Car Review: New Renault Koleos

Comfort and luxury for Renault’s new mid-sized SUV…

This week, Renault introduced its new mid-sized SUV, the Koleos, to add to its high-end line-up. 

The Koleos slots in just above the Captur and Kadjar in Renault’s SUV range, and competes with a number of models such as the Mazda CX-5, the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Honda CR-V. As Renault’s flagship SUV, the Koleos offers bold design, interior comfort and off-road capabilities. If you’re in the market for a mid-sized SUV with all of the above features, the new Koleos is a worthy consideration.

On the outside

The Koleos has a bold, strong presence on the road but also has a touch of elegance. Its front face bears Renault’s new fascia design with C-Shaped Daytime Running Lights while the tail lights wrap over the rear wings to enhance its solid stance. There are six different body colours to choose from – five of them are metallic, and large-diameter alloy wheels (up to 18″) add to its muscular image.

At the launch, my co-driver and I spent some time trying to figure out why the Koleos looks quite familiar, from the outside. We then realised that the Koleos is built on the same platform as the Nissan X-Trail, so the resemblance made sense.

Overall, I find the exterior of the Koleos has a very friendly sort of vibe about it, with elegant and flowing lines. It’s not over-the-top, but it’s not bland either, and I think modern and practical families and those looking for a mid-sized SUV will appreciate that.

On the inside

There’s a really nice set up inside the new Koleos. A mix of eye-catching features, such as ambient lighting, chrome detailing and soft-touch surfaces give its interior a fresh and lively atmosphere, while its new infotainment system draws a lot of attention with great graphics and functionality.

Renault has added a lot of comfort to the Koleos. Apart from its supportive and comfy seating, you’ll find added touches like soft padding on the front door arm rests. There’s a heck of a lot of storage space too! In fact, there is 34-litres of cabin space alone – so you can expect lots of little compartments to store your items in as well as large door bins that hold 1.5-litre water bottles.

There’s a great sense of family-friendliness when spending time inside the Koleos, from air-conditioned cup holders, to ample USB connectivity for front and rear passengers, to its wide-opening doors and sizable boot space (464-litres, and over 1700-litres with the rear seats folded down.)

Impressive list of safety features

Feeling safe behind the wheel is something I felt almost instantly in the Koleos. On the road, it feels solid and secure while it manages to quickly adapt to different road surfaces and unexpected obstacles. We drove in very wet and muddy conditions during the off-road part of our test drive, and the way the Koleos handles some pretty rough and unpredictable road conditions is impressive!

What’s also impressive is its list of standard safety features – even on the entry-level Koleos. There are six airbags, ABS, EBD, EBA, ASR and HSA, as well as cornering fog lights, LED Daytime Running Lights and Over Speed Prevention. The Koleos also scored five stars in the Euro NCAP Safety rating. Rear parking sensors, Cruise Control and side impact beams are also standard on the entry-level Koleos.

Driving the new Koleos

Currently only one engine option is available on the Koleos – the 2.5-litre petrol, which offers a power output of 126kW of torque and 233Nm of power. Its CVT transmission (as we’re seeing a lot of these days) isn’t our favourite – it seems to really strain while searching for gears on inclines, but the engine itself is great on the open road. CO2 emissions are claimed at 188g/100km and controlled fuel consumption from 8.8-litres/100km.

It is the cabin of the Koleos, and all its standard spec, that’s going to put a smile on the faces of new customers. While its power and performance isn’t a stand out for me, experiencing the Koleos in rough conditions (of which there are many in South Africa) really impressed many of us at the launch. It absorbs bumps and uneven surfaces beautifully with its gel-like movability and agile road handling.

Pricing for the new Renault Koleos starts at R399 900 for its base model (Expression 2.5 CVT 4×2), and R439 900 for its Dynamique 4×2 model. If you want a Koleos in true 4×4 style, you can expect to pay R479 900.

Also read: We drive the Renault Megane RS LUX

The New Renault Koleos comes standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty; plus a 5-year/ 90 000km service plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty, with service intervals at 15 000km.