There is a huge difference in what a potential buyer and an automotive designer sees when looking at the profile of the same vehicle. While it all may come down to subjective interpretation, the truth is very often that potential buyer has a hard time distinguishing between the new generation and the pre-refresh versions.
Indeed, having had the – then – latest iteration of the Renault Koleos in April and just recently received the refreshed version, I struggled to see as much difference between the two as the Renault designers and refer to the comments made by the Senior Vice-President of Corporate Design, Laurens van den Acker: “New Koleos completes the styling renaissance of the Renault range that began with Clio in 2012. As a designer, the challenge was to imagine an SUV that was not only elegant, but also dynamic and modern.
“To achieve this, instead of diluting the traits traditionally associated with SUVs, we accentuated the segment’s familiar cues thanks to taut, powerful, horizontal lines, along with muscular haunches and high ground clearance. New Koleos subsequently exudes an inner strength. It is every inch an SUV and every inch a Renault.”
Indeed, I had to look quite hard to really pick up on themore pronounced front grille with chrome insets, extending to the chrome-underlined fog lamps. In the lower part, the bumper has a new and more impressive skid plate.
The Koleos retains distinctive features such as its chrome trim extending horizontally down the whole wing, making the front-end appear longer. The front and rear lights of the Koleos replicate the full LED lighting signature, that is now part of the new Renault design language. The C-shaped Daytime Running Lights extend beyond the headlight units themselves to create an even more forceful gaze.
Dependent on the version – the test unit being the 2.5 Dynamique 4×2 – it is available with Pure Vision Full LED main- and dipped- beam lights. For significantly enhanced night-time visibility, this technology provides a beam 20% more powerful than that of halogen headlights.
And, considering the parlous state of many of our roads, this lighting boosts comes in more as a ‘must have’ than an optional extra.
The permanently-lit tail lights feature Edge Light technology that generates a clear, bright 3D effect visible both close up and from a distance.
The rear of the New Koleos has also been redesigned, with a skid plate extending higher on the bumper and transverse chrome insets in synergy with the front end. The third stop lamp has been extended while the twin chrome exhaust pipes have been retained for a sporty touch.
Inside the Koleos is generously proportioned and roomy and the driving position ensures excellent viewing to spot those potholes before they swallow you whole. In terms of pure aesthetics, the Koleos now features a stylish satin-finish chrome for the steering wheel inserts, gear lever and air vent surrounds, along with a pleasant-to-the-touch finish for the centre console. The interior also features cushion-backed materials for the dashboard and door panels.
On the side of thoughtful, the design of the doors protects the sills from soiling and protects passengers clothing from getting dirty when entering or exiting the car.
The 464-litre boot has a convenient removable floor positioned at the same height as the sill to form a flat floor that houses a full-size spare wheel. Handles located in the boot enable the Easy Break system, allowing the 60/40-split rear bench to be folded instantly to free up a carrying capacity of 1 795 litres.
Motive power comes from a 2,5-litre petrol engine with a power output of 126 kW, 233 Nm of Torque, CO2 emissions of 188 g/100 km and fuel consumption from 8,8 l/100 km.
It drives through a X-Tronic CVT gearbox that remains mercifully muted under hard acceleration and is fairly quick to make its final gear selection for the moment, but is a bit slow in making the downshifts and tends to over-rev when building back up to the selected speed on cruise control.
Still, it cruises serenely along and the long-haul is achieved in comfort with a good deal of silence from road, tyre and suspension noise. The short game is equally comfortable with the bonus of really wide opening doors to make ingress and egress a lot easier.
In general, it handles predictably with some front-end push when pressed into a corner but, with the full array of safety equipment including traction control, it will quickly recover from minor over-enthusiastic twirling of the steering.
Peace of mind comes with a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty plus, a 5-year/ 90 000 km service plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty, with service intervals at 15 000 km.