Am I right in thinking that this is essentially a Nissan X-Trail with a Renault badge on it?
You’re not too far off. While the new Koleos is based on the X-Trail, it differs in one important area for a family car — it’s not available in seven-seater guise. This may seem a risky move but the extra seats on the Nissan are fit only for children. The Koleos, as a result of missing couple of pews, feels positively humungous inside. It has loads of rear knee room and headroom all round, plus a large 550-litre boot, including under-floor storage. So it’s a practical family hauler.
Do we get a choice of engines?
Unfortunately not. In the Middle East the Koleos will only be available with a 2.5-litre petrol engine sending 170bhp to all four corners via a CVT gearbox. It’s not exactly rapid, but it does have reasonable towing capacity. In fact, it only gets an extra 7Nm of torque although weight’s been cut by 50kg.
Does it drive well at least?
The driving experience is competitive and body control is superb with precise steering. Even though Renault’s Xtronic CVT, given Nissan’s obsession with these things, is better than other CVT units on the market, at the end of the day it’s still a CVT. That’s tantamount to saying that Diphtheria is a better disease than Ebola. It’s still sluggish and best suited for relaxed motoring. The ride quality is great however.
It looks alright, doesn’t it?
It’s a strong design effort and, while design is a subjective matter, the Koleos does look inventive and distinctive. Clamber aboard and you’re met with the improved corporate interior of Renault, dominated by the 8.7in portrait R-Link 2 infotainment screen in the centre of the dash and the lovely TFT instrument cluster, although annoyingly the 7.0in main screen here is flanked by two old-fashioned analogue dials.
How much will it cost?
Although Renault refused to reveal the price ahead of the Koleos’s October launch in the Middle East, we’re guessing it should start at the Dh80,000 mark. This means it will be competitively priced compared to its rivals such as the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.