– By Rod Fuller –
The mid-size SUV segment is a hotly contested part of the new car market, with many manufacturers competing for business in both the retail and novated lease arenas.
Renault’s offering in this space is the Koleos starting at around $30K for the 2WD Life model up to the $45K mark for the top of the line AWD Intens with all the trimmings. And it is this model, the Intens that makes the most compelling case to hand over your hard earned to Renault, rather than its competitors.
The Koleos Intens has all the bells and whistles that you could desire, with high quality Bose sound system (that sounds fantastic), leather seats (heated and cooled in the front), panoramic sunroof, dual zone climate control, reverse camera, USB/12V outlets front and rear, power operated tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, and not to mention at the touch of a button it will park itself!
But wait, there’s more! The Intens features Advanced Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning systems, warning the driver whilst preparing to stop, as well as actually braking the car to avoid collision. There is also Blind Spot Warnings and Lane Departure Warnings (LDW actually buzzes a sound through the stereo on the left or right side depending which way you are wandering – clever) to keep you on the straight and narrow, tyre pressure monitors plus cruise control and interestingly a speed limiter.
I thought, why do you need a speed limiter in a road car? It’s not as though you are blasting into the pits at Bathurst for a quick pit stop that might win the race. But then it dawned on me – school zones. So I tested it with the boys in blue watching me, and with the limiter set to 40kmh, they didn’t even bat an eyelid at me. Brilliant.
The Koleos Intens is a joy to drive, whether popping down the street for a latte or racking up the km’s in the bush, it’s just comfortable. There’s plenty of head and leg room for passengers front and back, as well as ample power (126kw and 226nm from the 4 cylinder 2.5l 16V petrol engine) on tap delivered smoothly through the 7 speed CVT ‘X-Tronic’ transmission.
Now I must admit that I wasn’t a fan of CVT’s as for the most part they make cars sound like vacuum cleaners, but I will say that this CVT certainly does the job and does it well. When its time to go (overtaking, hard acceleration) this CVT maximises the available torque from the engine to get you up to speed and quickly. Renault advises fuel economy at 8.3lt/100km combined, which was pretty close to the mark with the car I had averaging 9.0lt/100km.
Ride quality and responsiveness is good, with the Intens riding on 18 inch wheels with 225/60R18 Nexen tyres. A full size steel wheel with 225/65R17 Kumho tyre is provided for the spare.
Tech stuff abounds inside, with a large 8.7 inch ‘portrait’ style touchscreen to control all audio/phone/sat nav/dual zone climate control functions and reverse camera dominating the centre of the dashboard. It’s simple to operate and the R-Link system will connect your phone via Bluetooth to the car. R-Link also features voice control for all the functions on the touchscreen and what’s more it works.
Many times I have found myself almost in an argument with voice control systems in cars, ringing the wrong person, the sat nav unable or unwilling to locate the address and the nightmare it can be trying to voice reply to a text – it can be all so frustrating.
Well not with R-Link. The R-Link system in the Koleos works incredibly well. It is simple to pair your phone to, simple to operate and many people I spoke to on the phone while using R-Link, commented on how clear and easy to hear me it was.
Renault offers a five year unlimited km warranty with five years roadside assist, three years capped price servicing at $299 per service and service intervals of up to 30,000km. The Koleos Intens really represents exceptional value over the life of the car.
Koleos’s styling is a delight and is beautifully proportioned and refined for a SUV. Reminding you that this is a quality European vehicle.
And I wasn’t the only one to think so. I was surprised when doing the photos of the car for this article, at the number of people that came up to me to comment on what an attractive vehicle it is.And that says it all, the Koleos is like royalty in the mid-sized SUV world, attractive, stylish, practical and represents overall fantastic value for money. Therefore I dub thee, King Koleos.