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Renault Koleos 1.6dCi Signature Nav review

Date: 22 June 2017   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Standard equipment: Front and rear parking sensors, 7in touchscreen system with sat-nav, cruise control, panoramic sunroof, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, 18in alloys, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.
Signature Nav: Leather upholstery, 19in alloys, 8.7in touchscreen, heated seats, automatic tailgate, full LED headlights

Like many pop bands from the 80s and 90s, cars also have a habit of making a comeback and here's the latest to return to the UK - the Renault Koleos.

Back in 2010, when Renault repositioned its line-up, many cars got culled so the firm could concentrate on its core models. We said farewell to the Wind, the Laguna and the Espace as well as the Renault Koleos, which returns to the range in 2017 as the brand's new flagship SUV.

Diesel-only line-up

The new Koleos will only be available with two diesel engines; a 1.6-litre 130hp and a more potent 2.0-litre unit with 177hp.

The former is only available in two-wheel drive and is exclusively paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. Unsurprisingly, it's this engine that tops the economy charts with 128g/km of CO2 produced and a combined official fuel economy figure of 57.6mpg; it's also the slowest Koleos with an official 0-62mph-dash time of 11.4 seconds.

Although these figures sound quite pedestrian, on the road the engine is pretty punchy, with plenty of low down revs available to make quick progress. It is also surprisingly quieter and more refined that the more powerful 2.0-litre unit.

Move up to the more powerful 177bhp 2.0-litre engine and there's a noticeable urgency to the engine's performance, which is only available in four-wheel drive. When coupled with the seven-speed automatic, the car is capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in less than 10 seconds.

Interior

Although quicker, adding the auto box pushes CO2 up another 8g/km (to 156g/km) compared with the manual 175hp diesel plus it costs an additional £1,500. Both are big compromises in our book for the added ease of use and performance.

The off-road system is easy to use and has three different modes; 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock - see a video below of us tackling an off-road course. The latter should be selected on more extreme off-road terrains or in tricky conditions like snow, while the 4WD Auto mode permanently analyses the road ahead using sensors to determine grip and how much torque should be transferred to the wheels. The switch is located by the steering wheel and during a challenging off-road course the car performed admirably, tackling challenging inclines and rough surfaces with ease.

On tarmac the Koleos is easy to drive, the steering is nicely weighted and the turning circle is usefully tight, despite the cars large dimensions. It's no racing car of course, but as easy family motoring goes despite a little bodyroll in the corners and ride quality being not quite up to Skoda's standards ? the Koleos ticks every box.

Practical features

Thanks to its large 2.71m wheelbase, the Koleos is one of the roomiest cars in its class. Leg and headroom is good for all occupants and according to Renault, its new SUV offers class-leading knee room for rear passengers, while the large 579-litre boot also comes with a handy removable floor for hiding items out of view. Fold the rear seats down and this expands to 1,795 litres.

To help keep everyone charged and connected there are four USB ports available throughout the cabin, plus a total of 35 litres of storage space including a large centre cubbie and glovebox.

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 At 11.35.34

Interior space and comfort are two important aspects to the Koleos and they're the main reason why a seven-seat version hasn't been launched. "We're not dressing up the hunchback," Renault bosses claimed and there are no plans to introduce a seven-seat Koleos in the future either as it was felt the car's design and roominess would become too compromised as a result.

Safety as standard

Design is one of the Koleos's key selling points. At every angle most would agree that it's a striking and distinctive SUV. Renault's new light signature is a particular highlight with C-shaped LEDs at the front and horizontal lights at the rear.

Slip behind the wheel and the level of refinement inside the Koleos is very good too - in fact we'd go as far as to say it's the neatest and plushest Renault we've sat in for a long time. Fit and finish is very good and there's a distinct absence of cheap plastic. Some inserts and a variety of fabrics keep things interesting in the cabin, more so than some of its siblings, and the seats are very comfortable.

There's a price to pay for this step up in quality, though. The Koleos's starting price of £28,000 is higher than the majority of its rivals; however, standard equipment across the two-trim line-up is very generous.

Rear

All cars come equipped with a panoramic sunroof, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control and sat-nav to name just a few, plus there's a lot of safety kit including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a traffic sign recognition tool.

It costs around £2,300 to upgrade to Signature Nav trim and for that cash you get a fair amount of additional kit including luxuries like heated seats, leather upholstery, a large touchscreen infotainment system and full LED lights. You also get larger 19in alloys; interestingly, this has no negative impact on the car's running costs..

Whole-life costs

Next to older rivals like the Nissan X Trail, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, residual values for the Koleos hold up well and its whole-life costs are very competitive too. The thorn in Renault's side is the new Skoda Kodiaq, which offers superior whole-life costs, seven seats and a significantly lower starting price. Then there's the Peugeot 5008, an SUV that also promises much when it goes on sale later in the summer.

Arguably, the Koleos is the best looking of its rivals, though, and when it comes to kit its generous standard equipment is definitely something that will help Renault's new SUV stand out from the competition. Will it be enough? Only time will tell. But what does look pretty certain is that the return of the Koleos looks set to be more fruitful this time around - like Take That, l really hope it is back for good this time.

Renault Koleos 1.6dCi Signature Nav

P11D Price: £29,585
On sale: July 2017
Residual value: 37.2%
Depreciation: £21,470
Fuel: £5,573
Service, maintenance & repair: £2,668
Cost per mile: 63.7p
Fuel consumption: 57.6mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 128g/km (27%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £133/£266
Boot space: 579 litres
Engine size/power: 1598cc/130hp

Verdict


8/10
  • Very generous standard equipment
  • Interior roominess
  • Easy to drive
  • Off-road capabilities
  • Residual values not as strong
  • High CO2 for 4WD versions
  • Not cheap to buy, no seven seats

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