiki alloys, the Koleos Signature dCi Renault kindly lent me really did look the business – but also to steal sales from the likes of sister brand Nissan’s X-trail, Mazda’s CX-5 and Skoda’s instantly likeable and near Tardis-like Kodiaq. But, I hasten to add, whereas the X-trail and the Kodiaq can be had as seven seaters, the Koleos will seat only five.

   If you’re not one that needs the extra chairs their absence might well work in your favour. Not only does the Koleos offer a superbly-sized and flat-floored boot, rear legroom is also very, very generous. Those sat furthest aft also benefit from dual air vents, dual USB ports, or if they’re somewhat smaller, dual Isofix points. The Koleos gets the all-important five-star Euro NCAP safety rating too.

   Up-front things are similarly well appointed. Even the entry level Dynamique S gets an opening panoramic sunroof, part-black leather upholstery, tinted rear windows, ambient lighting, and… heated or cooled cup-holders. Automatic Dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, and automatic lights and wipers are also standard. Entertainment and navigation is taken care of via the 7inch touchscreen R-LINK2 multimedia system (increased to 8.5 inch in our Signature spec car) which also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

  Safety wise there’s a whole raft of tech including ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, ESC with traction and understeer control, cruise control, speed limiter, Hill Start Assist, six airbags, seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners. It’s also worth pointing out the quality of the Koleo’s interior is streets, actually make that whole counties, away from where Renault used to be. Long gone are the flimsy fittings, thankfully.

   What you don’t get as standard, despite what the Koleos’s looks might make you think, is four-wheel drive. All 1.6 dCi 130 Koleos are front-wheel drive only, and six-speed manual. If you want Renault’s ALL-MODE 4x4-i four-wheel drive you’ll need the 2.0 litre 175bhp unit (as per the one we tried). The bigger engine is also the only one available with an automatic gearbox (we got that too).

    You can choose to leave the transmission in 2wd, lock it in 4wd or select its unobtrusive Auto mode, in which, should any slippage occur, up to 50% of the engine’s output is diverted to the rear-axle. Our Koleos arrived with system set to Auto and apart from a brief foray in the other two available modes – for research purposes of course – that’s where we left it. It worked very well and were it not for the handy schematic on the dashboard we’d have never have known quite how often it sprang into action.

   That’s no to say we drove the Koleos hard; it’s really not that kind of car. Like many an SUV it’s more than happy to soak up the miles, but should you wish to change direction quickly the Koleos does feel somewhat less than athletic. The steering too, although direct, is a tad light and over assisted in feel. We never managed Renault’s claims of 47.9 mpg either. The Shropshire Hills reduced our average to just shy of 34.

    That, in round-about way I guess, leads us on to price. The Koleos starts at around £27,500 and rises, should you want all the bells and whistles, to over £36,000. Big money perhaps, but then again, the Koleos is a big car.

   The lack of a seven seat option may put some off, and if we’re being really honest the Koleos does nothing its competitors can’t do equally as well. Nevertheless the after a week in its company, Renault’s flagship SUV had begun to work its charm on us.




Renault Koleos Signature dCi 175 X-Tronic

Engine: 1,995 cc 4Cyl 16V turbo-diesel

Transmission: 7 speed automatic, four wheel drive.

Power:  177 bhp @ 3,750 rpm

Torque:  280 lbft @ 2,000 rpm

0-62MPH: 9.5 Sec

Max Speed: 125 mph

CO2: 156 g/km

MPG: 47.9 combined

Price: From £34,200 (as driven £36,610)


Many thanks to Lisa and Charlie at RENAULT’S UK press office for the loan of their Koleos



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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