Car Specification

08 April 2014

Review: New Renault Koleos

With more power, more variants and a redesigned face Renault is all set to fight the new Hyundai Santa Fe

Agasti Kaulgi
Car image

If you’re a regular radio listener, you’d know that our political parties are investing major monies in advertising. In fact, they haven’t left any medium untouched to get their word out to the people. Massive rallies, TV interviews and every other trick in the book is being used used to be in limelight.

All of this is done just for one thing – power. But it's not just the politicians. We all tend to get power-hungry at times. Especially when we’re behind the wheel. And as if to scratch that itch, Renault has put out an updated version of the Koleos.

The extra power we’re talking about comes from the same powerplant that you found under the hood of the previous Koleos, but the power boost is a full 23 horses more. So, the Koleos, from its 2-litre diesel engine now develops 172bhp and 360bhp as against 150bhp and 320Nm on the previous model.

Although the engine isn’t the most refined one we’ve seen, it does the job decently well. That said, it gets quite noisy and full of vibrations after it passes the 3900rpm mark.

The previous Koleos was available only in a 4x4 automatic version, but the new one is available in three options – 4x2 MT, 4x4 MT and 4x4 AT. We drove the 4x4 AT on our test drive from Bangalore to Ooty.

The six-speed slushbox isn’t all that quick and takes its own sweet time to shift ratios – it’s one of those old-school torque-converters that seem to be conceived in the 1990s. The 4x4 version has an option of switching from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive on the fly. It also has an ‘auto’ mode that keeps it in front-wheel mode for most of the time and engages all-wheel drive only when more traction is required.

The ride on Koleos is good enough to flatten out most undulations on the road and it handles well too if you show it a series of bends. The steering isn’t full of feedback like the Duster, but weighs up nicely with speed.

Along with giving the engine more juice, Renault has put their designers to work. Just like the Fluence, the Koleos gets a new face. And just like the new Fluence, the logo gets more prominent on the grille. Although the facelift certainly makes the Fluence more sporty-looking, that can’t be said about the Koleos. We wouldn’t mind if Renault would have left the update only by giving it more power.

With the pricing, Renault plans to hit the gap left by the SsangYong Rexton and the Hyundai Santa Fe. At Rs 25 lakh for the 4x4 AT (ex-showroom, Mumbai), it’s about Rs 5 lakh more expensive than the Rexton but Rs 4 lakh cheaper than the new Santa Fe.

For that sort of money, you’d expect the car to have all the features you’d want. The Renault isn’t too far behind in giving you that – it gets dual-zone climate control, rear AC vents, Aux and USB inputs with Bluetooth, steering controls; only that the reverse cam is missing. In terms of safety too it has ABS with EBD and six airbags. If you ask about off-roading hardware, there’s Hill Start Control, Hill Descent Control and on-the-fly 4x4 mode.

As a package, the Koleos ticks all the boxes if you want complete SUV that can do bit of off-roading too. And the engine tuning will make you happy when you bury the throttle. Only if they’d done something to that old-school gearbox...

The numbers
4 cyl, 1998c, 172bhp, 360Nm, 6A, AWD, 0-100kph 11.9sec (claimed), 14.5kpl (claimed), Rs 25.03 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)

The verdict
A good option if you want a city SUV that can venture out into the wilderness occasionally. More power from the same engine is a welcoming change

Tags: renault, koleos



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