Return to the trail
The comeback Koleos is a well-appointed and safe city wagon ... with a hint of family baggage
THE original Renault Koleos didn’t do much in Australia.
Cloned from the Nissan X-Trail as a spin-off from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, it was all right but not much more.
For me, it was too small, a bit agricultural and did not have enough Renault-ness in the way it felt or drove.
Now the Koleos is back and has much more going for it. The interior is noticeably bigger and more welcoming, the driving has improved and the pricing is better, from $29,900.
Renault Australia needs to get people to notice, then put it on the shopping list against the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, VW Tiguan and Mazda CX-5, my class favourites.
“Definitely, people are noticing,” says Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar.
“We’ve been on sale for a couple of months and we’ve exceeded our sales forecast, with around 200 cars a month. What caught us a little bit is the high take-up of the Intens, the high-spec model. We expected it to be about a 30 per cent split and it’s coming out at closer to 50 per cent.”
The Koleos is still built up from the X-Trail, at least on the mechanical side, but the cabin is more refined than I remember from the Nissan with great seats, good outward vision and plenty of standard equipment.
It’s also well equipped on the safety front, with six airbags, rear-view camera and rear parking radar on the base model, and a safety pack that adds $1490.
The Intens, at $43,490, gets blind spot, front collision and lane-departure warnings. We’re still waiting to see an official ANCAP safety score.
“When you look to the segment and ask what buyers are looking for, (it’s) space, comfort, refinement and technology. And, of course, value for money,” says Hocevar.
“The reassurance bit is where we are understated. We need to shout this from the rooftop. We are coming from the position where French auto brands have not had a strong position for a long time. It’s about getting the price right, with the right equipment, and put a strong warranty in place.”
The Renault support package is a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with roadside assist, and capped servicing at less than $900 for three years. The annual service allows for up to 30,000km of driving.