Renault Australia sharpened the pencil, landing the frontdrive Life variant at $29,990. That’s the same price as for the 2011 facelift. For the money, the Koleos gets slicker styling, improved fit and finish and a heap more gear, from tyre pressure monitors to auto headlamps and wipers, reversing camera, rear sensors and a seven-inch infotainment touch screen. It is also $500 cheaper than a comparable Nissan XTrail, which shares its running gear.
The engine carries over. Renault has “re-engineered” the continuously variable transmission to improve fuel economy. An optional Safety Pack on the mid-spec Zen variant includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning.
If you’ve driven the old Koleos, you’ve driven the new one. Output from the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine is unchanged, so there’s not much to report in the way it performs, at least in a straight line.
As a mid-sized SUV the Koleos ticks all the boxes without scoring the jackpot. The on-road dynamics can’t quite match Mazda’s CX-5 and the look isn’t tough enough to challenge the Nissan X-Trail as a reasonable off-road proposition. That’s not to say the Koleos isn’t impressive on bitumen or gravel.
With a 150mm growth spurt, the Koleos becomes one of the largest mid-sized SUVs. Rear passengers get most of the extra space, with great legroom and decent head clearance until you lean towards the doors. The exterior is more conventional SUV.