Into its third week in the wheels garage and I’m quite liking the Koleos. For a mid-size SUV with a starting price of Dh74,900 and Dh96,900 for the fully loaded top-spec variant, the Koleos is a pretty comfortable and practical vehicle. Although it shares a platform with the Nissan X-Trail, which is available in five and seven-seat configurations, the Koleos is sold here strictly as a five-seater. So whichever trim you buy, you will get a remarkably spacious cabin that feels roomier than pricier offerings from its Japanese and Korean rivals. Knee room at the back is substantial, while front and rear occupants also benefit from generous headroom. The driving position, which is 150mm higher than before, is also more SUV-ish than what’s on offer from many of its competitors. And one very useful feature in our long-termer is the cooled seats.
The dashboard is also well laid out with a clean and minimalist look that seems to have been inspired by current Volvo models, not surprising as Renault’s current design chief Laurens van den Acker previously worked with the Swedish brand, albeit for a short time. Although pleasing to the eye, there are a few ergonomic flaws in the way controls for various functions are assigned. One such is the control for the air conditioner’s blower. There is no physical button or knob on the centre console to regulate the strength of the fan. This has to be done via the touchscreen at the centre of the dashboard. For one of the most oft-used functions of the car — especially in this climate — it’s a silly oversight that can distract drivers trying to adjust the fan’s intensity.
Another odd one is the placement of the infotainment volume buttons. Instead of the usual position on the multifunctional steering wheel, the volume buttons are hidden behind the steering in a separate stalk. For someone just getting used to the car, adjusting the volume via these buttons could prove awkward. But once you manage to get around these, you’ll notice the AC stands up to the challenging weather pretty impressively and that the Bose sound system is also quite good.
In its latest iteration, Renault’s mid-size SUV is a vast improvement on its predecessors. It even ran the Ford Edge and VW Tiguan close in this year’s wheels CotY. It joins us for two months.
Highs: Huge improvement over its predecessors
Lows: None this week
The Koleos impresses with its comfortable ride quality and decent handling. The cooled cup holder is a cool feature, but don’t leave your hot coffee or mobile phone in there.
Highs: Comfortable ride quality, decent dynamics
Lows: Cooled cup holder not coffee-friendly