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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
 
 

Renault Koleos Comes Back with Punchier Engine

The Koleos may still not have a hefty profile like most of its competitors but in terms of ride quality, it continues to make a very good impression.


Author

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ecardlr.com National

The Duster has helped Renault to establish itself well in the Indian market. And so the French carmaker takes a second chance with its premium SUV - the Koleos. When originally launched in 2011, Koleos despite its strong engine and admirable ride quality did not become a success. Brand Renault was not quite known in India and there were competitors like Toyota Fortuner and Chevrolet Captiva in that narrow segment. High price and soft crossover styling also became deterrents in its popularity. In India, SUVs are bought for their raw appeal but the Koleos had a rather elegant design.

For the latest facelift, Renault has not made major styling changes but the diesel engine for the 4WD version (automatic and manual transmission) has been retuned for power upgrade from 148 bhp to 170.6 bhp.  To keep a lower price point for the new 4x2 variant (6 speed manual transmission), it retains the old 148 bhp engine. The engine will now be assembled locally for India. We review the refreshed Koleos 4WD to check its potential in the current market. Other than Toyota Fortuner, it competes with Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Skoda Yeti.

The Exterior

The makeover has not brought significant changes in its looks and with compact dimensions, the Koleos still lacks a brute road presence. It seems more like a mature hatchback than a brawny SUV. But watch it more closely and you will see some improvements. Renault has restyled the radiator grille, added more chrome and made it larger to stretch towards the headlamps. The rhombus logo of the company has also grown in size and sits a little higher up on the grille. Fog lamp housing and air dam on the bumper are the same as on the previous model and there is no change in the design of the headlamps.

There are chrome belts on the sides. Viewed in profile you also see short front and rear overhangs. The four by four variant uses 17 inch wheels with 225/60 R17 tyre size. A new 5 spoke alloy wheel design comes with this facelift. Koleos measures 4520 mm in length and has a wheelbase of 2690 mm. This is pretty short in comparison to Fortuner’s 4705 mm length and 2750 mm wheelbase. Santa Fe is also longer than Renault’s SUV. 
 
 
You will not see any changes at the rear – there is a short overhang and the tail lamp design is curvy. The split gate makes it easy to load heavy suitcases and it has 475 litres of volume. Koleos does get an external touch up with this facelift but there are no major changes for the image and it looks like a mild crossover than a powerful SUV. 
 
The colour range subsumes White Pearl, Black Metallic, Maple Red and Ultra Silver. 
 
Cabin Conspectus 
 
New Koleos’ interior too does not sport any special modifications. The two tone cabin has soft touch plastic for the dark grey dashboard but the design looks dated. The top half of the dash is uncluttered with just a small screen display for the audio being played and its source, the phone connected to the system, the time and the outside temperature. But the centre console has a horde of buttons that may seem confusing at first glance. These include the switches and knobs for climate control, music system, telephony, hill descent control, 2WD/4WD mode switch and even the engine start –stop button. Most of these have a soft, damped feel but the drive mode selection button is not very refined. For the price that you pay for this car, the quality of materials could’ve been better. Circular AC vents look nice.

The seats upholstered in leather are comfortable and supportive. Electrical adjustment is now also provided for the front passenger’s seat. Legroom is ample. Steering wheel is adjustable for both rake and reach. It is designed for the 10 to 3 position and cruise control buttons (little complex to use) are placed on the spokes. 
 
 
For entertainment the Bose 5 speaker stereo does a nice job and comes with USB and Aux port. The simple instrument panel comprises only speedometer, tachometer and fuel + temperature gauge. On the lower part of the dashboard toward the driver’s side you will see the controls for dashboard illumination, headlamp levelling, stability control and parking sensors. Pedal spacing and the positioning of the dead pedal is well executed in the Koleos. Door pockets are not very large but deep enough to hold a 1 litre bottle. Glove compartment also has enough stowage space and cup holders are provided on the armrest. 
 
It is at the rear that value proposition gets a little questionable. The seats are comfortable - but with wheelbase of just 2690 mm, the legroom is limited for the segment that Koleos is positioned in. Cup holders are provided on the centre armrest and there are trays behind the front seat that may not accommodate large laptops though you can work easily with tablet sized ones. 
 
On the whole the cabin is pleasant and ergonomics are admirable but the facelift could have done more to upgrade the quality. Also, the 4x2 version misses on quite a few features such as BOSE audio system, ESP, hill start assist, hill descent control, side and curtain airbags, and electrical adjustment for front seats.
 
Engine, Transmission and Performance 
 
There’s a hushed clatter as you crank up the diesel engine. It is not interfering but reminds you that it is at work. Renault has kept the engine refined and you will not feel much gruffness or vibrations. There is an evident turbo lag at city driving speed and below 2000 rpm you have to downshift. While the new six speed manual transmission works well and is easy to use, the clutch has a sharp bite that can get tiresome. 
 
The turbo lag gets more annoying in the automatic transmission car where power build up will take extra time. So the Koleos is really lethargic below 2000 rpm. And the automatic gearbox is not as quick or intuitive as the units in some of Koleos competitors. Overtaking efforts and driving amidst traffic can be very frustrating with all that turbo lag and lazy AT. Gearbox responds better in manual tiptronic mode (there are no shift paddles). Koleos does hesitate to downshift quickly on uphill roads. So even though the facelift version brings more power, it is not useful while ambling in the city or driving up steep hilly roads. 
 
Take this SUV to levelled highways and then it shows its true potential. Its performance shows a dramatic improvement and the engine feels rev happy right up to the redline giving a peppy petrol like feel. Go pedal to metal and Koleos shows its amazing pulling power. Coupled with tall gearing this makes the car an entertaining mile muncher. The engine is fairly refined but audible at highway speeds. The good thing is that it does not run out of breath even when it is ready to touch the redline. 
 
Ride and Handling 
 
This is where the Koleos makes up for its other shortcomings. It is impressive the way Renault’s SUV goes over road undulations. The ride is absorbent and it glides easily over broken tarmac without disturbing the cabin occupants. Ride quality will impress you even at high speeds. The suspension keeps all thuds controlled and it’s only the large ruts that can disturb this car’s composure. Koleos also proves its abilities as a soft roader. 
 
Koleos’ stability also impresses and good feedback from the steering wheel keeps you confident. Body roll is controlled by SUV standards. If, while overtaking vehicles on a narrow rural road, the right side wheels come on the edge of the tarmac, Koleos has adequate power and ground clearance to pull its way ahead. You can take it on stretched long highways or go around corners, it always keeps you comfortable in the cabin. Braking system is pleasing and the brakes have a rather good feel.

Fuel Efficiency

The ARAI certified fuel efficiency for 4WD (manual gearbox) Koleos is 16.26 km/litre. It actually returns 9.43 km/litre in the city and up to 12.5 km/litre on the highways. For the automatic transmission variant, fuel economy varies between 7.5 and 11.2 km/litre.

Verdict

The facelift has not changed Renault Koleos much in terms of cosmesis and it still lacks the brawny appeal of premium SUVs. However, under the hood there is a big change with more power on tap for the 2.0 litre diesel engine. It has made the engine punchier and given it a stronger mid range. But again, here that turbo lag lets it down. You need to keep working through the gears to keep the engine on boil. So with all those shortcomings, is the Koleos really worth buying? For the premium SUV buyers who are usually chauffeur driven, it is! Those who can afford a vehicle in Rs 25 lakhs + range, and don’t get behind the wheel frequently will appreciate the excellent ride comfort that this car provides. And the occasional trips on open highways will also be enjoyable. 
 
Renault Koleos price tags (ex showroom price, Delhi) read as:
 
4x2 MT – Rs. 22.33 lakhs 
4x4 MT – Rs. 25.14 lakhs 
4x4 AT – Rs. 26.19 lakhs 
 
Comfort:  3.5/5
 
Refinement: 3.5/5
 
Safety: 3.5/5 
 
Ride: 4/5
 
Handling: 3.5/5
 
Value for Money: 3/5

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