The first-generation Renault Koleos, launched in 2007, exemplified everything that was wrong with French car manufacturing at the time. With its poor build quality, a Spartan cabin with hard plastics all around, and lacklustre performance, it was not worthy of being at the top of anyone’s shopping list for crossovers. Considering that, the second generation of the French CUV represents a massive leap forward, as affirmed by the fact that it made it into the nominees’ list for the Best Crossover accolade at our Car of the Year 2017 awards, along with the Ford Edge and the Volkswagen Tiguan.

This upsurge in quality is thanks to a combination of factors, including the solid Common Module Family platform that it shares with the third-generation Nissan X-Trail. Although the underpinnings are shared, there has been some genuine efforts to distinguish the Koleos stylistically from its Japanese cousin. The design team led by ex-Volvo design chief Laurens van den Acker has managed to infuse plenty of flair into the Koleos lines. From the new signature grille with the large Renault badge and LED headlights with daytime running lights to the striking taillight clusters stretching all the way to the centre of the tailgate, the Koleos oozes an upmarket feel that neither the Nissan nor any other CUV in the French brand’s lineup possesses.

The same goes for the cabin design, which is very similar to the Talisman saloon’s. The dashboard is evidently inspired by Volvo’s new layout, with the 8.7in infotainment screen and AC vents being vertically oriented like in the Swedish brand’s latest models. Cabin is spacious, so is the luggage area.

The Koleos is going to be with us for the next two months, so we’ll go into detail about all these attributes as well as the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-pot’s performance in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to this segment.