The ever-so-competitive soft roader market has really been thrown on its back by affordable, luxury-type compact utility vehicles. Take the Koleos for example; you are sitting with an entry level vehicle in the Renault range, which compares to that of the higher end CUV’s from the other manufacturers. The baby Koleos is basically a full-spec vehicle, with all the gadgets you would ever need.
Step inside and you are greeted by luxury leather interior, including a leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel which also houses the multifunction controls. Driver seat is electronically adjustable while passenger is manual. Driver lumbar support is also available. One-touch windows all the way around with privacy glass on the rear windows with a nifty sunshade on the inside. This also makes it nearly impossible for prying eyes to see what’s in the vehicle from outside. The back seats are slightly reclineable but also flip flat in a split manner.
The multimedia system is pretty intuitive; with a little control centre in the middle of the vehicle, this controls the factory fitted Tom Tom navigation, which helps point out those ugly speeding cameras on our roads. It sure did save me a couple of times. Sound quality is average in this market and a decent amount of volume is available. Ipod , USB and blue tooth support also comes standard and the latter is easy to setup, once you read the manual. I highly advise you read it because the options can be a little confusing.
Driving the Koleos is where it comes together. Decent ground clearance and a rather nippy 2.5l 4 cylinder engine making 126kw. 0-100kph is claimed in 9.0 seconds and you thought I was joking about being nippy. The 6 speed gearbox is slick, but is probably let down with a very light clutch. I just feel that it’s too light for my liking. On the overall package the Koleos drives well on all road conditions. Our overall consumption figures varied from 8.5l to 9.7l when we were eventually done with the review.
It’s strange how compact utility vehicles look so much smaller from the outside and how space is surprisingly adequate on the inside and a family of 5 will easily fit in the Koleos. There are pretty funky food trays behind the passenger and drivers seats, which is a nice touch. There is also a large boot with split doors for easy loading. The spare which is also located under the boot tray is a full size model.
The front McPherson shocks and multi-link rear suspension gives a smooth ride and also offers the Koleos 206mm of ground clearance with an approach angle of 27 degrees and a departure angle of 31 degrees. This makes the occasional pavement jumping, or hill ascending, a little easier. Note that this model Koleos is not all wheel drive, but front wheel drive only. It handles rougher roads and gravel perfectly fine.
For a price of R289 000, the Koleos is priced extremely well if you consider the kit that you are getting. As usual, the Koleos is backed by Renaults 5 year / 150 000km mechanical warranty and their 100 000km, 3 year service plan.
For more info, have a look at Renault.co.za