The French auto giant has ever-so-slightly updated their flagship SUV
Last year, we were fortunate enough to experience the latest version of the Renault Koleos, and came away in love with its driving comfort, spaciousness, road presence, and stunning good looks. It seems quite soon for Renault to facelift their biggest SUV, but they are merely bringing its overall design more into line with other fresher offerings, retaining the latest Renault design language across their line-up.
The Koleos already sported a distinctive and bold face; but Renault has decided to make it further distinguishable from the chasing D-segment pack. Up front, it gets an even more pronounced grille, with lots of chrome accents, including the chrome-underlined fog lights. There is also a new skid plate, which is said to further accentuate the Koleos’ adventurous attributes. Updates to the rear are equally subtle, with the lower valance of the rear bumper scoring a redesign. There are also new 18-inch wheel designs on offer, whilst exterior hues include Solid White, Ultra Silver, Dune Beige, Titanium Grey, Metallic Black, and our favorite, Cosmo Blue.
The interior gets some equally minor updates, most notably the satin chrome trim inserts on the steering wheel, air vents, and gear lever. Its tech and safety updates are worthy of mention though, as the Koleos now boasts Blind Spot Warning, 360 Park Assist, along with other driver-assistance systems. The touchscreen infotainment system now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Interestingly, the two variants feature different positioning of the R-LINK 2 Sat Nav and Multimedia infotainment system – the Expression comes with a more conventional 17.8cm horizontal screen, while the Dynamique gets a 22cm vertical screen. Koleos also features a voice recognition system that can be activated from the steering wheel in order to manage sat nav, phone calls, apps, e-mails and radio.
Our initial reactions to the Koleos’ CVT were not favourable. However, the longer we spent with it, the more we found a rhythm of how to drive it, and limit the traditional CVT whine. This is because unlike other CVT transmissions, the Koleos’ X-Tronic transmission performs more like a multi-ratio automatic whenever the driver needs to accelerate quickly. Thanks to its variable ratios, X-Tronic transmission proposes an infinite number of gears to ensure that engine revs and load are constantly optimized for efficient fuel consumption and low noise levels. The driver also has the option to select a seven-speed sequential mode to benefit from engine braking.
At the end of our extended test, we applauded the Koleos for its impressive frugality (Renault claim average fuel economy of 8.8L/100kms), whilst performance was adequate for a vehicle of this size. With the facelift, its powertrain reminds unchanged. It once again utilizes a Nissan X-Trail-sourced 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol motor that outputs 126kw and 233nm.
The new Koleos is available in three derivatives, but two trim levels – Expression and Dynamique. Standard equipment in the Expression variant includes dual-zone climate control, six airbags, ESC stability control, and rear ventilation. The Dynamique model however, gains electrically adjustable leather seats, keyless start, a tyre pressure monitor, blind spot warning, and a power tailgate. The Expression variant is only available in a 4x2, whilst the Dynamique model, is available as either a 4x2 or a 4x4. So highly specced is the Koleos, that the only optional extras are metallic paint, which carries an additional cost of R2 522, and adjustable leather seats, which adds R12 000 to the price of the entry-level Expression model.
Pricing for the new Koleos is as follows:
Expression 2.5 CVT 4x2 - R424 900
Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4x2 - R474 900
Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4x4 - R514 900
All Koleos models are sold with a five-year/150 000km warranty, a five-year/90 000km service plan, and a 6-year anticorrosion warranty, with service intervals at 15 000km.