Renault could well be vying to bring in a flair to its design that differentiates it from the crowd. Next year, it plans to release the Koleos, which hopes to make a mark in the SUV segment.
The Koleos isn’t as big as the other SUVs in its class. Even ground clearance is only 188 mm. The Renault Lozenge nose is set in a wide panel that divides the two-part grille and oversized headlights. It’s a neat design with the smooth shape of a modern soft-roader.
The interiors aren’t up to European standards but good by Korean levels — the plastics are hardwearing, the switchgear feels solid and the vents don’t flap around. The trim feels tightly screwed and rattles are unlikely.
However, the dashboard is a massive slab of plastic which gets some relief from the large, dash-mounted display screen. But it has made up in function what it lost in form.
The Koleos is a practical SUV. Stop/Start is standard on the Euro-spec car as are cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, on-board computer, auto-on headlamps and wipers. It also has an impressive music system.
The driving position is superb and all-round visibility brilliant. The rear seats are comfortable and offer good under-thigh support.
The Koleos’ 2-litre 150 bhp all-aluminium common-rail diesel with variable valve timing is rev-happy and has lots of punch after 2000 rpm. But the rubbery gearshift and snappy clutch make it hard to drive in the city. The strong engine is at odds with the Koleos’ docile handling, which is set up for relaxed driving. The steering is fairly accurate but doesn’t have much feel. Ride quality is great, and the Koleos feels composed.
In India, the two-wheel-drive version will make more sense. Sources say a starting price of around R15 lakh is being discussed. That will define Renault’s success story. (Autocar India)
Price: R15 lakh (est)
L/W/H: 4520/ 2120/ 1710 mm
Wheelbase: 2690 mm
Kerb weight: 1,649 kg
Engine: Four cyls in-line, 1995 cc, diesel
Installation: Front, transverse, FWD
Power: 150 bhp at 4000 rpm
Torque: 32.6 kgm at 2000 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Brakes: 320 mm ventilated discs (f), 292 mm ventilated discs (r)
Fuel tank capacity: 65 litres
Tyres: 225/ 60 R17