Renault Koleos Review
The Rs.20 lakh+ SUV space has seen many entrants. It is not just manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi who have a strong foothold in this segment but also the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi who have pitched in their entry level SUVs trying to cash in on their premium luxury manufacturer image.
Renault marked their solo entry in India with the Fluence but it was not until Duster which made them stand tall among other car manufacturers. The company has launched five different models across multiple segments.
The Koleos, which is the flagship SUV, has recently got mechanical and design updates along with 2 additional variants. It will be primarily competing against the Hyundai Santa Fe and Audi Q3 along with others but then are the new changes sufficient to give the competition a stiff fight?, we find out in our first drive review.
The new Koleos gets marginal changes compared to the earlier model. Koleos has always managed to look different from competition because it does not have aggressive lines or a razor sharp design but instead has characteristic curves and a flowing profile.
The new version gets the modern brand face with the bold new Renault logo affixed on the centre of the radiator grille. The humble looking grille has been replaced by more designer friendly triple chrome slats. It also gets a flowing headlight design with projector lamps. Rest of the design has been left intact.
It gets newly designed two tone 17” alloy wheels but then my favourite still remains the one on the earlier model with multiple spokes because it made the Koleos look different. Presently the alloy wheels look very conventional. Other than the alloy wheels, the basic architecture has been left intact. It has a strong shoulder line flowing on the side. It also gets chrome side protectors.
The rear profile is identical to the earlier model without any changes. It gets a swollen tail lamp design which wraps around the body. The rear bash plate begins from a higher point on the rear bumper. It also gets a split twin opening tail gate which makes hauling luggage every convenient.
The interiors of the Koleos have been refurnished with better leather seats, minor updates on the music console and power assisted passenger seats. Even with all the additional changes and features, sadly the Koleos finds it difficult to justify its hefty price tag.
The 3 spoke steering wheel gets only cruise control adjustment buttons while there is a media rack affixed on the steering column. The 6 speed Auto transmission stick is hoisted well on the central console. The Driver and the Co-Driver doors get chunky door handles, while the chrome treated door locks add a stylish touch on all 4 doors.
Koleos has decent legroom and headroom for both rows of its passengers. 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.
We had already driven the earlier iteration of Koleos so its performance was known to us but then Renault has bumped up the figures in the new Koleos by adding 23 more horses more to the 2.0L engine. This means the new Koleos should obviously impress us more than earlier?
The engine now produces 360Nm of torque and 173PS power. It comes with the conventional torque converter AT transmission but then in addition to that the new Koleos also gets a 6 speed manual transmission. This was indeed needed in the Koleos as now it is offered in 3 variants catering different drive and transmission needs.
Even though the new engine is more powerful and torquey on paper, it does not feel the same on road. We had the 4x4 AT with us which has an option of changing the drive type to 4x2 just by toggling a switch. The engine however is very lazy and does not react on a swift push. It has an updated transmission unit but that too is not the best in the segment. The transmission does not deliver crisp gear shifts and on many occasions it overshoots the engine speed. The same is felt while toggling between the gears in the manual model. Leave aside the complaint of missing gear shift paddles, the transmission unit appears confused.
It is quite an effort to make the Koleos reach high speeds especially if one likes some enthusiastic driving. The slow transmission and the evident turbo lag are very discouraging during overtaking manoeuvres. Even the 1.5L Fluence has more confidence while overtaking compared to the 2L Koleos.
On the positive side, it handles really well. The suspension setup can be ranked among the best in class as even on rough roads and patchy surfaces, the cabin is totally detached from all the discomfort. We managed to do some decent level of off-roading and the Koleos left us impressed. Get it on the 4x4 mode and the Koleos is all ready to climb and crawl on varied surfaces.
|Ex showroom Mumbai in Rs.||2410724|
|Cubic capcity/No. of cylinders||1994/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||173/3750|
|Torue in Nm/RPM||360/2000|
|Max Ground Clearance||206|
|Wheel Size||225/ 60R 17 99H|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||65L|
|Fuel Economy claimed||17.15 Kmpl|
|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
|Cubic capcity/No. of Cylinders||1994/4||2982/4||1995/4||2953/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||173/3750||171/3600||171||156PS/3200|
|Torue in NM/RPM||173/3750||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||17.15KMPL||13KMPL||15.2KMPL||13.1KMPL|
|Rain and Light sensor||SRS Airbags||6 SRS Airbags||4 Airbags|
|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 6 CD Changer|
|All 4 Anti pinch power windows||2DIN 6 CD Changer||Park distance control||Leather upolstery|
|Smart access card and start/stop button||Leather wrapped steering wheel||Seat adjustment with electric memory||Seat adjustment with electric memory|
|Dual zone air conditioning||Leather seats and trim||Xenon lights||-|
|Premium beige all leather upholstery||-||-||-|
So where does the Koleos sit in the premium SUV space? As we mentioned earlier, the Rs.20L+ price bracket has many different options. It ranges from a full potential Toyota Fortuner, off-road specialist Mitsubishi Pajero sport to the entry level SUVs like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. This will also see the upcoming GLA SUV from Mercedes Benz.
Unfortunately, even with all the upgrades, Koleos cannot stand even with the German competition. Renault is a known brand but then the Big Three will always attract more consumers. Also, Toyota and Mitsubishi too will continue to dominate it since they are known SUV makers.