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Call of the wild

autos Updated: Nov 18, 2011 23:06 IST

Renault is making a statement by launching the face-lifted Koleos 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 variant comes with a lot of kit. 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 as standard equipment. The driving position is superb and the fully-powered seat adjustment (only for the driver) allows you to get comfy 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.

A two-litre, 150bhp common-rail diesel motor is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s the same M9R engine that powers the X-Trail but it feels different here. You get the same linear power delivery and the engine is responsive despite being blunted by the six-speed gearbox.

MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension makes the SUV feel car-like. At low speeds, the Koleos feels 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.

(Autocar India)