Gareth Butterfield thinks Renault has finally hit the sweet spot with its Koleos SUV
Anyway, I digress. This time round the Koleos makes a lot more sense. The nation has fallen hook, line and sinker for the SUV and Renault’s newcomer caps off its range of jacked-up family runabouts nicely.
It actually borrows a lot of its platform from the X-Trail, made by Renault’s new chums at Nissan, but it’s arguably better looking and Renault has worked its magic on the ride and handling. So it drives a bit better than the X-Trail.
What it lacks over the X-Trail is a third row of seats. There’s only five in this car, which is a shame, but it won’t put everyone off. Seven-seaters have always seemed a bit “niche” since the MPV was killed off by the SUV anyway.
Renualt fans will find the exterior styling very familiar, despite its large size, and the same can be said for the interior. It’s got that usual Renault touch of simplicity and class about it, along with the large upright touch screen, chunky steering column-mounted control box and the inexplicably centrally-mounted cruise control switch. It’s a good layout, if a tad predictable.
You can have any engine you like in the Koleos, as long as it’s a two-litre diesel with 173bhp. It comes with a standard automatic box which is of the continuously-variable persuasion, but don’t let that put you off. It’s actually pretty good.
In fact, so simple is the level of choice with the Koleos that the main option you need to make is whether to go for the Iconic, or the plusher GT Line. Given the top model is only £2,000 more than the £27,250 base price, it’s worth going for the posher one, if you can.
You can also opt for two-wheel-drive or four-wheel drive. Obviously there’s a penalty in economy and emissions if you go the 4×4 route, but it’s not significant.
In both trim levels the cabin in comfortable and very spacious. The boot is large, with 579 litres of space and the rear passenger seats are extremely roomy. This, of course, is the pay-off for not having those extra two seats in the back.
So the Koleos might share a name with its dumpy predecessor, but that’s really as far as the similarity goes.
With the great X-Trail platform to build on and all the modern Renault touches and design flair, this is arguably its best SUV yet.
If you’re in the market for a classy SUV and you can live without seven seats, the Koleos is well worth a look.