The Renault Koleos is one of those vehicles that seems to have always been there and just about turned the process of evolution without revolution into an art form, each iteration adding, refining and improving.
The latest rendition of the Koleos sees a number of these tweaks added and the Dynamique version I had on test moves it into the higher end of the equipment range with features such as interior ambient lighting and cooled cup holders.
The 7-inch digital dash cluster is highly customisable and reverse camera and sensor comes as standard across the range while the Dynamique adds a hands-free key card that can activate the Pure Vision LED headlights along with the see-me-home function.
The Pure Vision lights provide 20% more efficiency and come with lifetime bulbs. Associated with these lights are the fog lights, which are also cornering. They activate with the steering wheel or indicators, providing a wider field of light onto the shoulder of road at night – hugely useful considering the ragged state of many of our road edges.
A new, reinforced structure earned Koleos a maximum score of 5 in NCAP tests but this does not compromise the space in the vehicle that features wide opening doors for easy access along with 34 litres of cabin storage space and the rear seats fold down from within the 464-litre boot to both increase luggage room and to make packing easier.
The tailgate is also motorised and opens or closes in five seconds. An electronic parking brake now replaces the manual footbrake and will automatically and gradually release according to the engine torque or a change in elevation.
The diamond trademark front piece is bold and prominently positioned on the new chrome grille providing the vehicle with an elegant look. Bumpers and side mouldings are body-coloured, door mirror housings are equipped with LED indicators while the chrome finish of the side protective strips also adds a touch of distinguished elegance.
Redesigned two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels partnered with 225/60 R 17 99H tyres keep the vehicle grounded – however, despite its 4×4 ability, this is still more of a soft-roader than donga-diver.
The interior cabin has benefitted from charcoal leather upholstery, heated front seats and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. Top-of-the-range fitments and features include leather steering wheel and gear knob, satin chrome door handles, power windows throughout, Renault keycard and remote central locking.
For driver and passenger comfort and convenience, the features include electronic park brake, Hill Start Assist, power steering, cruise control and speed limiter, dual zone air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and rain and light sensors.
New Renault Koleos is equipped with Renault’s in-dash R-Link navigation and media system. R-Link comprises a 7-inch touchscreen display, steering wheel-mounted remote controls and console-mounted joystick.
It features real time traffic optimisation and high definition maps while packing all the expected multimedia functions – from radio to Bluetooth while USB and auxiliary connection points are also found within the centre console.
Its high ground clearance of 206 mm and excellent approach and departure angles are complemented on 4×4 versions, by an all-wheel drive system with three driver-selected modes (Auto, 4×4 LOCK or 2WD), plus Hill Descent Control (HDC).
Safety is ensured thanks to standard anti-lock braking with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and ESP stability control.
Dual front, side and full-length curtain crash bags as well as load limiters for the front and outer rear seatbelts, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, Isofix child seat anchorage points and whiplash-protecting head restraints in the event of a rear impact are standard.
The 2,5-litre inline four cyclinder petrol engine produces 126 kW at 6 000 r/min and 233 Nm of troque at 4 000 r/min with average fuel consumption in the mid-eights for a tank range around 700 kilometres.
At R564 900 it is the most expensive of what would be its most direct competition, namely the Nissan X-Trail 2.5 4×4 Acenta, the Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Trendline and the Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort, but it does have the odd feature here and there not present in one or more of the others.
For the daily commute or for getting out of town and spending time on the road seeing new places, the Koleos provides all the right levels of comfort, economy and driveability.
As mentioned, it is not intended as a hard-core offroader, but its ability well surpasses its likely usage so it is more than capable of taking many of the roads less travelled.
On the road it feels comfortably settled with minimal body lean through corners and decent anough manners in two or four-wheel drive mode on unpaved roads.
As is the case across Renault’s entire product range, the Koleos SUV comes with Renault’s 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty, plus a 5-year/100 000 km service plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.