Re­turn to the trail

The come­back Koleos is a well-ap­pointed and safe city wagon ... with a hint of fam­ily bag­gage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - THE TICK - WITH PAUL GOVER

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.

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