2012 Renault Koleos Review: Curvaceous Ride
The New Year has started and it’s a very promising one for the Indian automobile scene. The New Year has come packed with some good news and some unpleasant news as well.
The Good News is that there were a slew of launches at the 2012 Auto Expo held from 7th Jan at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The launches catered to everyone’s wishes ranging from the eco friendly Mahindra Reva NXR, the pocket friendly Bajaj RE60 to the performance friendly AMG race cars.
Unpleasant news about 2012 is the hike in prices, Mahindra has already announced a hike of upto Rs.50,000 on the XUV 500 and other manufacturers would follow suit too.
Among many auto manufacturers present at the event, there was French car maker Renault India, who brought in the highly anticipated small car “Pulse” and the “Duster” SUV at the premium event.
Renault has had a little rough start in India with Logan (now manufactured as Verito by M&M) launched in 2007, which was ventured with Mahindra and finally saw an end in 2010. However, Renault re-launched itself with the Fluence sedan in 2011, followed by SUV Koleos.
The Koleos has been pitched against the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Captiva and also the BMW X1. We find out if the French, who are not known for their fierce nature, can battle it out with the rest of the gang with our review on the Renault Koleos.
Highs of 2012 Renault Koleos
BOSE Music System
Lows of 2012 Renault Koleos
Less Number of Service Stations
These days there is a lot of aggression in many things of life. This aggression and fierce nature has made its way into the design language of cars. You will find lots of cars endorse the wild nature with its design. One claims to draw lines from a Cheetah while the other is known to have a bullish stance.
The Renault Koleos seems designed at a place far from the above amidst the peace locales. The Koleos makes a point that an SUV need not be angry looking always, instead it can be a beautiful one.
First look of the Koleos can make you realize of its controlled behavior. Koleos had gone under the design scissors and come out with a refreshed change which include newly designed radiator grille, smoky headlights among many other changes.
The radiator grille is all in chrome and has the Renault logo flowing on it with chrome inserts. Koleos has a nose like protruding front. The fog lamps are affixed on the extended air vents with chrome streaks. The air intake vents immediately after the radiator grille have an underbody protector too.
Underbody protector unlike other cars starts very early and looks as a part of the lower bumper with contrast shades.
Smoky twin barrel headlamps, that the new Koleos is equipped with, are a big improvement from the weird looking ones on its predecessor.
Curvaceous was the main theme behind the entire design of the Koleos as you would find curves and bulges throughout the design of the car. Side profile of the Renault Koleos is divided into two parts, the chunky first half till the length of the hood and the second half from the A-pillars to the end. There is no constant running shoulder line instead there is a camouflaged start after the front wheel fender which goes all the way back before wrapping to the rear end. Fitted with 225/60 R17 Kumhos and 17x6.5J wheels, the side profile shows the distinct characters of mild and sport nature at the same instance.
Porsche Cayenne and the 2012 Renault Koleos can be related to each other on the rear half of the design, seen from side profile. On a light note, how about getting a pseudo Porsche for half its price?
Frog’s eyes have a high resemblance with the tail lamps of the 2012 Renault Koleos. The 2012 version gets split tail gate, which is impressive. The Koleos syllables and the Renault logo sit at the upper half of the split tail gate.
Concluding the rear design is the same under body protector in sync with the one seen in front.
One thing that I didn’t forget to mention earlier because I saved it for later was the “BOSE” logo. The Renault Koleos by itself is a beautifully designed car. However, it’s little confusing to understand why Renault has not left a single space without the BOSE logo.
You can’t mistake the BOSE variant for any other variant as the BOSE logo is featured on both sides on the exterior, the aluminum plates on the front doors, the speakers and the round woofer affixed with the spare wheel.
Compare the number of places Koleos is written with the number of places BOSE written. This was the only disappointment we had as this look as if Renault is screaming about the BOSE music system everywhere.
Inside of the Koleos is as subtle as the exterior. Beige leather finished seats build up the executive ambience inside. The lumbar supports hug you well and are extremely comfortable on long journeys. The same good feeling is carried to the rear seating as well.
3 spoked height and reach adjustable steering wheel gives a very confident feel to the driver. It gives more of a sedan feel then a utility vehicle feel. So if you compare the interiors with the mammoth Toyota Fortuner, its looks “tiny” and “more civilized”.
The steering wheel has the cruise control setting on the left and some setting on the right which states vertically stacked R O. I wonder what the R O stood for as it was of no use good/bad for us.The instrumentation has been kept simple and ergonomic with three pod design. It displays the tachometer, speedometer and the fuel gauge and engine temperature at the extreme right pod.
Gear engaged is very neatly displayed at the extreme right pod.
Personally, I appreciate clean instrumentation where the driver doesn’t stoop or take efforts to find out details, which is a big negative on the Mahindra XUV500, the 3D cluster in cluster look is very messy.
Coming to central panel, It has a Dual Zone Air Conditioning which helps the driver and the co-passenger adjust different temperatures according to the individual needs. The Air conditioning is very effective and the rear zone also gets cooled with the vents fixed on the B-pillars.
I have already stated about Renault shouting of BOSE everywhere and finally one more blow comes in the form when the music system starts screaming again “Sound by BOSE”. This reminds of the great song in the movie Delhi Belly, whose lyrics I need not mention as it would be rightly guessed by all.
The Renault BOSE..ooops..The Renault Koleos comes with 8 and so called “high-performance” BOSE speakers. But indeed the performance of these speakers is fantastic with different enhancement features and options. But then it’s a BOSE, who would doubt its credentials?..
BOSE entertainment system on the Renault Koleos also comes with a digital amplifier through which one can tweak 8 channels with personalized settings. This sounds a total kicker.
After so many accolades to the BOSE, it’s time for little bashing up. This starts with the really slender and small display screen. The volume knob on the music system which also doubles as the power button looks little out of sync with the entire theme. It doesn’t do justice to the name of music system the car endorses and looks little tacky.
The Koleos seemed to hate our mobile phone as it didn’t allow the Bluetooth pairing at all with its system. Drive Selector and Cruise Control buttons take the lower bay after the music system on the central console
The 6 speed Auto transmission stick is hoisted well on the central console. The feel of the stick is very soft and makes you in charge of everything.
The Driver and the Co-Driver get chunky door handles from inside, while the chrome treated and twisted door locks add a stylish touch on all 4 doors.
Headroom and Legroom of an SUV are generally not an issue as they are made big compared to their sedan cousins. Koleos has decent legroom and headroom for both rows of its passengers.
The Koleos comes with safety features such as the front anti whiplash headrests, ABD, EBD, rain and light sensors and anti pinch power windows among other active and passive safety features.
On the central console exactly after the display screen, there is a shallow pit of storage. One can store tickets, receipts and in my case my cell phone was in it.
The glove box can house is generous in swallowing in bigger commodities. The Fluidic (the word which Hyundai seem to have a trademark of) design door of the glove box is not just looks as it helps house in more things when shut.
The no longer a surprise for me is the storage option under the co-passenger seat. Insert on the door along its length can accommodate a fluid bottle and some miscellaneous articles.Immediately after the gear stick, is the twin glass holder, one of which acts as the cigarette ash collector. There is a peculiar horizontal spacing created after the glass holders, which made me try storing all sorts of things in it but failed in letting it remain firmly positioned.
Under the central armrest is a big storage which also features USB/AUX connectivity for the car entertainment system.
Behind the front driver and co-driver seats are the utility trays with a glass holder cavity. The glass holders are normally spotted on the split armrest that opens from the rear seats. In Koleos, the armrest opens from the seat but to surprise all, its nothing but a padded soft armrest. So the different mechanisms opening on the armrest to double up as glass holders and some storage options are missed here.
Rear luggage of 2012 Renault Koleos offers 450 litres of storage space. The split type tail gate is a superb touch as one need not stress and lift the mammoth tail door to insert or remove any baggage. A strong plus compared to its rivals.
The Renault Koleos comes with a M9R 1995cc Direct Injection Common Rail Turbo Diesel engine. The mill produces a peak power of 150 bhp at 4000 rpm and a torque of 320 Nm at 2000 rpm. A 6 speed Automatic transmission governs this engine.
It’s a good looking smart and compact SUV. Does this boil down to great driving factor too?
The handling of the Renault Koleos is something I wish to mention first as it has impressed me a lot. Handling is so sharp in the Renault Koles that it makes one feel that it’s not tyres but paws are installed.
Mind you the tight handling also takes care of the body roll. This can also be credited to the overall design of the vehicle which is not too tall but compact and the curves on the design make it more aerodynamic then its rivals.
Koleos won’t suit the one who crave for performance and boast of high speed figures. The max speed of Koleos is 180 km/h. She is not too wild if you throttle her hard but then her 320Nm of torque won’t let that smile go away completely.
On highways, you can feel the drop in power and really miss some meaty power delivery. This is accentuated because of the superb handling and transmission. In case of over taking the symphony of the steering and the auto shift will position you well but then the power to pull you further won’t be there.
One more turn off was the transmission; especially the 4th gear. There is slight over rev when you playing with the manual shift. My trick while overtaking was to shuffle from auto to manual to squeeze out the power and then shuffle back to auto.
Hitachi branded ABS on the Renault Koleos was doing a good job. Though there is still a need of tighter brakes on the Koleos.
Fuel Economy figures were not something to write home about. We got the best Fuel consumption figure of 9 kmpl and the worst was like 8 kmpl. Here, the Koleos would get brick bats from its rivals specially the Fortuner which claims to give a figure of around 12 kmpl.
It’s a beautiful looking vehicle, which is compact in size and so no one would like to be nasty with her..Right?..Wrong, We threw her on our 4x4 test track and were mentally convinced that we will have a evil smirk after the test. It was a totally different scene after the test. Renault Koleos is an exceptional off-roader. Please don’t let its soft looks and those large artistic wheels misjudge her potential.
The paws of wheels hold the roads really firm in the 4x4 iTransmission mode. The drive 4x4, 4x2 and Auto are just a switch away and can be used while driving. Also one more feature that achieved my appreciation was the cruise control system. The cruise control on the Koleos is very active and jumps on and off with a touch of a button.
|Ex showroom Mumbai in Rs.||2410724|
|Cubic capcity/No. of cylinders||1994/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||150/4000|
|Torue in Nm/RPM||320/2000|
|Wheel Size||225/ 60R 17 99H|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||65L|
|Fuel Economy claimed||13.7KMPL|
|Warranty||2+2 Years /80k km|
|Turning circle dia||11.6M|
|Color choice available||Ultra Silver|
|All mode 4X4-I Transmission||Yes|
|Cruise control and speed limiter||Yes|
|Split Tail gate||Yes|
|Rear parking proximity sensor||Yes|
|Seat back tables||Yes|
|Smart access card and start/stop button||Yes|
|Dual zone air conditioning||Yes|
|Premium beige all leather upholstery||Yes|
|Bose 8 speaker sound system||Yes|
|Eight high performance speakers||Yes|
|Tilt and telescopic steering wheel||Yes|
|8 way adjustable driver seat||Yes|
|Blue tooth and plug and music system||Yes|
|Rear AC Vents||Yes|
|Rain and Light sensor||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes|
|Front anti whiplash headrest||Yes|
|ISOFIX child seat mounting points||Yes|
|All 4 Anti pinch power windows||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||M9R(W/ESM)||D4-D||X1 SDrive20d||3.0L 4X4|
|Cubic capcity/No. of Cylinders||1994/4||2982/4||1995/4||2953/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||150/4000||171/3600||171||156PS/3200|
|Torue in NM/RPM||320/2000||343/3400||350/3000||380/2500|
|Transmission||5speed Automatic||5 Speed manual||6 Speed automatic||5 Speed automatic|
|Wheel Size||225/ 60R 17 99H||265/65 R17||225/50 R17||245/70 R16|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||65L||80L||NA||71|
|Fuel Economy claimed||13.7KMPL||13KMPL||15.2KMPL||13.1KMPL|
|Ex showroom Mumbai in Lakhs||24.1||18.5||22.4||20.7|
|Rain and Light sensor||SRS Airbags||6SRS Airbags||4Airbags|
|ABS with EBD||Back Sonar||Dynamic traction control||ABS with EBD|
|Front anti whiplash headrest||Immobiliser||Dynamic stability control||Personalised AC vents|
|ISOFIX child seat mounting points||Dual Auto AC||Sensatec upholstery||In dash 6CD Changer|
|All 4Anti pinch power windows||2DIN 6CD Changer||Park distance control||Leather upolstery|
|Smart access card and start/stop button||Leather wrapped steering wheel||Seat adjustment with electric memory||-|
|Dual zone air conditioning||Leather seats and trim||Xenon lights||-|
|Premium beige all leather upholstery||-||-||-|
The Renaut Koleos is not a conventional looking SUV. It boasts of fantastic handling, beautiful design lines and a BOSE music system. Fuel Economy is a negative for the Koleos. But the main thing that tops all the negatives is the price factor.
Close to Rs.25 lakhs, Indians have tons of options that will make a buyer deviate away from the Renault Koleos. Toyota has got the 4x2 variant of their well selling SUV, the Fortuner. Ford Endeavour, which is a popular choice among many for its performance and then the small and sophisticated BMW X1.
Renault should price the Koleos more “lucratively” then the present. Maybe a 4x2 no-frills variant of the Koleos, priced a lakh cheaper than the present variant will help Renault carve out a good space in the premium SUV segment.
Renault’s India vision is looking aggressive with the launch of compact SUV Duster. The pricing bit can make this small creature (Koleos is a Greek word meaning “small creature”) leave a massive impact.