Renault Koleos appraised

The new Renault Koleos portrays a premium SUV. (Picture credit: Subhash Nair)

The Renault Koleos is one of the most interesting SUVs in the market and yet paradoxically it is also one of the least.

Would people buy the Koleos if they had the money? The SUV market has transformed quite a bit since the Proton X70 destroyed the C-segment SUV market for all its non-national competitors.

There are also many very competent products in the market today that are just as good looking, just as comfortable, and just as left field as the Koleos.

There are alternatives

Take the Kia Sportage. It is an extremely well-built and well-engineered vehicle that’s loaded to the brim. Both the Sportage and the Koleos can trace their roots to South Korea. Both have siblings that share the same underpinnings (Tucson and X-Trail).

The Renault Koleos is certainly presented like a premium car, especially with the exterior design and the use of digital screens inside. But Renault is trying to go ‘premium’ without really delivering on material choices and subjective feel.

The new Renault Koleos has muscular good looks. (Picture credit: Subhash Nair)

Their cars look great in brochures and on the showroom floor, but that feeling is lost the moment one steps inside. Most of the interior plastics don’t feel elevated over those in the X-Trail.

In fact, the face-lifted X-Trail’s new soft touch points are largely absent on the Koleos, which puts the Renault in an awkward position.

The unit tested was the 2.5L 4WD version. Its Chestnut brown leather interior, Android Auto/Apple carplay compatibility and panoramic sunroof are features found on more expensive cars. But at its core, the Koleos feels a little bit dated.

Driving the Koleos reveals just how great an engine builder Nissan can be as as it makes the driver feel at ease.

But big engines with distant, unengaging gearboxes are a difficult sell in 2019 as continuously variable transmissions (CVT) just aren’t as reliable as most conventional automatic gearboxes.

The Koleos’ vertically aligned infotainment unit. (Picture credit: Subhash Nair)

Potential Koleo buyers will also naturally ask if the car will retain its value. The fact is any new car today is not meant to be kept for more than a decade.

Nevertheless, some of the Koleos’ party tricks are still pretty unique, like the customisability of the instrument cluster. While that instrument cluster is partially digital, they’ve still managed to make it simple and informative enough.

Its vertically aligned infotainment unit is a trend that only Tesla, McLaren and Volvo seem to have fully embraced so far. So the Koleos is too practical, comfortable and beautiful to be considered a bad car by any stretch of the imagination.

In conclusion, the Renault Koleos has many redeeming qualities but it is really starting to lose its shine although Renault are doing lots to make their brand stand out.

Renault Koleos specifications

Engine: Inline 4, naturally aspirated

Capacity: 2488cc

Gearbox: X-Tronic CVT

Max power: 169hp @ 6000rpm

Max torque: 226Nm @ 4400rpm

Top Speed: 200 km/h

0-100 km/h: 9.5 seconds

Price: RM173,840.40 – RM187,613.98

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