Renault has announced that its all-new Koleos will soon be available from Australian showrooms, bringing along its own unique Gallic flavour to the SUV segment.
The Koleos is Renault's first 4x4 crossover vehicle and was developed jointly between Renault, Nissan and Samsung Motors, making the mid-size SUV French in name only. Still, if you were never a fan of the peculiar idiosyncrasies of French automobiles, then that can only be a good thing
The Koleos comes in either 4x2 or 4x4 guise, with two petrol and diesel-powered engines available. The 4x2 can only be optioned with Renault's new 126kW 2.5-litre petrol engine. However the 4x4 model also gets a torquey and thrifty 2-litre turbodiesel, which puts out a respectable 127kW and 360Nm of torque (134Nm more than the petrol motor).
Both engines are available with either a traditional six-speed manual or a CVT gearbox, with all 4x4 petrol models receiving the CVT. However, CVT-equipped diesel models are detuned to 110kW and 320Nm to help protect the gearbox.
Fuel economy is good for an SUV of this size too: the 4x2 petrol with the six-speed manual returns 9.6 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, while the 4x4 diesel with the same gearbox gets 7.9l/100km.
The Koleos also boasts a useful range of off-road-friendly features, with the 4x4 model featuring hill start assist, hill descent control and an electronically-lockable 50-50 front-rear torque split. A generous 206mm of ground clearance helps the Koleos traverse rougher-than usual terrain - perfect for tackling those pesky parking bay dividers and median strips - although with a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension layout, the Koleos is definitely more car than truck.
On the inside, the emphasis is definitely on comfort rather than off-road ruggedness. Renault's keyless entry and ignition system returns in the Koleos, and dual-zone climate control, cruise control and automatic headlights, handbrake and wipers pamper the driver and reduce workload. Rear passengers also get fold-down tables and fan speed controls, while an optional Modularity Pack adds a one-touch fold-away mechanism for the rear bench as well as a forward-folding front seat back and reclinable rear seats.
An electric panoramic sunroof is also available for all models, while the top-spec Privilege variant brings leather seats, front seat heaters, and a 7.1 speaker Bose sound system.
ESP is standard across the Koleos range, as is ABS, EBA and EBD. A full complement of front, side and curtain airbags protect passengers in the event of a crash, and those climbing into a Koleos should get extra peace of mind from the fact that it's the tenth Renault model to earn a five star rating in the rigorous EuroNCAP crash test program.
Starting at $29,990 for the base Dynamique 4x2 petrol manual and stretching to $41,990 for the Privilege 4x4 petrol CVT, the Koleos range represents good value for those seeking a modern European SUV without the exorbitant pricetag of the predominantly German competition - particularly considering the highly competitive 3 year/150,000km warranty that comes with it. It goes on sale across the country in the first week of October.
With extremely high feature levels, a range of 4x2, 4x4, petrol and diesel-powered models, the new Renault Koleos offers the same reassuring drive regardless of the location - around town, on the open road or off the beaten track.
"Renault has applied its high standards of safety, engineering and design, along with great value for money, to the SUV market and, as a result, the Koleos is an outstanding vehicle," says Renault Managing Director, Rudi Koenig.
"Customers can choose between 4x2 and 4x4, petrol and diesel with all models extremely well-equipped and, of course, safety that is second to none."
Launched in Europe in June, the Koleos is the first 4x4 crossover vehicle to be produced by Renault and will be sold in over 40 countries around the world.
The first truly 'global' product to emerge from the Renault-Nissan Alliance the Koleos was designed by Renault, developed by Nissan and is manufactured in Renault Samsung Motors' Busan plant in Korea. The global durability testing programme included over 30,000km in Australia's harsh northern climates.
The lines of Renault Koleos were designed to be both distinctive and expressive.
The side aspect of the Koleos betrays its 4x4 calling and ruggedness. The arrow that flows from the rear lights along the car's flanks to the front gives Koleos a particularly assertive character. The distinctive lines of its hatch form a movement that spills from the bottom of the rear window to converge on the rear logo which sits on a gloss black finish plaque.
The upper part of the hatch permits access to the boot in cramped spaces and allows items of more than one metre wide to be carried. When lowered, the bottom part of the tailgate serves as a handy seat for two adults (up to 200kg).
The exterior differences between the entry-level Dynamique and top-of-the-range, Privilege, are subtle. Both models are fitted with 17" alloy wheels (with differing designs) and the Privilege is fitted with front and rear parking sensors as standard.
The driving comfort, noise levels and interior design of the Koleos interior set it apart from most compact SUV's.
All controls fall easily to hand and the flowing dash design is finished in soft touch materials. A leather-wrapped steering wheel (height- and reach-adjustable) and gear shift is standard on all models.
A raft of equipment aimed at taking the stress out of motoring underpins how effortlessly Koleos fits into the Renault family. Features include the Renault keyless card and start button function, automatic handbrake, headlamps and wiper activation, dual-zone climate control, satellite audio controls, cruise control (with speed limiter), power windows, roof-mounted child-minder mirror, electronic child locks and adjustment of the exterior mirrors.
The comfort of rear seat passenger is enhanced by two, b-pillar mounted, air vents with fan speed controls located on the back of the centre console. Folding tables are also integrated in the back of the front seats.
The 'Modularity Pack" (Standard on Privilege, optional on Dynamique) includes an 'easy estate' system which enables the 60/40-split rear bench seat to be folded away at the flick of a lever. The pack also includes a forward folding front seat back which allows items up to 2.6m long to be transported, adjustable incline on rear seat backs, a removable centre console insert, rear armrest storage and a 12-volt outlet in the cargo area.
In typical Renault fashion there are plenty of cubbies all around the cabin. The dashboard includes an air- chilled, 15-litre glovebox, while the storage space in the centre console is extremely large. Extra space is provided in a drawer located beneath the front passenger seat, door bins will take a 500ml bottle and the lidded stowage space incorporated in the armrest is ideal for CDs.
The Dynamique is equipped with a single CD, AM/FM audio system whilst the top-of-the-range Privilege is fitted Bose? developed audio system which comprises a digital amplifier, seven loudspeakers and a sub-woofer.
Particular attention has been paid to effective damping of both mechanical and road noise. Effective use of balancer shafts and a twin-mass flywheel damper has been made to minimise cabin intrusion from the diesel engine along with engine subframe filtering and soundproofing materials.
Koleos is fitted with the very latest active and passive safety features.
In emergency braking situations, drivers can count on ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist and ESP with understeer control. Even before the latter kicks in, the all-wheel drive transmission control system intervenes to adjust the front/rear torque split as soon as the first signs of oversteer or understeer are detected.
Koleos benefits from Renault's long-standing work in real-life accident analysis. In terms of passive safety, its body structure features programmed crumple zones at the front and the back. The cabin was designed as a survival cell for passengers in the event of an accident.
Koleos comes with a long list of equipment committed to optimising occupant protection, including dual-front, dual-side and curtain airbags and load limiters for the front and rear seatbelts and front seatbelt pretensioners
Koleos will be available in 4x2 petrol and 4x4 petrol and diesel powered variants.
The 4x4 Dynamique is a powered by three engine/transmission combinations. The 2.5 litre petrol is fitted with a CVT and two variations of the 2.0 litre diesel engine are available. The 6-speed manual dCi is produces 127kW while the 6-speed adaptive automatic transmission is mated to a 110kW engine.
The 2.0 litre diesel engine features the very latest diesel engine technologies, including piezoelectric injectors, common-rail 1,600-bar fuel injection, special-design pistons and a variable-geometry turbo which all combine to make this the most efficient four-cylinder diesel of its class.
In addition to the effortless performance offered by both engines fuel economy is equally impressive with the 2.0 litre dCi manual version returning a combined useage of 7.9 l/100km and the automatic 8.3 l/100km. CO2 emission for both models are 209 g/km and 221 g/km respectively
The 2.5-litre Euro 4-compliant petrol engine which delivers peak power of 126kW at 6,000rpm and maximum torque of 226Nm at 4,400rpm. On the 4x2 Dynamique models the engine is paired with a manual six-speed gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 4x4 Privilege comes standard with CVT.
2.5 petrol/6-spd manual
127 kW 2.0 dCi/6-spd manual
110 kW 2.0 dCi/6-spd auto
Equally at home on all type of roads Koleos benefits from Nissan's experience of all-wheel drive transmission.
The MacPherson-type front suspension combines with the fully-independent multilink rear suspension to deliver comfort and directional stability in all situations. Meanwhile, the dampers and springs have been tuned to match Koleos' specific dimensions and contribute to the targeted balance between comfort and handling. The rear dampers are mounted at an angle in order to free up as much space as possible between the wheel wells (an extra 100mm compared with vertically mounted dampers).
Ground clearance of 206mm (diesel version: 188mm) and approach and departure angles of 27 and 31 degrees respectively are further illustrations of Koleos' off-road credentials. (Note - X-Trail ground clearance ? 200mm, approach angle 26o, departure angle 22o)
In normal conditions, torque is delivered to the front wheels only. Should less grip become available, however, some of the torque is instantly diverted to the rear. In extreme conditions, up to 50 per cent of torque can be transferred to the back wheels in this way. For optimal pullaway from standstill however much grip is available, the system delivers engine toque to all four wheels.
The coupler's bespoke control unit uses data communicated by the engine control unit and by different sensors (wheel speed, yaw, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, steering wheel angle, accelerator pedal position) to instantly optimise traction in all conditions.
When grip is at a premium, such as on snow, mud, dirt or sand, the driver only has to flick a switch on the dashboard to electronically lock the transmission in 4x4 mode and thereby direct 50% of torque to the rear. The transmission can also be locked in front-wheel drive mode.
Koleos is equipped with a Hill Start Assist function which can prove a particularly useful asset during everyday motoring. This system is automatically activated on gradients of more than 10 per cent to prevent the vehicle from slipping back down the slope. It also does away with the need for the driver to switch rapidly from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal which is inherent in all other vehicles.
Similarly, Renault Koleos is equipped with a Hill Descent Control system for even safer off-road motoring. This function is activated via a switch on the central fascia and automatically holds the vehicle's speed at a maximum of 7kmh on downhill gradients of 10 per cent or more without calling for use of the brakes. Particularly useful when Koleos is used off-road, this system also contributes to active safety since it allows the vehicle's downhill speed to be controlled on steep, snowy or icy slopes. The function also works in reverse gear.
The Koleos comes with a three-year or 150,000km warranty.
2.5 petrol, 6-spd manual
2.5 petrol, CVT
2.5 petrol, CVT
127 kW 2.0 dCi/6-spd manual
110 kW 2.0 dCi/6-spd auto
Modularity Pack (Dynamique Only)
Panoramic Glass Sunroof
Bi-Xenon Headlamps (Privilege only)