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Renault unveils new Koleos

Created on 07/08/2017 @ 16:11

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

It takes guts for one of the world’s biggest car producers to admit they got it wrong but Renault had to do just that with the Koleos – because it never really took off in the UK.

But all that could be about to change with the arrival of a new large Koleos SUV option fully equipped to take-on Nissan, Skoda, Ford and Hyundai and building on the success of the smaller Kadjar and Captur ranges.

Renault pulled the plug on the original Koleos back in 2010 with the British crossover market still in its infancy. Since then the SUV sector has been the place to be seen so it had to be only a matter of time before the French threw their hat into the ring again – and this time they look ready to become a big player.

Though the company may just live to regret a decision to reveal a UK line-up which is exclusively diesel – just at the time when the Government is trying to steer us away from diesel engines. Time will tell on that one with buyers able to pick from front or all-wheel drive and manual or a CVT X-Tronic automatic gearbox.

You would also hang a big question mark over pricing too with the Dynamique S Nav dCi 130 starting the range off at £27,500 and the Signature Nav dCi 175 Auto X-Tronic setting you back £34,200.

That’s considerably more than the opposition though the difference is in spec levels where just about everything you need comes in the standard price and that includes hands free parking, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and cup holders, one-touch easy folding rear seats, 360 degree parking sensors, LED headlights, live traffic updates, a rear parking camera, an 8.7inch portrait-style touchscreen, BOSE sound system, Apple Car Play, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition and hands-free power-operated tailgate.

Unlike most of its rivals the Koleos is not offered as a seven-seater, though there’s no shortage of space with plenty of legroom for all five occupants and wide rear seats to easily hold three adults. There’s also no shortage of headroom even with the panoramic rook in place.

Boot space is competitive and easily passes the golf clubs test, though for a car with no seven-seat opposition you might have expected a bigger box. There’s an annoyingly high loading lip too.

 I’ve always been a fan of Renault seating and there’s plenty to rejoice about up-front with an outstandingly comfortable set-up. And while the dash still seems to be fighting a combination of old and new design you can’t help but be impressed by the portrait centre touchscreen system which houses just about everything on offer.

I’m still not convinced that all this technology isn’t as big a distraction as a mobile phone. It takes the driver’s eyes away from the road and on test two seasoned motoring journalists were struggling to master the Sat Nav system. As you would expect Renault has packed the Koleos with safety equipment. That includes six airbags, an emergency braking system that gives almost too much warning if you are going to hit the car in front

All models come with six airbags and an autonomous emergency braking system that will alert you if you are about to hit the vehicle in front. You also get blind spot warning, road sign recognition and electronic stability control.

The All-New Koleos’s engine and transmission line-up has been tailored to meet the needs and expectations of the model’s European markets. Two diesel engines are offered, which deliver 130 and 175hp respectively. The 130hp unit is available with a six-speed manual transmission and the 175hp engine can be chosen with either an X-Tronic automatic seven-speed transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.

Both engines meet Euro 6b legislation and are equipped with Stop&Start, a NOx trap and a particulate filter. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder, 16-valve ENERGY dCi 130 engine has 130hp (96kW) at 4,000rpm, while peak torque is delivered at 320Nm, available from 1,750 to 2,250rpm. This engine can only be specified with two-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. It returns 57.6mpg and produces 128/g/km of CO2, attracting 27% Benefit in Kind taxation (BIK).

The 2.0 Energy DCi 175 engine is the most powerful and comes only with four-wheel drive but with a choice of either 6-speed manual or X-Tronic automatic transmission.

This four-cylinder, 16-valve unit is equipped with a variable-geometry turbocharger, a 1,600-bar fuel-injection rail and piezo-electric injectors. Its maximum power stands at 175hp (127kW) at 3,750rpm, with impressive peak torque of 380Nm available from 2,000 to 3,000rpm.

With the six-speed manual transmission, the 2.0-litre returns 50.4mpg and produces 148g/km of CO2 attracting 31% Benefit in Kind. Or with the Auto Xtronic it returns 47.9mpg, and 156g/km, attracting BIK of 33%.

Handling isn’t the best in class, particularly on uneven country roads but give the car its head on the motorway and it turns into an impressive traveller with the top-spec Signature Nav DCi 4WD Auto X-Tronic reaching 0-62mph in 9.5seconds, a top speed of 125mph.

Time will tell what awaits this Koleos but it’s certain to do better than the previous incarnation. I have a feeling Renault will regret choosing only diesel for the UK and the lack of a seven-seat option may also count for sales.

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