Renault's SUV Line-Up Is Now Complete - Koleos Launch Review
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Can a car manufacturer have too many SUVs in their line-up?
Not if ever increasing global sales are anything to go by.
Renault first dipped their toes in the water with the Captur, the success of which spurred them on to broaden the range. In fact Captur is the best-selling B-segment SUV in Europe. A recent refresh will see it continue to sell well.
Kadjar was launched in 2015 and has proved to be a particular hit with British buyers, taking almost a quarter of all Renault car sales in 2016, with 20,869 vehicles sold.
On sale now is Renault's biggest SUV, the Koleos. It must do battle with some talented opposition, namely the X-Trail from strategic partner Nissan, the recently launched Skoda Kodiaq and the Kia Sorento.
My first observation is that all of the aforementioned rivals are available with seven seats, so if passenger carrying is top of the list, a more traditional Grand Scenic people-carrier is the Renault route.
Sadly the Espace is no longer imported to the UK - a shame in my opinion, speaking as a former owner.
Imposing good looks are the order of the day, the Koleos is dressed to impress with muscular proportions, short overhangs and a bold chrome grille with Renault's diamond logo taking pride of place.
The interior offers generous space for five adults to spread and seats are comfortable front and rear. Front perches are generously proportioned and in top models can be heated and cooled.
The driving position is suitably commanding, though I have to confess to feeling ever so slightly perched.
An opening panoramic sunroof is standard on all models and it bathes the cabin in natural light.
If you like to enjoy liquid refreshment on the move, heated and ventilated cup holders are fitted for your pleasure...
Two trim levels are offered - Dynamique S Nav models come packed with goodies; dual-zone climate control, 7" touchscreen with TomTom satellite navigation, part leather upholstery and smart 18" two-tone alloy wheels. Prices start at a heady £27,500.
Splash the cash on the top Signature Nav model and there to enjoy is a larger 8.7" touchscreen, black leather upholstery, power tailgate and 19" alloy wheels (priced from £29,800).
The Koleos feels well put together, but considering its premium billing, some of the interior plastics feel a little low rent and the faux wood trim pieces are an unnecessary adornment.
Just two diesel engines are on offer. The 130hp 1.6-litre unit comes with front-wheel drive only. I suspect most buyers will choose the 2.0-litre unit which boasts 177hp and has four-wheel drive. More power will cost an extra £2,900.
The 2.0-litre engine can be had with a CVT automatic gearbox for an additional £1,500.
All test cars at the launch event were top models and Renault expects most buyers to take this route.
Behind the wheel, the 2.0-litre engine is smooth and refined. The 380Nm of torque proved useful for overtaking.
The CVT gearbox is set up to mimic the shifts of an automated manual and thereby removes the rather high rev noise that can sometimes plague this type of set up. It is probably worth the extra cost.
Renault set up a wooded off-road course for us to try and with the 4WD system locked in, we were able to tackle a variety of obstacles without difficulty.
In day to day running, the drive train can be left in either 2WD or Auto, whereby if any slippage is detected, up to 50% of the power can be immediately transferred to the back wheels.
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With car safety a high priority these days, would-be Koleos buyers will be pleased to know that the supersize SUV has been awarded a 5* Euro NCAP rating. A full raft of passive safety equipment comes as standard, such as anti-whiplash headrests, adaptive front airbags and seat belts equipped with pretensioners and load limiters.
Of particular interest however are the active safety features most notable of which is the Active Emergency Braking System which works between 19 and 90mph to help avert a collision or minimise the effects if that is not possible.
With most private buyers choosing to purchase a new car through a Personal Contract Plan (PCP), I was pleased to see that some representative examples are already available. Bought in this way, the bullish headline prices become somewhat academic.
A base Dynamic S model can be on your driveway for as little as £299 per month:
List price: £27,500
Customer deposit: £3,587
Dealer contribution: £2,000
49 monthly payments of £299
Optional final payment: £10,791
6,000 miles limit
The new Koleos is a worthy flagship for Renault's range of SUVs. The lack of a seven-seat option will clearly deter some family buyers, but as I have already mentioned, Renault has other ways of catering for those needs.
Majoring on practicality, comfort and space, there is much to like. In top spec with the perky 2.0-litre diesel, there is performance aplenty and a capable All-Wheel Drive system to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Renault's all-new D-segment SUV - the Koleos
5-seat SUV majoring on interior space
2 high spec trims - Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav
Boot space - 458 litres (1,690 seats folded)
2WD or All-Mode 4x4
2 diesel engines - 1.6 or 2.0-litre
6 speed manual or 7-speed CVT automatic gearbox
Emissions from 128g/km CO2
Fuel economy from 57.6mpg on the combined cycle
5* Euro NCAP safety rating
Service plans from £249 (2 years/20,000 miles)
Renault's SUV Line-Up Is Now Complete - Koleos Launch Review, 31st July 2017, 9:33 AM