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Go-anywhere large SUV flagship



June 6, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Summer 2018 issue

Go-anywhere large SUV flagship

Words Malcolm J. Naudi

SUVs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Renault, but the French car-maker has certainly been making headway into this ever-growing market segment not just in Europe but globally. It is significant that the Koleos, the largest SUV to be produced by Renault, now in its second generation, was world premiered in China.

First launched in 2008, Renault has sold more than 300,000 Koleos models around the world, 70% outside Europe. In China alone it has sold 135,000 Koleos units of the first generation since it launched the model there in 2009.

I got my first taste for the urban cross-over Captur last October and, having tested the Koleos on local roads in May, there is the third model in the segment, the Kadjar, that has yet to receive my appraisal. For those of you familiar with the lettering of car sizes, the Koleos is a D Segment vehicle, built on the same platform as the Espace, and on a platform shared with the Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai.

The saloon segment has been largely usurped by the luxury models of similar size locally, like the Mercedes C/E Class. The Koleos has class-leading interior space, including 289 mm of rear knee room, and a 5-Star EuroNCAP rating to boot. It benefits from true go-anywhere ability thanks to a ground clearance of 213 mm, an approach angle of 19° and a departure angle of 26°.

The range-topping Koleos Signature NAV dCi 2.0 4WD AUTO X-Tronic on test benefits from full four-wheel drive autonomy, mated with a smooth, unstressed seven-speed automatic gearbox that makes clutch gear-changes a thing of the past. So convenient on today’s ever more crowded roads.

The entry level Koleos, starting at €35,200, comes with a 130 bhp 1.6-litre diesel with a six-speed manual gearchange, 19-inch alloy wheels, opening panoramic sunroof, aluminium longitudinal roof bars, LED daytime running lights and halogen headlights, including full LED ‘Pure Vision’ headlamps and front fog lights.

Inside there are leather seats (heated in front), 60:40 split rear seats that fold down easily with a single touch, heated/cooled cup holders in front, a digital speedometer and leather steering wheel. There is extra tinting on the rear and tail gate windows, electric seat adjustments for the driver for both height and lumbar angle, an electronic parking brake and climate control air-conditioning.

In terms of connectivity and sound, there is the RLINK-2 8.7-inch touch screen in the central part of the dashboard, including TomTom Live service with Western European mapping, an FM/AM/DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and AUX sockets, a voice-controlled vehicle application and four 35-Watt speakers with 3D sound.

Both engines available in the Koleos are Euro 6 common rail, direct injection diesels. Maximum torque (pulling power) is 320 Nm at 1,750 rpm on the 1.6-litre version and 380 Nm at 2,000 rpm on the 2.0-litre automatic. Acceleration to 100 km/h is in 11.4 seconds for the 1.6-litre version and 9.5 seconds for the model on test.

Urban cycle consumption is 5.4 litres/100 km (52.3 mpg) for the 1.6 and 6.2 litres/100 km (45.6 mpg) for the model on test. CO2 emissions are respectively 128 g/km and 156 g/km.

Other features found on other Renault models are keyless entry, with a car alarm and immobiliser, and a host of safety systems. Among these are Renault’s Visio system, giving a lane departure warning, blind spot warning on the door mirrors, electronic stability programme (ESP) and anti-slip regulator (ASR), hill start assist, anti-lock braking (ABS) with emergency brake assist (EBA), a host of airbags, including curtain airbags for both front and rear seat passengers, parking sensors all round with a rear parking camera and a tyre pressure monitor.

You get a full spare wheel beneath the huge boot, ECO mode for optimised consumption, headlamps and windscreen wipers that will come on automatically when needed, cruise control with speed limiter and Isofix fittings in the rear seats.

In terms of dimensions, the Koleos is 4,672 mm long on a 2,705 mm wheelbase, 2,063 mm wide (with the electrically retractable door mirrors out) and 1,678 mm high. The boot volume is 579 litres, increasing to 1,795 litres with the rear bench folded down.

In the model on test, there were the optional silver grey leather seats (another optional colour is Sierra brown), metallic paint is an extra €400, and the Bose Surround Sound comes in at €1,100.

My test route on one of those days that had all types of weather within a few hours, including some rain showers, took in my usual route from the Kind’s showroom to Swieqi through Naxxar and Tal-Balal, navigating some narrow back roads, and then off to the south of the island via the upheaval in Marsa in preparation for the new flyovers.

I loved the Koleos’s high driving position and excellent visibility all round. I soon got comfortable, adjusting the electric door mirrors and the electrically adjustable driver’s seat. Steering is highly responsive and precise, with the car giving you plenty of confidence and accelerating smoothly through the gears.

Our drive in the south took in picturesque Marsaxlokk and a brief off-road section to get to Peter’s Pool. While the signage is excellent, the road is appalling. Yet there was never a sign of hesitation in the Koleos. The parking sensors weren’t too comfortable with the narrow, single-lane space between the rubble walls, but it took us in and out of the designated parking effortlessly.

The return trip to Swieqi took in some urban driving, through Msida, Ta’ Xbiex and Gzira, before I took the Coast Road and returned to Kind’s via Burmarrad and Mosta.

All in all, the Koleos is an accomplished, spacious SUV with excellent off-road credentials. It will take you through Malta’s urban jungle and our creaking road network with aplomb. It is solidly built and well designed – a worthy range topper locally for the Renault brand.

Visit the Auto Sales showroom in Lija to book a test drive, or book online by visiting:

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