The new Renault Koleos was my last test car of 2019 and while I was rather used to the budget type Renault crossovers like the Sandero Plus and the Duster, getting a premium SUV from the brand was a good change to see how it would differ from the cheaper options. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the Duster or Sandero Plus, they all have their own charm to them, the Duster 4x4 being one of the most affordable and capable options in the current market is just one of the reasons that make it a great car but today's review is about the Koleos so let me not divulge on the others. It's the first time I've driven this model from the French motoring manufacturer and to say my week was pleasant would be an understatement. You see, I was in the midst of moving office the versatility of the Koleos really came in handy for this period as I will explain a bit later.
The changes from the old to the new Koleos is quite big but at first it did take me a while since the overall shape of the vehicle still sort of looked the same. Massive revisions to the front are the key standout with the new Renault design language for the headlights and grille. While the longitudinal headlights remained but with a new sharper edgy design followed by the extension daytime running light like we've seen in the Megane. In fact the rear end light design is almost a carbon copy of the Megane as well, but obviously a bit bigger to fit the frame of this SUV. The styling you can say is very European and with the colour scheme and contrast with the chrome and silver accents gives it that luxury feel. The sort of look you want from a premium SUV. The overall shape is neat with some well balanced lines and creases in the right places. It's a great looking car from the outside and when you step inside it just gets better. The layout of the cabin is very aesthetically pleasing with a good use of materials to differentiate the various parts of the dash board. The infotainment cluster is smack bang in the center and is flush, again just like the Megane but I think the Koleos screen might be a bit bigger. The design of the shell makes the doorways have quite spacious openings so you won't find yourself hitting your head on the roof on the way in or out of the cabin.
The Koleos comes with one engine for the range, it's fitted with a 2.5L 16V naturally aspirated engine which delivers a decent 126kW and torques max out at 233Nm. The transmission comes in the form of a new X-Tronic CVT 7-speed gear box which works really well with the engine. Delivering optimal power when needed and really helps with the fuel consumption on a vehicle of this size. Claimed consumption of 8.3L per 100km, I managed to get below 10L per 100km in my week of mixed driving which consisted of a lot of short distance driving. I have to say, driving a car like this has it's perks because of the extra height compared to your normal sedan, your view of the road is much better and with the creature comforts offered in the Koleos, one doesn't feel tired after driving. The driving style and modes are pretty normal to every other cars on the road with each having its effect on the vehicles efficiency, I tend to keep the cars on a normal or auto setting for most of the time which works well for me.
The Koleos is a very spacious car, I'd say you can fit five adults comfortably in there with ample space for luggage in the boot. Premium leather seats add to the comfort with soft touch materials for the roof and doors. Dual zone climate control for driver and passengers are sort of the norm with cars of today, I feel having the 3rd zone is still sitting at the premium luxury level even though those are coming with the 4 zone aircons. I feel with children being the predominate passengers at the rear it could become an issue with fiddling. Ride quality of the Koleos is quite great, the car came fitting with 18" rims but with the wide profile tyres and suspension it does deliver a very smooth ride. While the Koleos was all wheel drive, most buyers would be suited to urban driving with small chances of going off road but it's nice to now the vehicle has that capability. The all wheel drive also plays its part on the tar roads, in cases of slippery surfaces and rain.
The Koleos has a fair bit of technology, as mentioned early the large 7" infotainment touchscreen with R-Link 2 which provides you with all the new on-board experiences that Renault has to offer. It's a complete intuitive display that's user friendly and has built in apps like Apply Carplay and Android Auto. The Koleos comes with a premium Arkamys 3D Sound System which is pretty decent in my books, not enough bass but that's just the Indian me talking. I really like the accent lighting in the cabin, not only limited to the doors but also the instrument cluster housing. The colours change per driving mode you're in. The instrument cluster itself is also digital and displays other relevant info. The audio control is still located on that weird stalk on the right side of the steering wheel even though the there is allocated buttons on the steering wheel, that one still baffles me about Renault. The Koleos comes with keyless entry, the key is that card type thing which is pretty cool but does feel a bit weird. It comes with Pure Vision LED headlights as well as the LED daytime running lights. Electronic folding mirrors and anti dazzle review mirror.
Overall the Renault Koleos is certainly a worthy shout for it's segment. It has all the bells and whistles you'd associate with a premium SUV and really is a great match up for its German rivals. While and introduction of a diesel engine might be welcomed, this petrol one isn't too bad for now. I spoke about the versatility of the Koleos at the beginning of this review. Getting the extra space required was quick and easy, dropping down the seats to accommodate larger items in the back was a breeze as well as putting it back up. It really is a great offering from Renault and a refreshing model to see in their SUV/ Crossover stable, something to show they can compete in the premium segment.
2.5L 16V in-line 4 cylinder
7 speed X-Tronic CVT