2017 Renault Koleos

Charming French design mixed with Japanese mechanics

"Is the Koleos Renault's answer to South Korean manufacturers?" said Issam.

"The grille itself features four vertical slats with the Renault diamond emblem sitting in the middle of the top three slats."

"The all-new Koleos is an extremely important model for the Middle East and GCC."

"The all-new Koleos is a massive leap forward from the previous model."

We landed in the French city of Paris to lay our hands on the all-new Renault Koleos. After eight years on the market, Renault has finally retired its previous generation Renault Koleos and replaced it with an all-new model.

As a first impression, I can truly say that the Koleos has French design flair, Japanese mechanicals and an impressive South Korean structure - all of which provide a fascinating formula for a family SUV with a lot of charm. To those of you who don't know, the new Koleos has close bonds to its Japanese counterpart, the Nissan X-Trail. It has the same engine, transmission and core underpinnings as the Nissan; however, the Renault's slightly larger measurements, formal styling and elegant cabin give it a lead over the X-Trail.

Best in class, user-friendly 4x4 technology features all mode 4x4-i technology: an all-wheel drive system that makes it easy to switch back and forth between 2WD, 4WD AUTO and 4WD LOCK modes. The new KOLEOS 4x4 transmission also guarantees enhanced safety and stability by neutralizing understeer and oversteer, and by optimizing grip in difficult conditions. The new KOLEOS also delivers all-terrain ability, with a ground clearance of 213 mm.

The new KOLEOS boasts a powerful stance with muscular exterior lines that set it apart from rivals. The exteriors of the Talisman and Koleos were designed in parallel by teams led by the same designer: Alexis Martot. As a result, the new KOLEOS is instantly recognizable as a top-of-the-range Renault, thanks notably to its front-end design that incorporates a prominent Renault logo set at the center of a broad chrome grille. The taut bonnet lines contribute to the car's powerful design, an impression that is heightened by the presence of several chrome embellishments, including strips that run from the headlights along the full length of the wings to visually lengthen the front end and exude an impression of dynamism and elegance. Unique in the segment, this feature sets the new KOLEOS apart from other SUVs.

The new KOLEOS offers an elevated driving position with excellent visibility. Compared to a traditional sedan, the new KOLEOS' driving position is 150 mm higher than traditional sedans, a reassuring feature that is highly prized by SUV buyers. Hand grips on either side of the center console echo the world of off-road motoring while imbuing the interior with a sporty feel. The seats were designed and inspired by airplane seats.

Infotainment system
A key feature of the new KOLEOS interior and travelling comfort is R-Link 2, a connected, personalizable experience. This system serves as a connected control center to coordinate functions like BOSE audio, infotainment, navigation, hands-free telephony, radio and driver aids.

Depending on the market, the new KOLEOS comes with a large array of driver assistance capabilities and options, all of which can be controlled via the R-LINK 2 tablet.

-To reassure: Active Emergency Braking System.
-To alert: Lane departure warning, safe distance warning, traffic sign recognition with excess speed warning, blind spot warning, tiredness detection.
-To assist: Rearview camera, automatic high/low beam, headlights, front, rear and side parking sensors, and easy park assist.

Across the range, power will be provided by the same 2.5-liter petrol four-cylinder engine offered with the X-Trail, producing 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 226 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. A ‘re-engineered' CVT automatic transmission sends power to the wheels. Fuel consumption is listed at 8.1 liters per 100 km on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions at 188 g/km (8.3 L/100 km, 192 g/km for 4×4 model). Towing capacity is listed at 2,000 kg.

So what's our take on the new Koleos? Well, we did try it off-road, but the route arranged by Renault was so domesticated that it told us nothing more of its true abilities. I would have expected a bit of rough off-road driving. Like the X-Trail, the Koleos has a diff-lock function in the All-Mode 4×4-i system. I can truly say that the new Koleos deserves to sell much better than its predecessor ever did, and will -due to its roomy interior and handsome styling. Is the Renault Koleos an upright SUV? Yes, unquestionably.

Pros: Good-looking, practical, good combination of French design flair and solid Japanese engineering
Cons: Consumes fuel when pushed hard, shabby engine sound
Rivals: Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Volkswagen Tiguan, Jeep Renegade, Ford Edge, Mitsubishi Outlander
one word: remarkable
3.5 stars

2.5L 4-cylinder, 170 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 226 Nm @ 4,400 rpm
X-Tronic CVT, 2WD/4WD
0-100 km/h: 9.5 sec, top speed: 200 km/h, fuel consumption: 8.1-8.3 L/100 km
Weight: 1,552-1,611 kg

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