STAND OUT FROM THE SUV CROWD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Joshua Dowl­ing

1. THE PRICE IS A KNOCK­OUT

Re­nault re­cently wound back the start­ing price of its base Koleos Life to $29,990 drive-away. The only op­tion is metal­lic paint. The drive-away price is the same price as the cur­rent deal on the Nis­san X-Trail ST, which is the same car un­der­neath with 2.5-litre four-cylin­der and CVT in com­mon. The Koleos has much more stan­dard kit. For starters, it has Ap­ple CarPlay/ An­droid Auto, a large dig­i­tal speed dis­play, dual­zone air­con­di­tion­ing and full-size spare — all of which the Nis­san lacks at this price. The Re­nault has the peace of mind of a five-year war­ranty, the Nis­san only comes with three years’ cov­er­age. The Koleos is also cheaper to ser­vice than the Nis­san. Re­nault’s capped price ser­vice deal, with in­ter­vals of 12 months/30,000km, comes to $1159 over three years/90,000km. The Nis­san has 12 month/10,000km ser­vice in­ter­vals and costs $1803 over three years/60,000km.

2. IT LOOKS GOOD IN­SIDE AND OUT

The Re­nault stands out from the SUV crowd. The over­sized day­time run­ning lights dip­ping into the bumper are de­signed to be seen on tree-lined stretches of coun­try road. The dash has a large ver­ti­cal touch­screen — it can be frus­trat­ing at first but you’ll mas­ter it in no time. Just be sure not to drive home from the show­room with­out hav­ing the dealer pro­gram your favourite ra­dio sta­tions. Re­nault’s vol­ume con­trol stalk be­hind the steer­ing wheel en­ables the driver to flick through sta­tions or ad­just vol­ume with fin­ger­tips and still grip the wheel.

3. IT’S HUGE IN­SIDE

The cabin is mas­sive, with large door pock­ets and a gen­er­ously sized cen­tre con­sole. The seat fab­rics have a qual­ity feel, al­though the plas­tics on the dash and doors are of the hard-wear­ing rather than soft-touch va­ri­ety. The cargo area is one of the big­gest in the busi­ness, even with the full-size spare (on a steel rim) un­der­neath. At this price you don’t get a power tail­gate but, as we’ve dis­cov­ered, it’s faster to op­er­ate man­u­ally.

4. A FEW MI­NOR CAVEATS

It has a foot-op­er­ated park brake rather than a hand­brake or elec­tric switch. On the plus side this frees up some space be­tween the front seats, and some peo­ple find it con­ve­nient. The sus­pen­sion is com­fort­able most of the time, the Koleos steers well enough but oc­ca­sion­ally de­cent sized bumps up­set it. The fi­nal note is a first-world prob­lem. This grade of Koleos does not get push-but­ton start whereas the X-Trail does. The old-school re­mote cen­tral lock­ing key needs to slot into the ig­ni­tion.

5. IT’S RE­NAULT’S BEST-KEPT SE­CRET

I can’t fig­ure out why Re­nault hasn’t sold more of these given it has more stan­dard equip­ment than the base model ver­sions of the X-Trail, Toy­ota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Ford Es­cape and Holden Equinox. It also un­der­cuts most of those on price.

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