Renault Koleos Life is comfortable, spacious, reasonably equipped, handsome and well-priced
What is it?
The second generation Renault Koleos. The big Renault designed in France, borrows the drivertrain and other components from the Japanese Nissan X-Trail and is made in the Renault-Samsung factory in Korea, a true child of automotive globalisation.
What’s it cost?
The Koleos range kicks off with the Koleos Life as tested here, which has a sticker price of $30,990 and is fitted with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive and tops out with the Koleos Intens diesel four-wheel drive which is priced from $47,990.
Standard equipment on the Koleos Life is decent: you get autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, reversing camera, a wealth of airbags, rear parking sensors, climate control, a digital instrument cluster. And while you don’t get sat nav, you do get Apple CarPlay which allows you to use Apple Maps. There’s also Android Auto if you’re that way inclined.
What’s it go like?
The Koleos Life is powered by a Nissan-sourced 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 126kW @ 6000rpm and 226Nm @ 4400rpm and that power is fed to the front wheels via that CVT transmission.
While those performance figures seem peaky on paper, that CVT actually extracts the best from the engine and it never seems underpowered. It always has ample performance up its sleeve to overtake and devour large hills. Refinement is relatively good, too, with engine and road noise kept to minimum levels.
The ride is nice and compliant too, and never really loses composure. The steering feel is fine, but it’s not what you’d call “communicative.”
Overall, though, the Koleos Life is a pleasant steer for a mid-size SUV it just isn’t particularly sporty.
What’s it like inside?
Spacious and comfortable are the two key words that spring to mind when describing the Koleos’ interior. The general design isn’t particularly flamboyant – the dash is very similar that the one in the Megane – which is a simple design and ergonomically simply to fathom, except the speed limiter and cruise control on button that are behind the gear lever, which is odd. Then there’s that uniquely French audio control stalk, which is hidden behind the right side of the steering wheel is counterintuitive at first, but becomes familiar over time. Still, conventional steering wheel mounted buttons are preferable.
Space for all five occupants – there isn’t a seven seat option on any of the trim levels – is excellent. The two passengers up front can indulge in ample head, leg and shoulder room and up the back, rear passengers can stretch their legs with the expansive rear legroom. Again, head, leg and shoulder room is commendable and you should be able to fit two baby seats and have room for another without much fuss.
The cargo area is decent at 458 litres with the seats up and 1690 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Build quality is very good, with lots of soft touch plastics and other materials and panel fit and finish was more than satisfactory.
In sum, the Koleos Life interior is just as adept at the supermarket run, as it is on a long road trip.
What we like:
What we don’t:
- Fake clamshell bonnet inserts
- Auto system stalk can be frustrating
- Engine could do with a touch more sparkle
- Not a whole lot else
Renault Koleos Life is a comfortable, spacious, refined, well-priced and genuinely likeable mid-sized SUV. It may be a slightly left-of-centre choice in a crowded medium SUV market