Compare the Renault line-up now to that of several years ago and you’ll see some pretty fundamental changes, and a lot of that is down to Nissan. The brand partner has shown some huge success with its crossover range, so with this in mind Renault took the decision to follow suit, and in came the Captur, Kadjar and this the Koleos.
Now, strip it right back and what you’re left with is the underpinnings of the Nissan X-Trail, but it’s been given a bit more French flair. It has a lot of the styling cues from the Megane family hatch, so you get this imposing grille and unique LED headlamps, but it’s raised stance and beefy demeanour, it really stands out alongside other competition like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq and Kia Sorento.
On the road
So for a car that’s largely based around the Nissan X-Trail, you’d expect it to pretty much drive the same. Well you’d be wrong. The ride is less forgiving than the Nissan, that’s largely down to the large alloy wheels, which makes it rattle and thump over potholes. Also, the suspension is a bit noisy too.
The steering is light, which makes low speed manouvers considerably easier than some rivals, but it’s a shame it’s not a bit weightier when you’re driving at higher speeds. And when you are driving down those faster country lanes, there is a bit more body lean than we’d like.
The engine line up is pretty lean, there are just two diesel engines available, a 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre with either 128 or 173bhp respectively. The lower powered version is pretty impressive around town and has just enough oomph at higher speeds. The more powerful version is, obviously, swifter, but when matchd with the optional CVT automatic gearbox, you will need to be a bit more mindful of gaps in the traffic when overtaking.
Running costs are competitive with the 1.6-litre averaging around 57mpg and 128 g/km of CO2. The more powerful 2.0-litre will average close to 43mpg which isn’t bad, but still not as strong as some of its rivals.
In the cabin
The cabin is a nice place to be, there’s a good mix of quality plastics and soft touch materials, which improve the more you spend, although all versions get a leather trimmed wheel, gearknob and ‘leather immitation’ grab handles.
Right in front of the driver is a fully adjustable digital instrument panel, which works well, although it’s not as well put together as the system in VWs. All the controls are well placed, and the standard 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is relatively straight forward to use. It’s just a bit frustrating that if you want to change the cabin temperature, you have to do it through the infotainment system, which can be a bit of a faff, especially on the move. A larger 8.7-inch infotainment system is available on higher spec models.
The seats are comfortable and supportive, and fully adjustable as too is the steering wheel. Visibility is also pretty good straight ahead but these thick A-pillars may make pulling out of junctions just a little trickier.
You’ll find there’s ample space in the cabin, whether its head and leg room up front, or in the back, and because it’s quite a wide car, you can fit three in the back quite comfortably. The only person who might grumble is the person sat in the middle, as the seat is raised, which will impede headroom.
The only other frustration is that some of its main rivals like the Peugeot 5008, Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq and of course it’s sibling the Nissan X-trail is that they’re all available with seven seats. Plus the rear seats only split 60/40 whereas some of its rivals offer 40/20/40.
The boot is a good size and shape and there’s no load lip, while its not the biggest in its class it’s more than enough space for a couple of large cases.
The Koleos is one of the more stylish SUVs on the market and equipment levels are pretty impressive. The only trouble is that some of its rivals offer more space, a more involved driving experience and more seats.