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Renault Koleos
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This Car Has Been Discontinued.
Customer Rating
: N/A
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 2 Yrs / 50,000 kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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Strong Areas

  • Rear AC vents
  • BOSE music system
  • Good off-roader with 4X4 
  • Top-class interior material 
  • Dual zone air conditioning

Weak Areas

  • Priced high
  • Below par gear box
  • No third row of seat
  • Lacks the road presence
  • Cabin space is average
Renault Koleos
 
 

Koleos gets a face-lift in India before the world

India matters to Renault, a fact obvious from their giving the Indian Koleos the desired face-lift before the world. A strategy, we believe, will surely pay rich dividends to Renault in the long-run. Just don't take our word for it, ask Hyundai.

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ecardlr.com National

RENAULT KOLEOS

Suvs, apart from being well suited to Indian road conditions, command the sort of respect that other vehicles just don’t get. No wonder then that Renault is hoping to give its brand a strong fillip with the Koleos. This soft-roader has just been given a face-lift and India is the first market in the world to get it. While a global debut indicates how important India is in Renault’s scheme of things, what needs to be seen is whether this fresh, new suv can carve out its own fan following despite some tough competition.

HOW TOUGH?

Suv s need to have lots of road presence and the war is half-won if they look the part. Renault, however, has designed the Koleos as an urban runabout with modest off-road abilities and hence, in the same vein, the design too has an urbane, slick feel with just a hint of ruggedness. The earlier Koleos was a bit awkward-looking in comparison and may not have been suited to the Indian palette. However, the face-lifted Koleos is targeted at a wider range of customers in different markets and is hence much easier on the eye.

The peeled-back headlamps of the earlier Koleos have been replaced by a smarter, longer design and the two-part grille has been replaced by a single piece but more prominent hexagonal design. Three, chrome-tipped bars run across the grille with the Renault lozenge propped up in the middle. There’s a more sculpted look for the front fender as well and the crease that runs from under the headlight to the chin catches light quite nicely. Unlike the front, there are no changes to the sides which continue to look quite plain and generic. The rear too is unchanged with the same organically styled tail-lamps and the clever-two-piece tailgate is retained, which is a good thing.

The Koleos, which has only 206mm of ground clearance, looks more sleek than sturdy. It has more of a crossover than traditional Suv feel to it and the tame styling isn’t going to turn a lot of heads.

Under the skin, the Koleos uses the same platform the Nissan X-trail sits on. In fact, though Renault did all the styling, most of the engineering work has been done by Nissan and the Koleos is manufactured by Renault Samsung in Korea (where it is sold as the Samsung QM5). Knocked-down kits are shipped from the company’s Busan plant to India.

LOADED

The Koleos is being offered in only one trim level in India. This top-of-the-line variant comes with a lot of kit as standard. You get dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, light sensors and an eight-speaker Bose music system. In fact, the Koleos carries Bose co-branding as is evident by the Bose badges on the door sill and fenders. While that adds a bit of snob value to the Koleos, there’s no denying that the music system is something to boast about and will have audiophiles in ecstasy. The Koleos also features a keyless entry system with a push-button start. You also get a fully adjustable steering which tilts and telescopes. Safety has been given top priority as well and six airbags, ABS, EBD and anti-whiplash headrests come as standard equipment.

Slip inside the Koleos and the first impression is that it feels more Korean than European but that’s not such a bad thing given the huge strides Korean suppliers have made with interior quality. It’s just that the Koleos is no Volskwagen nor is it a CR-V for that matter; though the plastics are hardwearing and feel solid, they lack the rich texture you expect from a near Rs 25-lakh car. This feeling is perhaps accentuated by the huge slab of plastic that is the dashboard with only the information display binnacle popping out to give some relief. The LCD screen also feels small and a bit basic in terms of resolution. There are some nice bits though like the silver accents for the air-con vents and the centre console that sports an attractive mock carbon fibre look. The knurled finish on the rotary controls for the air-con and music system controls feel really good too. You have the option of plugging in your personal music via a USB, Bluetooth or Aux-in connection. However, the menu navigation is far from straightforward and just searching for music off your USB device can be frustrating. Not making it easier is the awkwardly placed audio control stalk behind the steering wheel which isn’t intuitive to use.

The driving position, however, is simply superb and the fully powered seat adjustment (only for the driver) allows you to get comfy very quickly. The chunky three-spoke steering, which feels great to hold, and the brilliant all-round visibility give you an immediate sense of control.

The front seats are supportive and comfortable, reducing the fatigue over long journeys significantly and the rear bench is well designed too with generous under-thigh support and good space for three passengers. Nice touches include a backrest that can also be adjusted to get the right recline angle and dedicated rear air-con vents with two fan speed settings. Apart from that, there are also trays that flip up from the front seats for that added bit of convenience. This five-seater also offers a good 450 litres of boot space, which can be increased to 1380 litres by flipping the split rear bench forward. The European version we drove last year had a lever on the inner D-pillar which flips the seats down flat and tilts the squab upwards in one well orchestrated motion. Sadly, this clever bit of engineering has been eliminated for India. However, a well-thought-out detail that’s retained is the split tailgate which can double up as a bench (it takes the weight of two adults) or a picnic table. The only hitch is that the laod lip is quite high, which makes loading heavy luggage hard work.

PULLING PUNCHES

Powering the Koleos is a two-litre, 150bhp common-rail diesel motor that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s the same M9R engine that powers the X-trail but it feels quite different in the Renault Suv. You get the same linear power delivery and the engine is quite responsive despite being blunted by the six-speed auto ‘box. However, the mid-range isn’t particularly strong and there’s only a gentle surge of power when the turbo kicks in. Performance is pretty adequate for most situations and the Koleos cruises with ease. However, on part-throttle, the Koleos feels a bit sluggish and you need to flat-foot the accelerator to get going, be it for overtaking on the highway or driving in a hurry in the city. Beyond 3500rpm, the engine suddenly becomes noisy and there’s a distinct boom that filters through into the cabin.

Credit should however be given to the six-speed gearbox which uses a conventional torque converter. Gearshifts are smooth and fairly quick but if you are in a hurry, it is better to drive the Koleos in manual mode. You can tap the chrome-tipped gear lever for downshifts which are prompt, although upshifts aren’t as quick. However, the Koleos is best enjoyed when it is driven a couple of notches down as it feels most relaxed either cruising down the highway or trundling around the city.

STEADY, BOY!

First with the Fluence and now with the Koleos, Renault is fast establishing itself as the benchmark for driving dynamics. The Koleos strikes a finely judged balance between ride and handling to give it class-best road behavior by a large margin.

Macpherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension make the suv feels quite car-like but clever damper tuning, which is slightly on the softer side, gives the Koleos a special suppleness without compromising body control.

As a result, at low speeds, the Koleos feels very pliant, absorbing undulations and bumps with ease. It’s only over sharp protrusions and through potholes that you feel the suspension thuds through. But it’s more to do with the tyre sidewall taking the impact. However, it’s nothing to complain about as comfort levels are well above average for an suv in this segment.

At highway speeds, the Koleos feels remarkably planted and stable, despite a fair amount of body roll through corners. The suspension proves to be quite adept at keeping the mass (and high centre of gravity) of the Koleos in check and unlike other suvs that lurch around corners the Koleos gently leans into them. The electric power steering, although not in the same league as the Fluence, has a steady weight and directness throughout which makes it easy to place the suv exactly where you want around corners.

The four-wheel-drive system also improves the dynamic ability of the Koleos. With the four-wheel-drive mode set to automatic, only the front wheels of the Koleos are powered unless the system senses wheelspin or understeer, in which case it will transfer torque to the rear axle. So you can drive around corners much faster than you would expect to in a 1.65-tonne suv. The Koleos also features an electronically activated two-wheel-drive-only mode for daily use and a four-wheel-drive lock mode for mild off-road excursions.

Although surprisingly enjoyable to drive, the Koleos isn’t sporty like the CR-V and doesn’t have quite the same hunkered-down feel but thankfully it doesn’t have the same harsh ride either.

FIRST VERDICT

The Koleos has a lot going for it. Its long equipment list, spacious cabin and brilliant suspension make it a very comfortable suv to be in. Its dynamically oriented four-wheel-drive system, auto ‘box and superb steering make it easy to drive too. The Koleos comes with a long list of equipment with some truly clever bits that you don’t’ find elsewhere and the good thing is that Renault hasn’t stinted on safety features, which makes it possibly the safest suv in its class. However, the Koleos’ styling, though pleasant, lacks the raw presence and power that a proper suv demands. The interiors, although well built, don’t feel as rich and plush as the Rs 22.99 lakh price tag suggests. So even though the Koleos is a smart suv, its price tag isn’t.

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