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Renault Koleos

Reviews, Renault
Posted by Zahari Mladenov on 04 March 2008

Renault is pleased to present Koleos, its first ever crossover. Ideal for escaping the everyday routine, Renault Koleos is comfortable, easy to drive and boasts genuine off-road ability. It has been designed to be versatile, too, offering the same reassuring drive when motoring in and about town, on open roads and on motorways as it does when it is taken off the beaten track. Meanwhile, Renault Koleos delivers the same standard of comfort as that expected of a saloon car, as well as cabin space worthy of a compact MPV. Designed by Renault, developed by Nissan and manufactured in Renault Samsung Motors' Busan plant in Korea, Renault Koleos is the fruit of extremely close collaboration between teams from each of these Renault-Nissan Alliance brands. Renault Koleos will be on show at the Geneva Motor Show from March 4, 2008.

The launch of Koleos marks a decisive step in the brand's development, not only in Europe but across the world. The release of its first 4x4 crossover is a sure sign that Renault has the capacity to take its own authentic stance and a completely fresh approach in segments from which it has traditionally been absent. Renault Koleos offers a unique standard of safety and comfort, a parameter that has become a recognised Renault hallmark which is not only clear for all to see but also highly affordable.

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The release of Koleos sees Renault take the wraps off its first ever 4x4 crossover, a vehicle designed for getting away from it all which combines an efficient all-wheel drive chassis, the dynamic lines of a saloon car and the cabin space of an MPV.

Renault has made sure that Koleos has all the necessary genes to ensure that all passengers travel first class and that the new vehicle is easy to use. The seating and suspension provide a high standard of comfort and the driver benefits from outstanding forward visibility thanks to the low-mounted dashboard, while Koleos' split-opening tailgate greatly facilitates loading.

Exterior

While 4x4 models are frequently associated with bulky volumes and considered complex to use, one of the key features of Koleos is the speed and ease with which drivers feel at home behind its wheel. The length and width of Renault Koleos are 4.52m and 1.85m respectively and these contained dimensions ensure that it copes as effortlessly with city motoring as it does when taken off the beaten track. Indeed, despite the presence of styling cues from the world of 4x4s, Renault Koleos is a crossover that offers a successful blend of dynamic and balanced lines. Meanwhile, in addition to all-terrain attributes like high ground clearance and skid-plates, the impression of ruggedness exuded by Koleos gives it a reassuring feel.

Inside

The cabin is very easy to assimilate. The practical dashboard design and development logic behind the easy to operate man-machine interfaces allow drivers to swiftly familiarize themselves with the different controls, while use of the navigation, radio, heating and climate controls is intended to be intuitive.

Controls for the navigation system, hands-free telephone, audio system and automatic parking brake are all positioned either on the steering wheel or within easy reach of the driver.

Information relating to the navigation system and radio is displayed centrally on the upper part of the dashboard to make sure that it is both clearly legible for the driver and easy to read for other occupants.

A raft of equipment aimed at taking the stress out of motoring underpins how effortlessly Koleos fits into the Renault family. Such features include the hands-free card and keyless starting functions, automatic headlamp and wiper activation, a tyre pressure monitoring system and cruise control/speed limiter, while the controls for the power windows, adjustment of the exterior mirrors and central locking are all located on the driver's door.

The drive station itself couldn't be more driver-friendly. Careful attention has been paid to ensure that Renault Koleos boasts segment-leading head-up visibility and forward field of vision, while its rearward angle of vision figures amongst the best available in the segment. The driving position can be precisely adjusted thanks to the adjustable seat and height- and reachadjustable steering column.

Dynamics

The sensation of being in control is felt as soon as the driver settles behind the wheel of Koleos. The power steering is precise, progressive, and accurately feeds back information from the road. Despite its higher ground clearance, Koleos handles like a saloon car thanks to its chassis which was purposely developed to provide an optimal trade off between comfort and handling, both of which are of a remarkably high standard. Special attention was paid to cornering performance with the intention of to curb body-roll which can often be a feature of this type of vehicle.

Versatility: a leitmotiv - Running gear

Renault Koleos is a crossover whose roots can be traced back to the worlds of the saloon car, the MPV and 4x4-type vehicle. It successfully blends the best of all three categories to deliver outstanding versatility and driving pleasure on all types of road. In built-up areas, on motorways and on unsealed surfaces, the Koleos chassis conveys a real sense of safety and being in control.

The MacPherson-type front suspension combines with the fully-independent multilink rear suspension seen on New X-Trail. This set-up guarantees comfort and directional stability in all situations, while the dampers and springs have been tuned to match Koleos' specific dimensions and contribute to the targeted balance between comfort and handling.

Ground clearance of 206mm (diesel version: 188mm) and approach and departure angles of 27 and 31 degrees respectively are further illustrations of Koleos' off-road credentials.

All-wheel drive

Koleos is the first Renault model to feature four-wheel drive from launch. The torque split between the front and rear is automatically calculated as a function of available grip. In normal conditions, torque is delivered to the front wheels only. Should less grip become available, however, up to 50 per cent of torque is transferred to the rear. This front-rear split is ensured by an electronic coupler and controlled by the latest-generation 'All mode 4x4-I' system developed by Nissan for New X-Trail.

This system, which is designed to optimize traction in all road conditions, is not only acclaimed for its efficiency but also contributes to Renault Koleos' exceptional off-road ability. "Koleos boasts an off-road capacity that no other Renault has been able to claim since the 'Marne Taxis' of the Great War," points out Renault's Worldwide Marketing Director Stephen Norman.

The same all-wheel drive management system also contributes to the vehicle's active safety performance. The instant it detects even a small amount of oversteer or understeer, it immediately modifies the front-rear torque split, even before a possible intervention from the ESP kicks in. When grip is at a premium, such as on snow, mud, dirt or sand, the driver only has to flick a switch on the dashboard to electronically lock the transmission in 4x4 mode. Alternatively, should the driver so wish, the transmission can also be locked in two-wheel drive mode.

Renault Koleos is equipped with a Hill Start Assist function which can prove a particularly useful asset during everyday motoring. This system is automatically activated on gradients of more than 10 per cent with a view to preventing the vehicle slipping back down the slope. It also does away with the need for the driver to switch rapidly from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal which is inherent in most vehicles.

Similarly, Renault Koleos is equipped with a Hill Descent Control system for even safer off-road motoring. This function is activated via a button mounted on the central fascia and automatically holds the vehicle's speed at a maximum of 7kph on downhill gradients of 10 per cent or more without requiring the brakes to be used. This function works in reverse gear, too.

Koleos' navigation system has a number of specific off-road features, including an altimeter and barometer. The vehicle's angle of inclination, the slope and an altitude graph are equally displayed, while a digital compass takes the stress out of finding the correct heading when there are no signposts about.

Renault Koleos will also be available in two-wheel drive form for those customers who are drawn by its adventurer, crossover looks but who have no call for all-wheel drive transmission.

The practical, modular crossover

The versatility of Koleos concerns not only its on-road ability but also a comprehensive list of clever features and equipment in the cabin. To assist loading, Renault Koleos comes with a split-opening, 'clamshell'-type tailgate. The upper part of the hatch permits access to the boot in cramped spaces and allows items of more than one metre wide to be carried. When lowered, the bottom part of the tailgate facilitates the loading of long items and serves as a handy seat for two adults (up to 200kg) when the vehicle is parked. Last but not least, Koleos' boot aperture of 1.07m is amongst the widest of its category.

Modular layout

Modularity-enhancing features include the so-called 'easy estate' system which enables the 60/40-split rear benchseat to be folded from the boot thanks to two levers accessible without having to open the rear side doors. With the benchseat in the folded position, the boot floor becomes entirely flat to further facilitate loading. The boot volume of 450dm3 (VDA) with all five seats in the upright position extends to a very generous 1,380dm3 (VDA) once the benchseat has been folded. The available space can also be compartmented thanks to the presence of several hooks which enable the multipurpose retention net to be fixed in a choice of ways. In keeping with Koleos' calling as a vehicle designed for outdoor leisure activities, its rear benchseat is equipped with a ski trap. The back of the front passenger seat can also be folded down to either form a table or permit the transport of items of up to 2.60m in length.

Stowage

There are plenty of cubbies all around the cabin. The dashboard includes a chilled, 15-litre glovebox, while the stowage space in the centre console is equipped with a removable bin. Extra space is provided in a drawer located beneath the front passenger seat, the lower front door bins will take a 500ml bottle and the lidded stowage space incorporated in the armrest is ideal for CDs. Rear passengers benefit from stowage space in the rear part of the centre console, plus two underfoot lidded compartments of five litres each. The rear door bins can house either a 500ml bottle or up to five CDs, while stowage space is available in the rear central armrest, too.

Underfloor stowage in the boot provides a further 28 litres which takes the total stowage capacity of Renault Koleos to a vast 70 litres (VDA). Rear passengers benefit from folding tables complete with cup-holder incorporated in the backs of the front seats.

Latest-generation powertrains

The latest-generation 2.0 dCi Euro 4 diesel engine (M9R) is available in a choice of two power outputs, namely 110kW (150hp) or 127kW (175hp). The engine, which has already been seen on upper-range Renault vehicles, Mégane, Nissan's Qashqai and New X-Trail and Renault Samsung Motors' QM5, features the very latest diesel engine technologies, including piezoelectric injectors, common-rail 1,600bar fuel injection, a water-cooled variable-geometry turbo and a periodic regeneration particulate filter.

The 2.0 dCi engine is available with a broad useful rev band, with peak torque of either 320 or 360Nm (depending on version) available from low engine speeds. The 2.0 dCi 110kW engine can be ordered for either the 4x2 or 4x4 versions and mated with either a sixspeed manual gearbox or automatic transmission. The 127kW version of the 2.0 dCi engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive. The other engine of the Koleos range is a 2.5-litre Euro 4 powerplant (the Nissan TR25) which delivers 126kW (170hp) and torque of 226Nm. Depending on market, it will be available with a manual six-speed gearbox and/or continuously variable transmission (CVT).