Flair from France
Renault shows it’s never too late to join the SUV scene, writes Graham Smith
RENAULT was late coming to the SUV scene, but when it did arrive, it did so with quite a bang in the form of the Koleos.
Given its association with Nissan and access to the Japanese carmakers’ off-road expertise, it was inevitable that Renault would build an SUV.
It was also a given that when it did it would be a competent off-roader.
THE Koleos was something of an international traveller in the auto world, being the product of the French-Japanese alliance between Nissan and Renault and built in Korea by Renault Samsung Motors.
Though the Koleos was based on the Nissan X-Trail and used the same all-mode 4x4 running gear from the X-Trail, it brought a touch of French flair to the SUV scene.
At first glance you would not have guessed the five-seater Koleos wagon was a close corporate cousin of the X-Trail. It had a fresh, attractive look that clearly set it apart from the more conservative-looking Nissan.
Renault introduced the Koleos with two levels of trim, the entry-level Dynamique and the better-equipped Privilege, with 4x4 and 4x2 petrol and diesel models.
The petrol engine was a 2.5-litre four-cylinder unit producing 126kW at 6000 revs and 226Nm at 4400 revs, and the 2.0-litre turbodiesel was available in two tune variants, depending on the transmission choice. When linked to the manual gearbox it put out 127kW and 360Nm, but was detuned to take care of the auto and put out 110kW and 4400Nm in that combination.
Renault cleverly offered the Koleos in two-wheel drive form, in which it was a regular front driver, or four- wheel drive form when it had Nissan’s all-wheel drive 4x4-i system.
With the 4x4 system the Koleos could be driven in two-wheel drive mode, auto or four-wheel drive with a switch.
In auto mode, it ran in front-wheel drive until the system detected wheel slip when it would begin driving the rear wheels as well. The maximum torque split between front and rear wheels was set at 50 per cent.
The transmission choices were a six-speed manual gearbox, a six-speed auto, and a CVT continuously variable transmission.
The cabin was stylish and modern, and quite roomy, though tall occu-