All-new range-topping Renault SUV has arrived. Intrigued, we took it for a test to see if it's worth considering
What do we have here?
The all-new Koleos completes Renault’s crossover range above the Captur and Kadjar and is built on the Renault-Nissan common platform also used for the Scenic and Espace models.
It is a Volvo XC60 / Audi Q5 sized SUV that claims to have executive-class features without premium pricing, although, it's not available with seven seats.
Only two engines are available, both of which are turbo diesel. Surprisingly, no petrol variant is offered. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder version produces 128bhp and 236lb ft of torque while the 2.0-litre four-cylinder version develops 172bhp and 280lb ft.
The smaller engine can only be specified with two-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2.0-litre version has four-wheel drive with a CVT (X-Tronic) automatic gearbox option.
There are two trim levels available for both engines: Dynamic S Nav and Signature Nav. Both trims feature as standard equipment an opening panoramic sunroof, rear camera and parking sensors, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They also get active emergency braking system, blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition and hill start assist.
The Signature Nav adds an 8.7in touchscreen, a powered tailgate and Nappa leather.
All the cars available for testing at the UK launch were top of the range Signature Nav dCi 175 4WD Auto X-Tronic models so we were unable to drive 1.6-litre version with the manual gearbox.
Strangely, all the available cars were in a metallic blue paint which fortunately complements the styling perfectly.
On the road, price starts at £27,500 and rises to £34,200 for the range-topping model as tested.
How does it drive?
Predictably for a car of this type. The Koleos, particularly aided by the automatic gearbox, is a piece of cake to drive. There is adequate performance from the 2.0-litre engine and the steering is light for town manoeuvring.
Interestingly, constantly variable automatic transmissions have come a long way since the original versions were spoiled by holding on to very high engine revs for ages when accelerating.
The X-Tronic system behaves more like a multi-ratio automatic and the driver can choose a seven-speed sequential mode to benefit from engine braking.
The ride is firm but smooth and the handling, when driving along twisty A or B roads, feels safe and secure without too much body roll. This is not a car to satisfy the keen driver but that is not its aim either.
What’s it like inside?
Well, the cabin of this top model is certainly a pleasant place to be and aided by the leather seats and large A4 format touch-screen.
The driver’s seat has electric adjustability and all the familiar Renault controls fall comfortably to hand. The fascia and door trim materials, however, fail to lift the interior into the executive territory occupied by more expensive rivals.
You cannot complain about interior space though. Sitting in the back seats behind ‘my six-foot self’ was a position with plenty of head and leg room and three adults could easily fit across the rear bench.
The long wheelbase helps and the boot has 458-litres of capacity with a handy removable floor-panel positioned at the same height as the sill to form a flat floor. With the seats down, available space rises to 1690-litres.
The lack of a seven-seat option may well put off some family buyers but they are encouraged by Renault to look at the Scenic range instead.