by Richard Kilpatrick

Renault Koleos Estate Review

Renault Koleos

The Renault Koleos marks a new direction for the French automaker; striking out from the traditional large MPVs such as the Grand Scenic with a pure SUV along the same lines as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Nissan X-Trail. It’s not the first Renault along these lines, but it is the best so far, and an impressively complete package.

Representing impressive value, the Renault Koleos is – unusually – only available with a diesel engine, either a 1.6-litre 130hp unit with manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, or a 2.0-litre 175hp with options for CVT automatic and all-wheel drive; although the CVT is a relaxing option, you’ll want the manual for towing as it can pull a full two-tonnes of braked trailer, vs 1,650kg for the auto.

Every Koleos is lavishly – almost ridiculously – well equipped for what it costs. Naturally Renault’s focus on safety means that a full complement of passive and active safety features are standard, and the Koleos scored five stars in the tougher 2017 Euro NCAP tests. Dual-zone climate control, 7.0-inch (or 8.7-inch on higher specification) TomTom navigation with Apple CarPlay/Android auto support, and cooled cupholders are standard on all models of Renault Koleos. GT-Line two-wheel drive models get leather trim, an opening panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate and heated front seats.

On the road, the Renault Koleos’ long wheelbase smooths out bumps and ridges, and soft suspension further isolates passengers from the worst surfaces. As one of the larger SUVs in this price range, comfort is well above expectations, and refinement isn’t far behind. Interior quality is also impressive, with luxury trim elements and well-thought out cabin storage; everything fits together neatly with no squeaks or rattles.

Renault’s R-Link 2 navigation system is intuitive and well-presented on the standard 7.0-inch touchscreen; the larger, portrait-view 8.7-inch model on higher grades of Koleos looks striking, but doesn’t add much to the usability; the rest of the GT-Line upgrades make it the more appealing option overall, however.

Zen motoring: Solid build and masses of space costs less than you think

It’s true, the Koleos may lack some car-park impact compared to rivals; from behind the wheel that really doesn’t matter. The refreshingly comfortable ride, immense – in part due to being a five-seater when so many rivals try to fit seven – passenger space and impressive interior build are just as easy to enjoy when no-one’s looking. If you don’t have a specific need for 4x4, the GT-Line two-wheel drive’s standard large panoramic roof and optional contrasting leather colours create an ambiance worthy of cars costing considerably more.

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