Renault Koleos dCi 175bhp 4WD Auto X-Tronic02 | 08 | 2017Scotcars rating

    Renault re-launches the Koleos into what is an already crowded SUV market: can it compete?

    WHY, YOU MIGHT ASK, seven years after it stopped selling its previous version, has Renault launched a new Koleos? More importantly, is it good enough to compete against some stiff competition in an already crowded SUV market? (Related: Roadtest — Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110 Dynamique S Nav)

    First things first: the 2017 Koleos, which follows the smaller Captur and Kadjar in Renault’s expanding crossover line-up,  is big. It sits on a 2705mm wheelbase — identical to that of the Nissan X-Trail, but still one of the longest in its class — and yet is only a five-seater. Renault has specifically decided not to build a seven-seat version simply because it wants to maximise the space for the five occupants.

    Well, they’ve certainly achieved that. You’d expect comfortable space in the front, but for those in the rear it’s cavernous. You’ll never find yourself wishing for more knee of headroom.

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    Bootspace? That’s 579 litres in the Renault, which beats the X-Trail by 29 litres. But it’s beaten by the rival Skoda Kodiaq's 630 litres. The spacious easy-fold split rear seats create a total of 1706 litres of loadspace in the Koleos. And access is aided by a power tailgate which can be operated by this new fad of under-bumper foot waving.

    Buyers get a choice of two diesel engines. While a front-wheel-drive 128bhp 1.6-litre is the entry-level choice, it’s the more powerful, 173bhp 2.0-litre with 380Nm of torque — plus optional all-wheel-drive — which gives the Koleos its true SUV credentials. And it’s the latter version we’re reviewing in Signature Nav trim.

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    Performance is both strong and refined. Power is delivered via a six-speed manual gearbox, or seven-speed X-Tronic CVT automatic. Thankfully — unlike some versions found in other manufacturer’s cars — the Renault Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) system is very smooth, and without the irritating whine every time you put your foot down.  

    The French car maker has, cleverly, artificially incorporated seven 'steps' in the transmission: the innovation works extremely well. (Related: Roadtest — Renault Grand Scenic dCi 130 Dynamique S Nav)

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    The suspension of the Koleos has been designed with family cruising in mind, and as a result, it’s comfortably on the soft side. That’s not a criticism; far from it. At motorway cruising speeds it glides along, while back on A-roads it’s equally at ease, only developing slight body roll through corners when pushed. Worth highlighting here, the Koleos does have a ground clearance of 210mm.

    And the cabin remains a quiet environment, free from the clatter of the diesel at idle. But again, as we are finding in more of the cars we have tested recently, the soundproofing which counters the engine noise does then allow the void to be filled with tyre thrum.

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    Two trim levels of the Koleos are available at Scottish Renault dealers: Dynamique S Nav and top-of-the-range Signature Nav. And because Renault envisages this as being  a top-of-the-range SUV, spec is comprehensive.

    Even the dCi 175 Auto X-Tronic — expected to be the biggest seller in £31,900 Dynamic S Nav guise — gets a host of goodies as standard, including a 7in touch screen multimedia system which incorporates Bluetooth, handsfree connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone replications, TomTom live update sat nav with western European mapping.

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    It also gets part leather upholstery, front seat heating, dual-zone climate control, a DAB radio, automatic lights and wipers, a hands-free keycard, heated and folding door mirrors, roof bars, extra-tinted rear windows, an opening panoramic sunroof, four USB and two AUX ports, 18in two-tone alloy wheels … and cooling cup holders!

    Step up to the £34,200 Signature Nav, and there’s more. There’s that power-operated, foot-wafting-triggered tailgate, an 8.7in portrait format multimedia screen, full LED headlamps, heated, full leather upholstery, and 19jn alloys. Phew!!

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    The big question is; is that all enough to prise potential buyers away from the cheaper, but equally efficient and practical — if, perhaps, not as well equipped — rivals such as the Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Edge?

    Look further down the Koleos range — which starts at £27,500 for the basic model — and the competition is, indeed stiff, with the likes of the Kodiaq starting at £22,190.

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    However, pitch the range-topping Koleos Signature Nav against its Skoda equivalent, the Kodiaq 2.0TDI 190 in Edition trim, and the decision gets tougher. Indeed, on paper, the Renault is the cheaper car.

    One thing’s for sure, if you’re considering a family SUV, better make sure you at least test the new Koleos. It’s in a another world compared to the one which was canned in 2010.

    Related: Roadtest — Renault ZOE Dynamique R90 Z.E

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/Scotcars

    Jim McGill

     

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £34,200 / £34,200
    Engine / Power: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, all-wheel drive, CVT auto / 173bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.2sec / Max 125mph
    How big/heavy?: L4673mm W1843mm H1678mm / 1747kgkg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 47.9mpg / 156g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Edge

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