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The Top Gear car review:Renault Koleos
For:Passenger space, standard equipment, driving refinement
Against:Only offered as a five-seater, no auto for smaller engine
What is it?
This is the all-new Renault Koleos, a name you might remember from when the French carmaker tried its hand at SUVs before they became truly fashionable. That one was pulled from sale in the UK back in 2010 due to slow sales (and the fact it was a bit rubbish).
It seems to be second-time lucky for the Koleos: with its smaller siblings – the Captur and Kadjar – both performing well, Renault hopes that this larger model further boost its fortunes.
One of the first hurdles that the Koleos faces is the five-seat only configuration. Most of its rivals, such as the Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento, offer seven seats, so Renault appears to be limiting its audience. Of course, because of its lack of seats, it has plenty of space. There’s enough rear passenger room to make Skoda look twice, and Renault is strengthening its hand by offering good levels of standard equipment, too, adding to the luxury of that space.
The styling is similar to that of the Renault Megane, unsurprisingly. The front of the Koleos features large C-shaped LED daytime running lights that define its ‘face’, while higher grade Signature Nav models get full LED headlights that look high-tech. Chrome detailing runs back along the front wing and into the front doors, while the side window surrounds and door handles get a similar chrome treatment. All this adds up to impressive presence from any angle, and it rides on 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels depending on model.
Practical features like doors that fully cover the sills (so you don’t dirty your chinos as you get in) and an optional electric rear hatch that can be opened by waving your foot underneath notch up brownie points for the Koleos. Both the front and rear doors open to generous angles, too, which parents grappling with their offspring while trying to get them into car seats in the back will be glad of.
Many will be satisfied with the performance offering of the front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre diesel. Its 128bhp should be plenty to cope with everyday life, but there is a more powerful 2.0-litre diesel available at a £2,900 premium. As well as more power (174bhp) this gets all-wheel drive, plus the option to replace the standard six-speed manual gearbox with a seven-speed automatic.