Renault is making a big statement with the face-lifted Koleos by launching it in India before any other country in the world. The styling changes along with the face-lift have yielded a smarter, more conventional looking car. If you liked the Fluence, you will like the Koleos too.
The Koleos is being offered in only one trim level in India. This top-of-the-line variant comes with a lot of kit by default. You get dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, light sensors and an eight-speaker Bose music system. The Koleos also features a keyless entry system with a push-button start.
Safety has been given top priority as well and six airbags, ABS, EBD and anti-whiplash headrests come as standard equipment.
The driving position is superb and the fully-powered seat adjustment (only for the driver) allows you to get comfy very quickly. The front seats are supportive and comfortable and the rear bench is well designed with its generous under-thigh support and good space for three passengers.
This five-seater offers a good 450 litres of boot space, which can be increased to 1,380 litres by flipping the split rear bench forward. In fact, the well-orchestrated ease with which the rear seat drops down and tips forward is a brilliant piece of engineering.
Powering the Koleos is a two-litre, 150bhp common-rail diesel motor that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s the same M9R engine that powers the X-Trail but it feels quite different here. You get the same linear power delivery and the engine is responsive despite being blunted by the six-speed auto gearbox.
MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension makes the SUV feel quite car-like. As a result, at low speeds, the Koleos feels very pliant, absorbing undulations and bumps with ease. It’s only over sharp protrusions and through potholes that you feel suspension thuds though but it’s more to do with the relatively low-profile (for an SUV) tyre sidewall that takes the impact.
At highway speeds, the Koleos feels remarkably planted and stable, despite a fair amount of body roll through corners. The electric power steering, although not in the same league as Fluence, has a steady weight and directness throughout, which makes it easy to place the SUV exactly where you want around corners.
The four-wheel-drive system also improves the SUV’s dynamic ability. With the four-wheel-drive mode set to automatic, only the front wheels are powered unless the system senses wheelspin or understeer. So you can drive around corners much faster than you would expect to in this 1.7-tonne vehicle.
Renault koleos 4X4
Price: R 22.99 lakh
Ground clearance: 206mm
Engine 4 cyls in-line, 1,995cc, turbo-diesel
Installation: Front, transverse, all-wheel drive
Power: 150bhp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 32.63kgm at 2,000rpm
Compression ratio: 15.5:1
Suspension (f/r): Independent
MacPherson struts with coil springs/ Independent
Tyres: 225/60 R17
Brakes: (f/r)Ventilated discs/solid discs
The Koleos has a lot going for it. Its long equipment list, spacious cabin and brilliant suspension make it a very comfortable SUV to be in. The Koleos’ styling is pleasant but lacks the macho look a proper SUV demands. The interiors, although well built, don’t feel as rich and plush as the R 22.99 lakh price tag suggests. The steep pricing might detract potential customers despite it being a quality product.