It’s safe to say that Renault’s SUV and crossover offerings are extremely popular in South Africa.
The Kwid is selling up a storm at the bottom end, while the Duster is doing well for itself higher up the scale. The only odd one out was the Kadjar, which struggled to get a foothold in the mid-size SUV segment. Renault quietly dropped it from its local line-up a few months ago and we thought that was the end of the French manufacturer’s attempt at trying to gain momentum in that particular segment.
It seems Renault has not given up on it yet, because it’s now offering the brand-new Koleos in South Africa. The Koleos is built on the same platform as the Kadjar and Nissan X-Trail, but Renault says it’s meant to be more upmarket than both. According to Renault, the all-new Koleos offers the rugged capability of an SUV with the elegant refinement of a large executive saloon.
Styling wise we think it looks really good. The Kadjar was slightly underwhelming, mostly due to the fact that it never featured any of the strong design cues Renaults are known for. The Koleos, however, is unmistakably a Renault. There’s a strong family resemblance between it and the Mégane. To some it might be too aggressive, but we like the strong, aggressive stance.
The interior is more important in this kind of car and Renault’s says it put a lot of effort into making it as comfortable as possible. With an overall length of 4672mm and wheelbase of 2705mm, passengers are provided with comfort and space throughout the cabin. Indeed, rear knee room is amongst the best in its class at 289mm with rear passengers also benefitting from dual air vents, dual USBs (with two more in the front), a central armrest with cupholders and extra tinted rear windows.
With all seats in place the boot space is rated at 458 litres. This can be expanded to 1690 litres with the rear seats folded flat, which can be done easily enough by simply pushing a button in the boot. High-spec models come with a powered tailgate and a function that allows you to open the boot by waving your foot underneath the car.
The Koleos is offered in two specification levels in South Africa – Expression and Dynamique. Expression specification offers all the basics, as well as a few nice-to-haves, while Dynamique takes it up a few notches. The list is too long to print here, but highlights include electronically adjustable leather seats, handsfree card key, a high-end infotainment system with navigation and surround sound, blind spot detectors and parking sensors all round.
The high-end infotainment system is particularly noteworthy. It’s very Volvo-esque in its execution and goes a long way towards making this car feel upmarket. The Expression’s infotainment is nice as well, but the leap between the grades is definitely worth it in the case of the Koleos.
The line-up consists of three models – an entry-level front-wheel drive Expression, a front-wheel drive Dynamique and the top-spec Dynamique with all-wheel drive.
Only one engine and gearbox option is available. As is the trend these days, Renault opted not to introduce a diesel model, which is odd considering that it does offer diesel models in Europe, where the war on diesel is fiercer than it is locally…
Like Australia, South Africa is only getting a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol. The power output is adequate for a car this size, however. It develops a healthy 126kW, coupled to 226Nm of torque. Renault claims a fuel consumption figure of 8.1l/100km on the combined cycle.
The engine is mated to a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) called X-Tronic. Renault claims it offers fluid, responsive driving without any interruption of torque. As an added bonus, this CVT can simulate gear shifts, which might eliminate the droning noise these transmissions are usually haunted by.
The four-wheel drive model is equipped with a new All Mode 4×4-I system. It enables the driver to select between three driving modes – Auto, Lock or 2WD.
The Koleos isn’t meant to be a hardcore off-roader, but it should be at home on a rough road. The ground clearance of 210mm is more than the average in this segment and Renault’s have a habit of punching way above their weight when it comes to this sort of thing.
As is the case across Renault’s entire product range, the New Renault Koleos comes standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty; plus a 5-year/ 90 000km service plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty, with service intervals at 15 000km.
RANGE & PRICING:
The Renault Koleos Range offers 3 derivatives –
Koleos Expression 2.5 CVT 4×2 R 399 900
Koleos Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4×2 R 439 900
Koleos Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4×4 R 479 900
Metallic Paint R 2 522
Electric Adjustable Leather Seats
(Expression Model) R 12 000