Missing in memory lane
Renault’s classy Koleos fails to make an impact, writes, PAUL GOVER
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.
the Koleos combines Japanese engineering, French design and development, and South Korean manufacturing.