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Renault Koleos review
Driven September 2011
Whenever you step into a French car, you go in knowing the steering will be in the backseat and seats on the roof. You can’t help it; French cars have always been a little quirky. So imagine our surprise when we found everything in its right place. We’re talking about the Renault Koleos – Renault’s second offering in India after the Fluence. The Koleos we’re getting is the facelifted version. The earlier Koleos’ looks were toned down to keep the European 4x4 activists at bay. But here in India, we don’t know what a 4x4 activist is. So macho lines, big and hairy engines are not looked down upon.
The Koleos looks quite handsome from most angles. The big chrome laden grille gives the front a distinct character. If you have to ask us, we prefer the curvy rear. The Koleos is essentially a Nissan X-Trail underneath. This means you get a tried and tested base along with a whole bag of common sense. Not to mention the intelligent all-wheel drive system for when it comes time to put some dirt on the paint.
The Koleos is powered by a 2.0-litre common rail turbo diesel that puts out 149bhp and 320Nm of torque. This comes coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine is eager enough, but the slow-witted gearbox doesn’t like to be hurried through its ratios. It works well as long as you’re not trying to be Fernando Alonso behind the wheel. Renault claims a zero-100kph time of 12.3 seconds which isn’t too bad and fuel efficiency is claimed at 13.7kpl. We’d wait for some detailed tests though.
The Koleos may not be a drag star, but is a fantastic cruiser. Highway stability is excellent and ride quality is brilliant. The Koleos handles pretty well too; the steering is sharp enough for a crossover and provides good feedback. The Koleos drives very much like a car and it better because its got the likes of the Chevrolet Captiva, Hyundai Santa Fe and even the Honda Accord in its sights.
One thing we don’t like is the colour of the interiors. The cabin is finished in beige and chocolate brown. Darker tones of grey and black would have looked better. Also some buttons look low rent in an otherwise well-built cabin. Seats are comfortable but there are only five. Legroom is decent but maybe a problem in the rear with taller passengers up front.
Overall, the Renault Koleos is quite likeable. It comes loaded with equipment and drives like a car. Priced at Rs 22.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it is a little pricey. Renault should launch a manual version in the exact same trim to widen its appeal.