Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Bill Buys

RE­NAULT is as French as crepes suzette, yet its neat SUV, the Koleos, runs mainly on Ja­panese Nis­san parts and is built by its Sam­sung part­ner in Korea.

Pourquoi? Well, Re­nault is a ver­i­ta­ble gi­ant in au­toworld.

Apart from its huge op­er­a­tion in France, it’s in part­ner­ship with Nis­san and Sam­sung Mo­tors, owns the Ro­ma­nian Da­cia brand, has a quar­ter of the Rus­sian Av­to­vaz op­er­a­tion, is in part­ner­ship with China’s gi­ant Dongfeng group and has other op­er­a­tions all over the globe.

So one could say the Koleos is the fruit of a world of knowl­edge.

The new one is con­sid­er­ably larger, pret­tier and bet­ter equipped than the 2007 orig­i­nal and comes in three lev­els of spec: the 2WD Life, the Zen, which comes in 2 or AWD, and the Aw­donly In­tens, which costs $43,490.

Here we’re look­ing at the Zen AWD, priced from $36,490, but ours came with the op­tional sun­roof and safety packs, which added $3480, for a drive­away price of $39,970.

They’re worth­while op­tions, adding an elec­tric sun­roof, auto-dim­ming mir­ror, emer­gency brak­ing sys­tem, blind-spot and for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing sys­tems.

Stan­dard gear on this model in­cludes faux leather trim, an elec­tric park brake, re­vers­ing cam­era, heated front seats, LED tail­lights, a seven-inch touch­screen with nav­i­ga­tion and a leather-rimmed steer­ing wheel. There’s also an eight-speaker Arkamys au­dio sys­tem, sev­eral USB slots, re­mote starter but­ton, eco-mode and a tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem.

It com­petes in the tough mid-sized SUV mar­ket and has a lot of at­trac­tions, among them class-top­ping rear seat space, a slightly lower price than that of most ri­vals and a tres chic in­te­rior. Un­like the many looka­like SUVS on the road, the Koleos is in­stantly recog­nis­able by its wide-smil­ing chrome grille, L-shaped day­light driv­ing lights and slim­line tail­lights.

It runs on at­trac­tive 18-inch al­loy wheels. In the spa­cious in­te­rior side, you get good seats, and an am­bi­ent colour to suit your mood.

Oui, five shades in all. The choices are green, blue, sepia, red or vi­o­let.

Power is from a 126kw/226nm 2.5litre petrol en­gine that drives mostly through the front wheels via con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion. The Zen runs mainly in front-wheel drive, with power go­ing to the back wheels only when nec­es­sary, thus sav­ing on fuel use.the of­fi­cial av­er­age con­sump­tion is 8.3 litres/100km.

The Koleos is smooth and easy to drive with a de­cent, proven drive train and lots of comfy ac­com­mo­da­tion for five, plus a cargo area ex­pand­able from a handy 458 to a gi­gan­tic 1690 litres, and the back seats can be laid flat via levers in the cargo area.

The ve­hi­cle’s com­pli­ant Mac­strut and mul­ti­link sus­pen­sion makes for a se­cure, sta­ble ride and park­ing is made easy by good vis­i­bil­ity, light steer­ing and park­ing sen­sors.

The Koleos comes with a five-year/un­lim­ited dis­tance war­ranty with road­side as­sist, and three-years of $299 capped price ser­vic­ing.

Ver­dict: A well-fin­ished, SUV with space, com­fort and flair.

Re­nault's speccy new Koleos.

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