Miss­ing in mem­ory lane

Re­nault’s classy Koleos fails to make an im­pact, writes, PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IF TOY­OTA had a car like the Re­nault Koleos, it would be a sure-fire show­room win­ner. Yet few peo­ple in Aus­tralia know, re­spect, drive or even con­sider the Koleos.

And its name? Well, ap­par­ently it means some sort of bee­tle with two pairs of wings.

It’s a nice name, but hardly mem­o­rable. That’s typ­i­cal of the whole Koleos story, even though it is a ter­rific drive, a classy fam­ily car and a good buy with prices that start at $29,990 with front-wheel drive and go up to $41,990 with all-wheel drive, a diesel en­gine and all the fruit.

Be­cause it’s a Re­nault, it also comes with five-star NCAP safety.

What the Koleos name cov­ers is a truly global de­vel­op­ment pro­gram which com­bines Ja­panese en­gi­neer­ing, French de­sign and de­vel­op­ment, and South Korean man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The Koleos uses the me­chan­i­cal pack­age from the Nis­san X-Trail, with its in-house de­sign work and sus­pen­sion tuning, and then a fac­tory owned by Re­nault and Sam­sung to stitch it all to­gether.

The Koleos hit Aus­tralia in the fi­nal quar­ter of last year and is part of a com­pact SUV drive that has also seen the ar­rival of ev­ery­thing from the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan to the Volvo XC60 and now the Audi Q5.

It is strug­gling to get trac­tion in all this action, which also in­cludes proven per­form­ers from Toy­ota, Honda, Nis­san and Mit­subishi.

That comes down to Re­nault’s ad­ver­tis­ing bud­get and its dealer net­work, which trails so far be­hind the heavy­weights such as Toy­ota that it is barely in the race.

But Re­nault has some very good cars and the Koleos is one of them.

It is also the 10th model from the com­pany to grab a five-star rat­ing from NCAP, and us­ing the me­chan­i­cal pack­age from the X-Trail means you can even do a lit­tle soft-style off-road­ing by lock­ing the dif­fer­en­tial in the 4x4 ver­sion.

There are six mod­els in the Koleos range for Aus­tralia, from the front- drive petrol man­ual with Dy­namique trim through to the diesels and the 4x4 flag­ship with 2.5-litre petrol power, Priv­i­lege trim and a con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion.

The com­pli­ca­tion in the choices in­cludes two power out­puts in the diesels, but the bot­tom line is at least 110kW and 320Nm with fuel econ­omy as good as 7.9 litres for 100km.

But Aus­tralia is tak­ing a while to ac­cept the Koleos and only 72 cars were sold last month.

Global de­vel­op­ment:

the Koleos com­bines Ja­panese en­gi­neer­ing, French de­sign and de­vel­op­ment, and South Korean man­u­fac­tur­ing.

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