Car Reviews

2018 Renault Koleos Review

Carzone drives the new large Renault SUV


Pros: Spacious cabin, refined drive, good equipment levels

Cons: No seven seat option, expensive

The first-generation Renault Koleos was a car to forget and so it was swiftly pulled from the French manufacturer’s line-up back in 2010. At first glance, the all-new second generation Koleos is a completely different proposition however. The new Koleos is a large SUV and it strengthens Renault’s crossover line-up alongside the popular Kadjar and Captur. Borrowing styling cues from the best-selling cars in Renault’s range and bringing a range of economical diesel engines to the table, it is well-priced with reasonable off-roading credentials too. We took it for a drive recently to see if it can find success in an increasingly-crowded and competitive corner of the market.  

What is it like?

The Koleos takes styling inspiration from the Renault Megane, but on a much larger scale, with its large and fashionable C-Shaped LED daytime running lights, distinctive Renault front grille and chrome detailing along the sides and around its windows. All of this means the Koleos has considerable presence out on the road, which is a must for the discerning SUV buyer. Depending on the specification, the Koleos sits on 19-inch alloy wheels and full LED headlights are fitted to the highest specification Signature Nav models. 

The Koleos feels very spacious inside with a comfortable driver’s seat and the centre console design is recognisable from other models in Renault’s range. The materials feel higher quality than what we’re used to from Renault, and there’s plenty of storage throughout the cabin with large door bins and 579 litres of storage space in the boot. Tall passengers will find it easy to get comfortable in the rear with ample leg and head room. Some will be dissuaded by the fact that it is not available with seven seats, while most of its rivals are (Volvo XC90, Skoda Kodiaq, Hyundai Santa Fe). 

The engine range is relatively simple, with choice limited to either a 130bhp 1.6-litre diesel unit or a larger 174bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit with all-wheel drive. The front-wheel-driven 1.6-litre diesel is likely to be the best-seller here in Ireland, with sufficient power for everyday driving and respectable fuel economy too, however it is only available with a notchy six-speed manual gearbox. Those wanting Renault’s Xtronic automatic transmission will have to opt for the larger 2.0-litre diesel which isn’t quite as economical. 

The Koleos offers decent levels of refinement on the move and so the cabin is quiet at motorway speeds, although it isn’t as cosseting as its expensive class-leading rivals. It corners well with direct steering and body roll is kept in check, while the diesel engines provide more oomph than you would think. The Koleos driving credentials will suffice for most buyers, but again there are more established cars in the class which do this better. Those who venture off-road will be surprised by the capabilities of the all-wheel-drive model. 

In Ireland, prices for the new Koleos start from €34,490 in base Dynamique S Nav trim which is at the lower end of the large SUV price scale. For that, you get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a rear parking camera with front and rear sensors, a full opening panoramic sunroof and 18-inch alloy wheels. Stretch to the higher specification Signature Nav model and the infotainment screen grows to 8.7-inches in size, along with full LED headlights, an electric tailgate and front heated seats with full leather upholstery. 

Carzone verdict: 4/5

The Koleos is a strong new offering from Renault in the ultra-competitive large SUV space. The Koleos’ key attributes include droves of interior space, great equipment and features as standard, a range of frugal engines very much suited to Ireland and that’s not to mention it is a fine-looking thing. It ultimately falls short of its rivals in terms of refinement out on the road, there isn’t a seven-seat solution and it lacks the luxury feel and reputation of the leaders in the class. That said, those considering affordable large SUVs such as the Skoda Kodiaq, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sportage should take a look at the Koleos too.  

Test Car Details:

Model driven: Renault Koleos Dynamique S Nav
Prices from: €34,490
Annual Road Tax: €270
Engine: 1598cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque: 130bhp
Top Speed: tbc
0-100km/h: 11.4 seconds
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 579 litres