Scintillating new Renault Koleos storms in to SA crossover segment
- Saloon-car rivaling on-road dynamics with real off-road capabilities clothed in sheer, unquestionable French style.
- 4x4 Outside Renault Inside, the complete crossover
Renault SA announces the release of the highly versatile Koleos crossover, marking two firsts for the French brand. This vehicle is the first Renault-badged product to enter the relatively new crossover vehicle segment, as well as the first ever Renault to feature an AWD drivetrain from the factory!
The modern crossover vehicle segment has experienced impressive growth in the last few years, vehicles competing in this sector accounted for some 5% of the total new vehicle market in Europe last year.
The reasoning stems from the social stigma which more traditional, large 4X4s and SUVs carry in this age of enviro-consciousness and global fuel crises. A crossover is able to merge the smaller, more socially-accepted dimensions of a hatchback with the family-oriented practicality of an MPV while delivering the off-road abilities and stylistic charms of an SUV.
It’s a highly competitive arena, with products available from no less than 25 brands in total, which explains just why the Renault/Nissan/Samsung alliance triumvirate has gone to such extreme lengths during the 28 months the Koleos was in development. Each and every element of the Koleos has been optimised to take on the class leaders, the economies of scale of this global automotive powerhouse resulting in a product with the goods to firmly grasp the leadership spot in this burgeoning segment, without massive costs to drive the showroom floor price tag to unattainably stratospheric levels.
The new Koleos range
Renault SA is offering the SA compact-SUV consumer the choice of four distinct models, beginning with the Koleos 2.5 4X2 Manual Dynamique. This is the ideal choice for buyers who are drawn to the funky demeanour and chunky good looks of this new Renault vehicle, as well as the feeling of security inherent in the commanding driving position underpinned by class-leading on-road dynamic prowess, but won’t ever required their Koleos to don it’s all-terrain persona.
The list of standard specification features is comprehensive for what amounts to an entry-level model derivative nevertheless, with this 4X2 Dynamique sporting handsome 17” alloys, electric windows and mirrors, a powerful air-conditioner system and 140W 6-CD entertainment system incorporating wheel-mounted satellite controls, versatile and comfortable seating arrangements with both lumbar support and height adjustment for the driver, and a comprehensive line-up of safety and driver aids.
The same trim package fills out the second model in the range, the Koleos 2.5 4X4 Manual Dynamique. Essentially identical to the 4X2 derivative but, obviously, with the innovative All-Mode 4X4-i drivetrain endowing it with true go-anywhere characteristics.
To continue the lengthy list of Dynamique-spec standard fittings shared across both of these models, the Koleos comes with an electronically-controlled parking brake with automatic park control, load limiters on both front and rear seatbelts, and a pretensioning functioning on the front belts, cruise control, a 7-function trip computer, variable-rate electric power steering, and Halogen headlights supported by front fog lamps.
Both Dynamique models feature durable but smart charcoal cloth upholstery and a charcoal dash with flashes of aluminium-finish trim.
Moving up in the range, the next model is the Koleos 2.5 4X4 CVT Dynamique Premium. Here that innovative All-Mode 4X4-i system is mated to an equally impressive CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) gearbox which provides a perfectly matched gear ratio for every driving condition without the driver having to worry about a thing.
In Premium spec, the Koleos is laden-down with luxury addenda, including automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, front and rear parking assistance, ESP (Electronic Stability Program), as well as Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control tackling some of the more technical aspects of off-road driving automatically.
Inside, luxurious leather upholstery replaces the cloth of Dynamique models, and a complete automatic climate control super cedes the manual air conditioning unit.
And finally, representing the top of the range is the Koleos 2.0 dCi 4X4 Manual Dynamique Premium. Featuring the same levels of luxurious ambience as its petrol-powered Premium-spec sibling, but with a more ecologically-friendly, advanced 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine providing generous torque and superb fuel efficiency, this model showcases the huge advancements in diesel technology made by the company with its latest generations of diesel technologies.
The two Premium models can also be ordered with even more luxurious options if the customer requires them. For instance, the new Koleos will be the first of the Renault range to reveal the brand’s close new working relationship with premium audio system supplier Bose, and discerning audiophiles will truly appreciate the quality and power of the optional 7-speaker 1-subwoofer Bose installation. Additional options include a sunroof with the largest surface area in this class, and in upgrade to Xenon headlights with integrated headlight washer units.
The new Renault Koleos has style in abundance, featuring an instantly recognisable and utterly gorgeous shape which manages to combine the tough, go-anywhere attitude of a 4X4 with purposeful forward motion even when static, thanks largely to that steeply raked rear screen.
The front end is unmistakably a Renault and approachable, while the swollen wheel arches and high ground clearance underline that this vehicle has serious off-road credentials, as well as plenty of on-road dynamism and city-beating aptitude.
Strong, clearly defined flanks give the side profile a dramatically wedged shape without impacting on practicality, with the Koleos featuring a split rear loading bay for ease of access and a load area which grows from 450dm3 with all five seats in their regular, upright positions, to a monstrous and flat-floored 1380dm3 with the bench seats folded away. That’s in addition to the 70 litres of assorted stowage intelligently dotted around the cabin, including a 15 litre refrigerated glovebox compartment.
That the Renault designers take sculpting their vehicles as more of an art than science is further in evidence when you step inside. The sweeping, stylised dash is ergonomic and intuitive but also flows beautifully creating a strong ambience of sheer elegance within. And the generous standard-fit equipment list further reinforces this air of opulence.
There’s a dual-zone climate control complete with individual ventilation for rear seat passengers, and high-end fully integrated MP3-compatible Radio/CD with optional Bluetooth, while audiophiles can opt for the superb Bose system tailored to the acoustic properties of the shapely Koleos interior. Windows and mirrors are power-operated, as is the large 0.75m sunroof which assists in making the cabin feel airy and natural, and Renault’s card-based keyless go remote central locking.
It’s no surprise, from a brand which boasts the highest number of 5-star Euro NCAP-rated products in its line-up, that the Renault Koleos features a full range of safety addenda including a total of 6 airbags, the front two being of the adaptive variety which provide optimum protection to occupants regardless of their unique build.
Braking performance is outstanding thanks to the fitment of generously-proportioned hardware as well as a full raft of electronic aids – namely ABS, EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist). The ESP traction and stability control system on Dynamique Premium models further enhances vehicle control under all situations, while Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control are invaluable electronic tools for making off-road conditions more accessible.
But before the ESP can even intervene, the intelligent electronic 4X4 system will activate shifting torque distribution from a purely front-driven strategy to a potential 50/50 front/rear distribution model to quell understeer as it happens. This drivetrain can be locked into 2WD mode for enhanced driveline efficiency when driving in high-grip tarmac conditions, or into full-time AWD for when the spirit of adventure comes knocking, or left in Auto mode for the best of both worlds, as per the highly advanced on-board computers and sensor arrays.
Should an accident be unavoidable, the Renault Koleos also features a meticulously-engineered chassis complete with programmed deformation zones in the front and rear, as well as pretensioning seatbelts with load limiters, and Isofix child-seat fittings to ensure that your most precious cargo is unharmed.
When it comes to dynamics, the incorporation of all-terrain abilities had to go hand in hand with on-road abilities comparable to a regular saloon, and in this respect the Renault Koleos absolutely excels. With a McPherson-strut setup at the front and fully-independent multi-link rear suspension, this crossover convincingly controls its body mass and higher centre of gravity when driven vigorously, the driver comfortable in the knowledge that the lack of precision inherent to a traditional, bulky 4X4 solution is banished amongst the leaders of the crossover segment.
The new Koleos is powered by a choice of advanced 2.0-litre turbo diesel motor, or a naturally-aspirated 2,5-litre petrol engine. Both options produce more than adequate urge even for the committed driver while being exceptionally frugal at the pumps.
This new dCi engine features piezoelectric injection, a high-pressure common-rail injection system, a water-cooled variable-geometry turbocharger and periodic regeneration particulate filter for even cleaner emissions. The result is a diesel motor which leads the pack in terms of refinement and breadth of powerband, thumping out 360Nm and 127kW through a six-speed manual transmission.
Petrol lovers will appreciate the free-revving but torquey nature of the 2.5-litre Euro-IV compliant “four”, which produces 226Nm and 126kW, and can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission or revolutionary CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) system.
For complete freedom of personal expression, Renault offers an extensive range of customisation options on the new Koleos, many of which enhance the adventure aspect of this multi-purpose crossover even further, or massage aesthetic or even practical aspects as desired.
Concludes Xavier Gobille, Managing Director of Renault SA; “We’re particularly excited to include the new Koleos in our line-up for South Africa, an environment where there’s ample opportunity to truly stretch the adventurous capabilities of the Koleos, and of course all the reward in the world for doing so in our stunning country. But this vehicle in fact appeals to such a strong seam of customers, thanks to its genuine multi purpose design brief – it’s a great-looking and funky urban toy and tool combined, a stylishly pouting fashion model who is also a girl scout for the school run heroes, and a rugged rough-roader for the adventurers. All backed by the superb levels of quality and service we’ve worked hard to make the Renault brand stand for.”
As is the case with all Renaults, the new Koleos benefits from Renault SA’s prioritised commitment to customer service excellence under the Renault Confiance banner.
All Renault Koleos models are supplied with a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty and a five-year/60 000 km maintenance plan. Also included is a 24-hour roadside assistance and security solution.
- Koleos 2.5 4x2 Manual Dynamique R270 000
- Koleos 2.5 4x4 Manual Dynamique R285 000
- Koleos 2.5 4x4 CVT Dynamique Premium R330 000
- Koleos 2.0 dCi 4x4 Manual Dynamique Premium R345 000
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