Test Drive: Renault Koleos 2WD – The French alternativePOSTED BY Mick Chan ON 20 July 2014
The modern SUV will hardly see off-road action, that much is almost certain. Rather than the terrain-traversing qualities that traditionally appealed, it is the elevated ride height of such machines that is of greater draw for the lifestyle set who will be shopping in this segment.
Renault’s Koleos as tested here in 2WD guise offers a European, albeit pricier alternative to the Japanese and Korean offerings that are more mainstream, and the French vehicle does so with a more distinct exterior, particularly with its facelifted front.
While seating capacity remains for five, the Koleos is spacious. Its luggage compartment is accessed via a split-folding tailgate, where the lower part doubles as a platform capable of supporting loads of up to 200kg – handy for sitting on while lacing up footwear.
Despite being clad in various shades of grey and black, the Koleos’ interior is actually a rather welcoming environment, with leather seats that proved to be comfortable for extended jaunts around the city, while the plastics used throughout the cabin is similarly pleasant to the touch. We found the glow of orange light from the air-conditioning controls against the dark interior to be rather pleasing, particularly at night.
We have our reservations about the choice of material used for the door grab handles, though; like the rest of the plastics in the car they have a nice tactile quality to them but at the same time it was as if they would be more susceptible to scratching than others.
Operating the vehicle is pleasantly easy, and the 2.5-litre powerplant that drives the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission provides strong, if not scorching progress. Visibility around the Koleos from the driver’s perch is good, aided by its taller than average position, albeit one that is common for an SUV/crossover type of vehicle.
Its road manners are acceptable in everyday use, although surface imperfections make themselves known to the cabin – and therefore its occupants – more than is ideal, and perhaps more than other comparable vehicles might do.
Special kudos goes to the steering. As with most modern setups there isn’t much feel that filters through to the driver, but the Koleos makes the best of what it has courtesy of a nicely-sized wheel rim, both in girth and in diameter. In practice the Koleos is easy to steer accurately, and the rack that is neither too quick nor too slow makes for a well-judged helm.
Active safety features are aplenty in the Koleos, and the one that will make itself known most often on our densely populated roads is the blind spot warning system. It alerts the driver of potential hazards behind the vehicle via a light on each A-pillar, and it proves to be a useful supplement to the side mirrors, particularly for noticing vehicles that are fast-closing from behind. Although it seems a tad pessimistic – it blinks for vehicles situated further away than Volvo’s BLIS system does – it is nonetheless effective.
So while its set of drive dynamics leaves a little to be desired, the Koleos still makes a compelling case for itself as a family vehicle for those who would like a little French flair added to their daily drive.
Specifications of the Renault Koleos 2.5 4X2 Crossover
Engine: 2,488cc inline-four cylinder, petrol fuel injection naturally aspirated
Max power: 170hp at 6,000rpm
Max torque: 226Nm at 4,400rpm
Transmission: X-Tronic continuously variable transmission, front-wheel-drive
Acceleration (0 – 100km/h): 9.9 seconds
Top speed: 186km/h
Fuel consumption (combined): 9.6L/100km
CO2 emissions (combined): 230g/km
Safety features: Blind spot warning system, ESC, EBD, BA, front (driver and passenger) airbags, front side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pretensioner and force limiter, three-point rear seat belts with force limiter, Isofix child seat anchors (rear side seats)
Price: RM185,888 OTR including insurance
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