NEW KOLEOS IS TRES BON
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.