C-shaped LED daytime running lights and chrome detailing give the French SUV a smart image.
C-shaped LED daytime running lights and chrome detailing give the French SUV a smart image.
Image: Denis Droppa

The Renault Koleos is big and comfortable. I also like the C-shaped LED daytime running lights that define the face of this SUV.

Boot space is quite big and it may give the impression this is a seven-seater, but it is not. I could fit my family of four in the Koleos, including myself, and still have room for groceries, toys and possibly some household furniture. My little one liked jumping and playing there as he saw it as a playground of sorts, and the leather trim is easy to clean.

There are quite a lot of storage cabins for water bottles and iPads. I also like the grab handles on either side of the centre console. The driving position is comfortable.

Four USB charging ports for front and rear passengers minimised any unnecessary quarrels as to who must charge first or last. There is also a 12V socket for a third passenger; worthwhile for those long journeys and a nice touch.

From an aesthetic point of view there is attractive chrome detailing that runs along the front and into the front doors, with the side window surrounds and door handles having a similar chrome design.

This adds up to impressive visual beauty and the test vehicle’s navy blue colour makes the chrome stand out even more.

The front and rear doors open to generous angles, which comes in handy with me wrestling with my boys when getting them into car seats and putting on seatbelts. I didn’t feel squeezed out.

The infotainment functions are bundled into a large tablet-like touch screen. The interior’s ambient lighting can be changed to several colours including this green.
The infotainment functions are bundled into a large tablet-like touch screen. The interior’s ambient lighting can be changed to several colours including this green.
Image: Denis Droppa

I liked the keyless entry system, where the key stays in your pocket. You get distracted and forget to lock the car and start walking away from your car? No need to worry; a few steps away from the Koleos, it automatically lock itself with a distinct bleep. Just as a nice reminder that your goods inside are safe and secure.

At R449 900, the the top-of-the-range Koleos 2.5 Dynamique 4x4 is very affordable for what it offers, and is the only sub R500,000 SUV in its market segment.

Fuel consumption from the petrol vehicle is 10.0l/100km, but my pet peeve was the CVT (continuously variable transmission), which was a constant nuisance for me as it seems stuck in one gear and just endlessly whines.

Renault has a potential winner despite the massive competition from the Toyota RAV4, Ford Kuga and the award-winning VW Tiguan. The specs are good, the pricing aggressive and the cabin space to die for. The Koleos is a likeable family SUV, with a “smiling” face.


Tech Specs 

Engine

Type: Four-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 2,488cc

Power: 126kW

Torque: 233Nm

Transmission

Type: CVT automatic 7-speed

Drivetrain

Type: Two-wheel drive with selectable 4WD auto and 4WD Lock

Performance

Top speed: 199km/h

0-100km/h: 9.8 seconds (claimed)

Fuel consumption: 8.3l/100 km (claimed); 10.0l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 192g/km

Standard features

Electric mirrors, electric windows, leather seats, dual-zone climate control with air vents for rear passengers, hands-free key card, cruise control, automatic LED daytime running lights, cornering fog lights, electrically adjustable front seats, six airbags, ABS brakes, stability control, hill-start assist, parking sensors, reversing camera, blind-spot detection, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, central locking, height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, cooled/warmed cupholder, infotainment system with 22cm capacitive touch screen, navigation, voice command, 225/60 R18 tyres

Warranty: Five years/150,000km

Service plan: Five years/90,000km

Price: R479,900

Lease*: R10,291 per month

*at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

Competition

Honda CR-V 1.5 Executive AWD, 140kW/240Nm — R626,900

Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Elite, 115kW/196Nm — R529,900

Nissan X-Trail 2.5 4x4 Tekna, 106kW/200Nm — R523,800

VW Tiguan 2.0 TSI 4Motion Highline, 162kW/350Nm — R592,100

Mazda CX-5 2.5 AWD Individual, 143kW/257Nm — R569,100

Toyota Rav4 2.0 GX-R CVT AWD, 127kW/203Nm — R516,100