We drove the Koleos dCi 175 X-tronic 4WD: French flair on any road…

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Renault has given the latest generation Koleos bold new curves. But besides the good looks, it received a thorough make over in cabin design, with of course also a further rejuvenation in electronics and mechanics. We described already in an earlier report the new Koleos at its introduction, and now we were able to drive the dynamic and lively 2 liter 177 HP Diesel version. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Pleasing to the eye

Renault is succeeding in giving their cars a bold, very contemporary and individual personality through their recent styling. The Koleos is no exception. The new Koleos bears far more than just a passing family likeness to Talisman and Talisman Estate, which were also designed by Alexis Martot in-line with a strategy for all three models to complement one another. The most striking similarities among the three vehicles are their front-end designs, which all feature a prominent, vertically-positioned Renault logo and a chrome grille. The new Koleos’ dynamic stance is further emphasized by its large tires and low roofline.

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We liked its looks, and indeed it is very well proportioned and pleasing from any angle.

Well proven mechanics

The new Koleos is built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-C/D architecture that is shared by several other models, including Renault’s Espace, Talisman and Kadjar, and Nissan’s X-Trail and Qashqai.

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We tested the 177 HP/130 kW version of the well known two liter diesel engine, and it proved a smooth, frugal and very willing unit. It is coupled to the X-Tronic automatic transmission, which unlike former CVT transmissions, performs more like a multi-ratio automatic whenever the driver needs to accelerate briskly.

At the same time, this continuously variable transmission ensures seamless gear shifts when accelerating gently, as in heavy traffic, for example. So clever! Indeed, this Koleos invited us to gentle smooth driving in the dense (urban) traffic conditions we met during our test.

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The ECO driving assistance helped us with this, and congratulated us at the end of each “ECO” trip: the 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen showed proudly a five star score for acceleration and anticipation, and even under the most slow and dense traffic conditions we achieved an average consumption of 6,7 liters/100 km, which is quite creditable for a 1829 kg heavy 4WD SUV.

To tell you right away here, Renault officially quotes an average consumption of 5,9 liter, being 6,2 for urban and 5,8 for road conditions. CO2 emissions are 156 g/km.

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Of course, there is plenty of joy to be had when you feel in a more sporting mood. The gearbox then behaves, as we said earlier, rather like a fixed ratio 7 speed box, and also one has the option to select a seven-speed sequential mode when you want to brake on the engine, or use a specific gear when accelerating out of a corner for example.

Performance is quite lively to say the least, with 0 to 100 acceleration in 9,5 seconds and a top speed of  just 201 km/h.

One can drive the Koleos with verve, as it has stable and predictable handling, the well honed common architecture truly reveals its qualities.

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The 4WD is of course a boon to use. As we said before, the ALL MODE 4×4-i transmission has been proved on millions of Renault-Nissan Alliance vehicles worldwide. This all-wheel drive system permanently monitors grip levels to guarantee optimal traction whatever the conditions. The Koleos continues to feature a control switch that allows drivers to choose the transmission mode. Very easy to use, it is situated to the left of the steering wheel and enables the driver to select one of three modes, namely 2WD, 4WD AUTO or the exclusive 4WD LOCK.

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Renault’s excellent infotainment

A word of praise is always justified for Renault’s R-LINK 2 multimedia system. This connected tablet coordinates the majority of the vehicle’s functions such as infotainment, navigation, hands-free telephony, radio and driver aids. We liked its intuitive interface offering the same tactile functions as a personal tablet courtesy of capacitive technology (two-finger zoom, page scrolling, drag and drop). It really is one of the big charms of driving a Renault.

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Of course, the new Koleos offers a new smartphone replication feature, which is compatible with both Apple CarPlay for iPhone users and Android Auto for Android.

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Last but not least there is inside New Koleos the Bose© developed and tailor-engineered system that takes into account the acoustic properties of the cabin. It comprises 13 high-performance loudspeakers…

On top of all this comes a raft of standard equipment – traction control, latest generation electronic stability control (ESC) electronic brake force distribution and hill start assist – is complemented by a palette of state-of-the-art driver aids (ADAS). These are all accessible via the R-LINK 2 tablet.

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A pleasant and roomy cabin

The Koleos rear passengers benefit from good knee room (289mm), and have ample headroom, shoulder room and elbow room.

This cabin space combines with a large configurable boot and numerous practical storage solutions. What to think of the 579 liter boot featuring a clever removable floor positioned at the same height as the sill to form a flat floor.

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Thanks to handles located in the boot, the Easy Break system allows the 60/40-split rear bench seat to be folded to free up a total carrying capacity of 1,706dm3 VDA (equivalent to 1,795 litres).  The cabin of our test car was bright thanks to a large opening glass sunroof (0.80m2) that extends over the rear seats.

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Conclusion

Renault has ambition in the SUV segment, and has the cars to fulfill it. The Koleos certainly puts its best foot forward in its segment, and combines many good qualities. Well proportioned, frugal, roomy and pleasant and easy to use, thanks also to the R-Link infotainment. Owning a Renault nowadays also means enjoying reliability and quality, and indeed the French brand is scoring very high here.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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