Renault Koleos tested

By CARSIFU | 12 December 2014

Foie gras, champagne and frogs legs.

The French are famous for many things, mostly those counted as the finer things in life.

They have also had a long history in the automotive world and most of their machines try to emulate this closeness the French have to haute couture.

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There have been some weird creations they have dreamed up in the past but not so with the Renault Koleos.

While it might not be the most luxurious or performance driven of SUVs, it certainly is one of the most comfortable ones.

Passengers have plenty of legroom in the back while in the front it is anything but cramped.

Its soft-touch dash and door trims are impressive but the we found the leather-rimmed steering wheel a might bit unyielding.

The rotary dial controller for the standard sat-nav, audio and Bluetooth telephony was easy enough to understand and operate but the same can’t be said of the ‘ergonomic’ but hidden switches for phone answer, volume and hang-up on the steering column control stalk.

The SUV’s entertainment system on the other hand did not fail to impress.

The subwoofer-aided four-speaker, two-tweeter Bose sound system did a sterling job, sounds were crisp enough to please most audiophiles.

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Boot space is not at a premium either. The Koleos boasts a 450-litre, boot which is not too shabby in its category, that is augmented further by the Renault’s split tailgate and easy-fold rear-seat backrests that glide open to form a properly-flat load space.

The Koleos’ five-star safety rating is also enhanced by the inclusion of a blind-spot warning system as well as the usual array of airbags and electronic chassis control aids.

As the French are wont to do, Renault has included a glass sun-roof on the Koleos.

I understand its a matter of personal preference, but personally I feel that sunroofs should be kept in the Mediterranean where they belong.

With Malaysia’s blisteringly hot sunshine, the only time you would ever have it open would be at night.

I have to point out that the material Renault used for the retractable sunshade adequately blocks out the rays so you do not get heat radiating on to the top of your head as you do with some other makes.

Now on to the drive.

Seeing that comfort is a defining feature of the Koleos, we decided to take the long way (in other words, the trunk road) to Taiping, Perak to see how the SUV performed.

What we found was that the SUV preferred to be driven at a constant speed on long straight stretches.

The bits that were a bit too windy showed the SUV’s handling to be a bit uninspiring.

The Koleos tends to understeer through corners via too-light steering, which is pretty much what you’d expect given the agreeably soft ride.

And its front wheel-drive configuration, which goes mostly unnoticed under the SUV guise, becomes evident in uphill standing starts. Especially if there is gravel or sand on the road.

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Its 2.5-litre 170hp/226Nm four-cylinder petrol engine has little trouble getting the SUV’s 1,622kg kerb weight going, which was helped along by its nicely matched continuously variable transmission which provide strong responses whenever you need them.

We have to say that it was hard to escape the feeling that this was more the compact SUV Renault had to have, rather than the one its engineers would have liked to have.

While it does allow Renault to dip its toes into the compact SUV market, its performance lacks the punch and pizzazz that you would expect from the marque that gave us the Clio and Megane hothatches.

The Koleos is not an SUV for winding roads nor hill ascents.

Preferably with your favourite tunes soothing you through its classy Bose sound system, as this SUV is more Mozart than Metallica.

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Furthermore, our almost 1,000km return trip showed us that the Koleos is a pretty efficient vehicle as its fuel consumption averaged at 7.6L/100km.

On the whole, the Koleos would make a decent drive if you have children.

Its RM185,888 (OTR with insurance) price tag may sound steep but if you take into consideration the which segment of the market its positioned in, namely luxury small SUV, it is actually not that bad.

At the end of the day, its practicality and fuel efficiency make the Koleos a good candidate for urbanites. -  NIKLAS ALBAKRI





CarSifu's Rating: 7.9