Function
French Flair
Richard Augustin 
Renault Koleos is a value proposition when it comes to SUVs, yet we don’t see many of them on the road here
The Renault brand hasn’t been given its fair share of attention here in Malaysia and it’s not for the lack of trying. To date, it has produced a number of exciting products such as the Megane, Clio and Captur, the latter currently being assembled locally.

But with most Malaysian consumers opting for Japanese makes or higher end German brands, Renault has found itself stuck somewhere in limbo. And that is quite a shame because it happens to make pretty good cars.

Take for example the all-new Renault Koleos. Launched here late last year by TC Euro Cars (TCEC), the sole franchise holder of Renault in Malaysia, the flagship SUV from the French manufacturer is priced at RM182,800. For a large well-built and fully-kitted SUV, it is not a lot of money, especially when you also factor in the well-appointed interior and rugged handsome exterior.


Bold looks

The new SUV keeps in line with Renault’s design strategy and it manages to look both rugged and stylish at the same time. The powerful, muscular lines and the futuristic front and sleek rear lend a unique attribute to the French SUV, allowing it to look equally at home in the wilderness as it does in the city. It sits high too, approximately 210mm off the ground, an allowance for any off-road jaunts, as long as you don’t mind risking scuffing those gorgeous 18-inch alloys.


Comfortable interior

Inside, the design motif continues with a well-appointed and spacious interior. Legroom and headroom are maximised, one of the key assets of the new Koleos. Offering refinement, comfort and premium attributes associated with larger flagship saloon cars, the SUV is perfect for daily commutes as well as road trips.

Key cabin features include a fully-customisable 8.7-inch portrait screen format R-LINK 2 infotainment system, instrument display with 7-inch TFT colour screen, along with class-leading interior space. Drivers get a six-way power adjustment driver’s seat, configurable boot with over 542 litres of space, and fully-customisable LED cabin lighting, to set the right mood for your drive. Rear passengers in the all-new Koleos also enjoy the benefits of dual air vents and dual USB charging.


Efficient engine

Under the hood, the all-new Koleos features Renault’s proven powertrain and technologies with a powerful 2.5-litre petrol engine mated to a new X-Tronic CVT automatic transmission. Combined, the efficient power plant is capable of delivering a maximum power of 171PS and a peak torque of 226 Nm.

This engine-transmission set-up is the very heart of the Koleos delivering a spirited drive without the fuel burn. Responsive at low and mid-range engine speed, with 200 Nm torque available from as low as 1,800 rpm, the Koleos doesn’t need prodding to get up to highway legal speeds. It also delivers 8.1L/100km fuel efficiency on a combined cycle, which is certainly impressive for its size.


Power & poise

These two words best summed up our experience with the Renault Koleos. With our testing ground being the hallowed roads leading up to Genting Highlands, the SUV passed the test with flying colours. Nimble despite its large footprint and space aplenty inside, the Koleos is perfect for families.

In terms of safety, the all-new Renault Koleos lists the latest generation electronic stability control (ESC), traction control, braking assist, electronic brake force distribution and hill start assist as standard features.

The model arrives with a blind spot warning system, two adaptive front airbags, two front lateral thorax/shoulder airbags as well as two curtain airbags, anti-submarining front seat, and rear ISOFIX anchorage for i-Size child seats.


High score

We have tested a lot of SUVs in recent months and the Renault Koleos is certainly one of the most impressive of the lot. Sure the badge is a turn-off for most due to the depreciation factor, but then again you get that with most European and Asian brands anyway.

However with a long list of impressive features and customisable in-cabin features, as well as great drive and handling, the Renault Koleos should sit high on prospective SUV buyers’ list. With 15 service centres located throughout the country and a five-year full manufacturer’s warranty with unlimited mileage, the Renault Koleos certainly provides good value and a worry-free ownership experience.


Specifications

Engine : 2.5L naturally aspirated multi-point fuel injection
Capacity : 2488cc
Drivetrain : 4X2
Transmission : X-Tronic CVT automatic
Max Power : 171PS @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque : 226 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Fuel Consumption : 8.1L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity : 60L
Price : RM182,800

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 241.