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New car review

Renault Koleos review

An effective new SUV which may surprise buyers, but entering an already overcrowded market

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Design
8.0
Performance
7.0
Handling
7.0
Economy
8.0
Value
8.0

Summary

The Renault Koleos is an effective new SUV which may surprise buyers in an overcrowded market.

Summary

The Renault Koleos is an effective new SUV which may surprise buyers in an overcrowded market.
 

Introduction | Design | Powertrains | On the Road | Equipment | Summary and Specifications

Powertrains

Powertrain choices for the Renault Koleos are pretty simple, at least for now. They consist of two diesel units, a 1.6-litre with 130hp, and a 2.0-litre with 175hp. The 1.6 is matched to a front-wheel-drive transmission only, the 2.0 only to all-wheel-drive, though one gets a choice with this unit of a six-speed manual or seven-speed X-

The 1.6 is matched to a front-wheel-drive transmission only, the 2.0 only to all-wheel-drive, though one gets a choice with this unit of a six-speed manual or seven-speed X-tronic auto gearbox.

Less than a year ago, the lack of a petrol option might not have raised an eyebrow, as virtually all SUVs were bought with diesel propulsion. But the market is changing very quickly in the face of negative, and in many cases politcally-led, publicity being thrown at diesel engines.

As this is written, sales of such units in the UK have plummeted 20% in the last month, which is the fourth month in a row to see falls of such a magnitude.

Renault is unfazed, however – the Koleos is available with petrol power in other markets, and apparently such versions could easily be added to the UK right-hand market if required. We reckon that decision won’t be long in coming…

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On the road

The test cars for the UK launch event were all fitted with the top spec 175hp 2-litre engine, all-wheel-drive and auto transmission.

The X-tronic gearbox is actually a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), and traditionally such units have been pretty poor. Renault insists this one is “unlike previous CVTs” and under sharp acceleration acts more like an auto with multiple ratios. It is better, yes, though this reviewer would still prefer a twin-clutch DSG-style unit.

Unsurprisingly the engine does not lack in pace – the fastest 0-62mph time is achieved with the X-tronic and dips under 10 seconds. It is a refined unit too, and on the motorway the Koleos cruises in an assured manner that achieves the premium experience Renault was aiming at.

It’s a comfortable car to travel in, the chassis tuning clearly majoring on cosseting the occupants rather than attacking corners. Once in the bends, however, what is a big car stays pleasingly upright, and the steering feels confident and predictable. Overall it’s a pleasant, rather than exciting, experience.

 
 

Renault also took the opportunity on the launch event to demonstrate the off-road prowess of the Koleos. Included in 4×4 versions of the car is a lock mode, engaging permanent all-wheel-drive at speeds under 25mph. With this selected, climbing quite steep muddy tracks, and even restarting from stationary on them, is a task of ease. Mind you, it is also a task very few examples of the Koleos are ever likely to be asked to perform…

Introduction | Design | Powertrains | On the Road | Equipment | Summary and Specifications

Design
8.0
Performance
7.0
Handling
7.0
Economy
8.0
Value
8.0

Summary

The Renault Koleos is an effective new SUV which may surprise buyers in an overcrowded market.
Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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