RENAULT Koleos Facelift Review

OUR TEST CAR: Renault Koleos Facelift 2.0 dCi 175 HP

RENAULT Koleos Facelift - Page - 1
Each time we drive a Renault and we close the driver's door from the outside we get the same feeling of having enjoyed a car that's not only extremely reasonable, but also keeps a few very valuable aces up its sleeve.

The best example has to be the Megane RS - it holds the Nurburgring record for the fastest front-wheel drive car, but unlike almost every other car that ties its name to the famous German racetrack, it doesn't blow up the comfort for this. In fact, the Megane RS is one of the best daily driver hot hatches money can buy and speaking of money, it's also extremely well priced.

You see, we could go on for pages and pages about this, even if we switched from the Megane to the little Twingo, but we're not here to do that.

This is reverend Renault speaking: Dear family and friends, we have gathered here today to witness and celebrate the wedding of an SUV and and MPV. I know I have arrived late at this crossover table, but I have brother Nissan's complete technical blessing and I promise you that you shall not regret embracing the Koleos. I have facelifted the Koleos, blessing its exterior and interior and now it is ready for you.

Reverend Renault here might have a point here. Considering the aforementioned way in which Renault build its cars these days, the carmaker is the perfect company for building a crossover. The facelift received by the car in late 2011, which targeted the exterior and the cabin, as well as reducing the emissions a tad, brings it closer to the contemporary shiny-fancy demands, albeit just up to a point.

But the truth can only be revealed once the needles start climbing, so it is time to leave everything behind and get behind the wheel of the Koleos. The fact that the car arrived late might have brought it experience benefits, but it also means that it has to face a frightening number of competitors, which come from all parts of the world.

Renault has though this through and to make sure that the Koleos gets a fair chance to fight, it is selling the car virtually across the globe, from Europe to Australia, South Africa, Latin America, New Zealand and others.

Without further ado, we pronounce you reader and test drive! You may browse the chapters.

In one of the mornings we spent with the Koleos, we came very early to pick up the photographer. The doorman was knew, so when he saw us in the parking lot, he used the scanner he was gifted with by his mother and, after completing this task, he smiled and asked us "are you here to pick up the group of kids?"

Without knowing and using his own language, he perfectly described the car - the Koleos is, more than anything, the owner of a weird exterior, one that leads each beholder to making his or her own impression about the car.

We can see a mix between an SUV and an MPV, but it's not just that, the car has an unusual appearance that is immediately noticed. Maybe this is Renault's way of making sure than only those who understand what this kind of car has to offer get to buy it.

The facelift received by the Koleos in late 2011 brought a smarter look, especially for the front fascia, but there's only so much you can do when you can't play with the shape of the car. Maybe that is the reason for which Renault didn't include LED daytime running lights in the scheme - they would've brought an image that simply wouldn't have fitted the Koleos' no- visual-fuss approach.

If there's one word that you have to use first when describing the Koleos' interior, that's practicality. Let's take the seats, for example. The front ones come with foldable tables fitted to their backs, while te ones in the rear use a clever folding system: using a lever located on the sides of the hatchback to fold the two sides of the 60/40 split top perfectly, which allows you to enjoy a flat floor. For those of you who want even more, the upper side of the front passenger seat can also be folded.

Speaking of the seats, we have to tell you that the most important changes brought by the revamp inside the car targeted the front seats and the trimming.

Well, the front seats may be more comfortable now, but the position is still incredibly high. While the driver cand adjust this, the passenger is forced sit there with his or her hair almost touching the roof liner.

One could be tempted to say that this is useful offroad and this is true, but how many people buy a Koleos to take it that far off the road? And when you do that, you'll be a bit worried about the front passenger hitting his or her head against the roof when you perform certain maneuvers.

The new trimming is extremely nice, as it somehow manages to imitate carbon fiber in an honest way, one that tells you you're not dealing with the wonder material and is very pleasant to look at. What can we say? This matches the car's no-fuss atitude.

We really hope that Renault didn't force a couple of employees to live inside the prototype for a few months while they were building the car. This is the impression you get when sitting in the Koleos, as the interior is perfectly tailored to the needs of a group of people.

To be more specific, the cabin is very generous when it comes to allowing you to stretch your extremities, as well as when it comes to let the natural light come in. Still, we have to mention that the large sunroof would need two improvements. First of all, it would be pleasant to have a solid cover that doesn't allow any ligt to come in when this is desired and secondly its opening is less than impressive when compared to its overall size, even if the margin we're talking about is limited.

The entire Koleos range is well-equipped and our test car, which prided itself with the best equipment level, excelled at this game, but we'll cover this in the "Gadgets" chapter.

While the 4,520 mm (178 inches) length, 1,854 mm (73 inches) width and 1.710 mm (67.3 inches) height won the Koleos extra points for the "Interior" chapter, these dimensions also make it perfectly suitable for urban environment play.

The lightness of adaptive steering might bring retribution for sporty drivers out on the open road, but as long as you are in the city, this is your friends.

During parking maneuvers, the steering is so light that you can just grab th wheel and flick it, repeat the operation and reach full lock.

The same can be said for the suspension, which is not only soft, but works close together with the well-executed sound proofing to keep outside noises from interfering with the laughter of this kids in the back.

The 175 hp two-liter oil burner needs between 7 and 10 liters (33.6 and 23.5 mpg) of fuel if the tarmac you're driving on belongs to the city. Further down the power line, the gear ration of the six-speed manual are well balanced, allowing you to choose between a nimble and a relaxed driving style.

The hefty ground clearance, combined with the good overall visibility and the optional front & rear parking sensors mean that you'll have no trouble negotiating the tighter areas of the town.

And the multitude of features the car was gifted with means that there's some device there ready to enter the scene whatever need you, or you passengers might have, so you have shields for all sorts of weapons packed by the ever more fierce urban traffic.

We'll remind you that the Koleos we drove comes with 17-inch wheels that use 225/60 rubber, rides on a soft suspension, uses a ride height of 186 mm (7.3 inches) and borrows the Nissan X-Trail's non-permanent, front-wheel drive-based AWD system.

Now that we got things straight, it will come as no surprise that the car leans seriously during the corners.Another part of the car that needs to be handled with extra attention when you go fast is the steering, for which we'll use the "vague" cliche.

However, the setup of the four-wheel drive system and the well-implemented electronics mean that the Koleos can sustain long trips at triple digit speeds that climb way past what the law allows. The car can do this without the passengers feeling anything unusual or the driver becoming tired.

A good part of this comes thanks to the power reserves of the engine, as well as the excellent soundproofing. The Koleos' ability to cover long distances at respectable speeds is amazing.

Speaking of the engine, the 175 hp version of the 2-liter diesel is the best unit you can have. You'll find that there';s turbo lag under 2,000 rpm and quite some vibration at idle speed, but the power and torque are delivered smooth after that. The unit is happy to be revved and works well with the six-speed manual, a gearbox that offers decent shifts and well-balanced ratios. The powerplant will ask for between 7 and 10 liters (33.6 and 23.5 mpg) of diesel for taking you from A to a B that's 100 km (62 miles) away. Yes, these are the same results we got inside the city.

Taking the car past the borders of the asphalt will reveal that it is even more impressive. All you need to do to tackle frightening offroad pathways is to have decent tires and to lock the center differential and the car will take care of the rest.

You simply won't believe how good this car is on rough terrain. It's also a pleasure to drive hard, since the back has slight tendencies of stepping out when you want to bite the difficult terrain with the electronics put to sleep. Our test car tipped the scales at about 1,650 kg (3,640 lbs), which makes it pretty light for an offroading vehicle and this means that you get a deeper feeling of what's actually happening with the car while driving on rough terrain, as well as dealing with less inertia during difficult maneuvers.
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autoevolution Oct 2012
In the city
Open road
Tech facts
61user rating 73 votes
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