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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 21, 2011
CAR REVIEW: Renault Koleos 2.0dCi Privilege 4X4 Auomatic
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Far Eastern Frenchman
December 21, 2011   
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This compact SUV from Renault has positioned itself as a viable alternative to the competition in Europe and Asia by being well fitted out and reasonably priced.

Renault certainly took their time in adding a SUV to their product catalogue. The Koleos did not hit the showrooms until in 2006, even though a concept vehicle bearing the same name had made an appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in the spring of 2000. Because of their lack of experience in manufacturing this type of car, the company looked around for something that had already been tried and not found wanting. Renault used their own engines, and Nissan, in which the company has a 44.4 percent stake, helped out by coming up with the floor plates and 4WD transmission from its X-Trail model. Curiously enough, the Koleos was designed, and is now being manufactured, jointly by Renault and Renault Samsung Motors in South Korea, where it is known as the Samsung QM5.

The company decided to spruce up the body and the interior last year as European buyers have not exactly been storming the showrooms. The rear has pretty much been left as is but the front has been given a new grille, headlights and bumper. The new Koleos now looks like no other Renault. If anything, it looks more like a Toyota or a Volkswagen when viewed from the front. To my mind, this is not a bad thing as the front part is now a lot more gentle on the eye.

The passenger cabin has been meticulously finished with quality materials and can comfortably seat five passengers. The trunk is 450l. The split tailgate facilitates access to the baggage compartment. The bottom part drops down to facilitate loading.

The dashboard is ergonomically laid out and easy to read, although having the ignition next to the gearshift might take some getting used to. Fittings include a full electric window and mirror package, an electronically adjusted and heated driver’s seat, front, side and curtain airbags, leather upholstery, ABS/ESP, xenon headlights, parking sensors, a retractable glass roof and sunblind, 18” aluminum alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, a Bose Audio/CD system, and a TomTom navigator.

The new Koleos only comes with a 150 p.s. or 175 p.s. 2l Common Rail turbodiesel engine. The car we test-drove was the weaker version. But weak does not mean decrepit. The Koleos weighs just over 1,700 kg, has a six-speed automatic transmission, can accelerate to 100 kph in 12.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 180 kph. The transmission works smoothly so long as you are gentle with the gas pedal. Once we really started putting the car through its paces, though, there was a noticeable delay that gave the impression that the engine was being impeded. Average fuel consumption, according to the technical specifications, is 7.1 1iters/100 km. During our test-drive, though, it was almost 3 liters higher.

The bad news is that the car has a large turning radius (11.6 m) and the steering is not very responsive. The car’s strong point is that it comes with the All-Mode transmission used in Nissan’s off-road vehicles.

The Renault Koleos is definitely more visually attractive and more refined than its predecessor. The interior is also meticulously finished and richly fitted. It seems destined, however, to remain a niche model as the company seems mainly interested in supplementing its range.
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