2014 Renault Koleos Test Drive Review
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2014 Renault Koleos Review

Car Tested: 2014 Renault Koleos Diesel 4×4 AT

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 30,77,345/-

The Renault Koleos is a well dressed SUV, which now gets more power and equipment.

What comes across your mind when we say Renault? For most of us Indians, it’s the Duster indeed. It was launched in mid-2012, which was the perfect time for Renault to cash in on the big opportunity of increasing SUV demand. Now that Indian buyers are aware of the Renault badge, the French carmaker wants to push their premium offerings and has updated the Renault Koleos that was first launched in 2011 in a segment which is a tough nut to crack. We tested the Renault Fluence alongside the Renault Koleos on our Ooty-Bangalore drive and were thoroughly impressed by the sedan. Now let’s examine whether the premium SUV is worth that moolah or not.

Motor Quest: The Renault Koleos was first introduced in 2008 in the international market and has been updated in terms of mechanicals and styling since then. The design is derived from the Renault Egeus concept car. The Koleos was launched in India in 2011 and the facelifted model was revealed at the 2014 Auto Expo.

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The Renault Koleos has well balanced proportions that makes it look neat

Exteriors – The styling changes on the 2014 Rrenault Koleos aren’t as drastic as on the updated Renault Fluence. The front bumper gets tweaked to support the new wider grille, which now connects the headlamps and gets three slats of chrome as a premium touch. The Renault logo grows bigger for a pronounced brand identity. The side profile is updated with a new pattern of alloy wheels and now you get two options of different patterns. The ones on our test car look extremely sporty and attractive. The side protector cladding features additional line of chrome at the bottom end. Rear profile remains untouched. You get a new Maple Red colour with the updated model, which looks quite energetic in flesh. All in all, the Koleos looks neat and has balanced proportions but doesn’t have those bulky and huge dimensions, which Indian buyers prefer.

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The dashboard styling looks simple but cabin feels roomy

Interiors – Ingress is quite comfortable in the Renault Koleos, you don’t have to climb inside the cabin. Once you are inside, you get the feeling of sitting inside a usual car, there’s no special treatment on the interiors that lures you. There are some premium touches though and the quality feels solid but at this price range, one has high expectations. The dashboard has a basic layout but the dual tone treatment of beige and dark grey always work. There is a sheltered section of screen on top of the dashboard, which could have done with a bigger size of display. Then there are the effective circular AC vents with dual zone climate control system that work flawlessly.

2014 Renault Koleos Steering2014 Renault Koleos BOSE

The cabin offers good ergonomics and the BOSE audio system generates fantastic acoustics

The centre console looks a bit cluttered with buttons but if you look closely, those buttons and knobs are quite convenient to use. The AC climate control knobs have Range Rover like nifty digital display. The multimedia console is easy to use and pairing up Bluetooth is simple. It also comes with CD player, AUX and USB connectivity and the BOSE audio system just churns out mind blowing quality of music (5 speakers, subwoofer, amplifier, 2 tweeters). The bass is tight and the acoustics are crystal clear. Go further down the centre console and you will find a lighter, Hill Descent Control switch, 4WD mode switch, cruise control button, start/stop button and a convenient slot to place the key card.

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The rear seats are supportive but legroom could be better, convenient foldable trays offered

The steering wheel of the Renault Koleos is compact and feels good to hold. The cruise control buttons are placed on the wheel, while the media controls are mounted on the column, behind the wheel. The instrument console is rather basic. It has the regular analogue pods and is easy to read. The MID shows the necessary trip information and fuel average, current mileage, fuel range and so on. The footwell is wide and comfortable, featuring a dead pedal. The glovebox is huge and ample amount of bottle holders and stowage spaces are provided for convenience. The previous model came with electrically adjustable driver seat, now both the driver and front passenger seats are electrically adjustable.

2014 Renault Koleos Storage2014 Renault Koleos Boot

Storage space for knick knacks are ample and the split gate boot is very convenient to use

The seats all around are supportive and well padded. The second row of seats can accommodate a middle passenger, as the floor hump is small and the seats are wide. Legroom is adequate but not the best in the segment. The rear passengers also get foldable tray tables attached behind the front seats and B-pillar attached AC vents. We also found a concealed storage space underneath the mats of the second row. There is an electrically operated split gate that opens wide to a large 450-litre of storage space, which has an easy access. Some of the key features include smart key access with push button start/stop, auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers and so on.

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The 2.0-litre diesel engine has immense twisting force but has initial turbolag as well

Performance – Powering the Renault Koleos is the same 2.0-litre dCi diesel unit but with increased power output of 23 PS and torque of 40 Nm, which makes it a total of 173 PS of power at a lower 3750 RPM and 360 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM. This oil burner generates tremendous twisting force and is quite powerful. However, one needs to understand the sweet spots where the response is strong. There is deep turbolag initially until 2000 RPM, post which the immense grunt can be felt at the mid range that continues to pull till the top range, where power doesn’t fade much. Refinement levels are impressive and the motor spins till its 5000 RPM redline as smooth as silk.

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The oil burner is refined and climbs up RPM in a smooth manner

The 2.0-litre diesel is coupled with an option of a 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic. Our test car came with a 6-speed automatic transmission and it is a rather drowsy gearbox. This automatic unit doesn’t let you enjoy the entire rev range and has a mind of its own, so you have to be careful with your throttle input so that it shifts in time. The downshifts are laggy and coupled with the initial turbolag, driving in traffic and climbing steep hills is a struggle. To extract the most of this engine, shift to the manual mode so you can keep the engine spinning in the mid range for immediate highway overtaking and pottering around town.

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The All-Wheel Drive system works flawlessly on the Renault Koleos

At 100 km/hr in 6th gear, the engine feels relaxed at 1900 RPM. The Renault Koleos takes 11.9 seconds to reach 0-100 km/hr and returns a claimed fuel mileage of 14.56 km/l (improved over the previous model) but you can expect an overall mileage of 10 km/l in real world conditions. We got a chance to take the Koleos off the road and surprisingly it was quite capable. It has a differential lock and an automatic 4WD system that detects traction loss and switches from 2WD to 4WD. The ground clearance was enough to tackle our mild off-road session. The Renault Koleos was only available with 4×4 AT on the previous version but the updated model also comes with 4×4 MT (which is more fun and responsive) and 4×2 MT.

2014 Renault Koleos Test Drive
The Renault Koleos offers stellar ride quality and comfort on our roads

Driving Dynamics – Renault has managed to provide a sweet balance of ride and handling with the Koleos. It feels a bit stiffly sprung than the Duster at slow speeds but the ride flattens out as the speed increases. It takes the undulations maturely and even big potholes just penetrate mild thuds. We had tested the Koleos through the sharp hair-pins of Ooty and were quite impressed with the controlled body roll. The handling is lively and the line in which the car turns is predictable. Out on the highway, the Koleos remains glued to the tarmac with confident stability at high speeds.

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Predictable handling with minimal body roll but steering is feather light at slow speeds

Electronic Stability Program (ESP) was not available on the outgoing Koleos. The new Koleos has it and now you can push the SUV to its limits without worrying about losing control. The steering wheel of today’s day and age gives the feedback you need. It is light initially and weighs up neatly when speed increases. However, while negotiating hairpins you need to slow down and the steering gets light, so while turning in you have to hold it tight. Braking performance is remarkable. The Koleos weighs 1794 kgs and it sheds speed easily with a positive brake pedal feel.

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The Renault Koleos is safe as a rock with five star EURO NCAP rating

Safety – Euro NCAP has crash tested the Renault Koleos and the SUV has scored an impressive five star rating in the assessment programme. The safety features offered in the Renault Koleos include Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Hill-Start Assist (HSA), Hill-Descent Control (HDC), ABS, EBD and six airbags. Sadly, only two airbags are offered on the basic 4×2 version of the Koleos and even ESP, HSA and HDC is missing.

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The Koleos has compact dimensions, which many buyers don’t prefer at this price point

Verdict – The Renault Koleos is a smart SUV in terms of styling, equipment, safety and proportions. It has decent off-road capabilities and the mature dynamics makes it a driver friendly SUV. The 2.0-litre oil-burner is a potent unit but the lethargic automatic transmission is a letdown and its best enjoyed with a manual gearbox. Considering the competition it has to face, Indian buyers expect more space, bigger dimensions and plush interiors. If that’s not the case then buyers nowadays seek for a premium shiny German badge, which is easily available at this price point. However, if you are one of those buyers who doesn’t care about the aforementioned aspects, the Renault Koleos is worth considering.

The Koleos has been a slow seller for Renault but it manages decent sales in China. With the 2014 model, Renault expects more takers of the Koleos in India with more power output and added list of equipment.

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It has ample ground clearance for occasional off-road fun

What’s Cool

* Updated Styling
* Mature Dynamics
* Safety

What’s Not So Cool

* Price
* Lethargic Automatic Gearbox

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The Koleos hits the territory of premium luxury brands with its hefty price tag

2014 Renault Koleos Specifications

* Engine: 1995cc, 4-cylinder
* Power: 173 PS @ 3750 RPM
* Torque: 360 Nm @ 2000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed automatic
* Fuel Consumption: 10 km/l (City), 12 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Multi-Arm (Rear)
* Tyres: 225/60/17
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Solid Disc (Rear)
* Safety: Immobilizer, 6 Airbags, ABS, EBD, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control, Hill-Start Assist, Hill-Descent Control,

2014 Renault Koleos Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4520 mm X 2120 mm X 1710 mm
* Wheelbase: 2690 mm
* Ground clearance: 206 mm
* Boot Volume: 450 litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 65 litres
* Turning Radius: 5.8 m