The Koleos returns to these shores, in upgraded form
Itâ€™s been seven years since Renault last sold the Koleos in the UK. But with the SUV sector thriving, the French company felt it was time to give it another go, this time with an uprated version. So would it be worth working up the Renault SUV family from Captur to Kadjar to Koleos?
The Koleos has a similar platform to the Nissan X-Trail and like the Japanese SUV the French one comes with a simple diesel engine choice â€“ in this case a 1.6-litre dCI 130 or a 2.0-litre dCI 175. The smaller diesel comes with front-wheel drive and a manual box, whereas the larger engine, tested here, has the option of manual or auto transmission as well as four-wheel drive.
The test vehicle here has the larger engine, four-wheel drive and auto transmission â€“ in other words weâ€™ve thrown everything at it, as well as the top trim level, Signature Nav. That throws in quite a bit of kit, including sat nav, as the name implies, as well as full leather seating, 19-inch alloys and an 8.7-inch touchscreen.
The infotainment system works well, and there are loads of practical aspects to the cabin, including copious USB ports and cubby holes. The materials, including the leather, are all excellent quality, and thereâ€™s plenty of room front and rear. Headroom isnâ€™t vast but thereâ€™s no shortage of legroom and elbowroom.
Renault Koleos 2.0 dCi 175 X-Tronic AWD Signature Nav
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Kerb weight: 1747kg
Top speed: 125mph
Economy: 47.9mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 156g/km, 30%
However, compared to Skodaâ€™s Kodiaq, the boot is smaller â€“ 579 litres against 630 litres â€“ and there is no seven-seat alternative as the Kodiaq offers.
As mentioned, the torque and powerful-enough diesel engine comes with an auto transmission. What we didnâ€™t say is that itâ€™s a CVT system. Normally theyâ€™re pretty horrid, sounding like your clutch is slipping all the time, but this one has some artificial steps to sort of mimic a normal auto. It mostly works, except at slow speeds, but wouldnâ€™t be our favourite transmission.
The engine works well with it though, delivering very competent levels of torque as well as a good slug of power when you need to get a move on. Itâ€™s built clearly with shifting a family in mind, so itâ€™s no rocket, but for what itâ€™s designed to do it does it very well.
The suspension too is built for comfort not speed, so handling is perfectly adequate but ride quality is pretty high, higher than in the more sports-minded Kodiaq. The Koleos can even back up its looks and go off-road. We tried it on wet ground with 4WD Lock engaged, which locks the diffs. With decent ground clearance at 210mm, the Koleos acquitted itself well, even though this was hardly the Rubicon Trail.
Thereâ€™s quite a lot to like with the Koleos. It looks good, like the other Renault SUVs, and handles everything from road to gentle off-road with steady competence and style. Itâ€™s comfy, well-equipped and reasonably spacious. And, in this top set-up, perhaps a bit expensive. Settle for a lower trim like Dynamique S Nav and you have a worthy pinnacle vehicle when youâ€™re grown out of your Captur and Kadjar. Renault is keen you keep it in the family.