An adequate performer, but falls short of the competition
4 August 2008

What is it?

In short, confusing. This is the two-wheel drive version of Renault’s SUV, which is described as being ‘for customers who find 4x4 looks appealing but have no need for four-wheel drive.’

It’s also the cheapest model in the Koleos range, which we suspect will be more of an enticement than the slightly awkward looks.

What’s it like?

In many ways it’s very good. The 2.0-litre diesel engine, despite being the lower-powered 150bhp version, offers sufficient urge to make it nippy to 30mph for around-town driving. Even at higher speeds it has enough punch to make overtaking easy, despite the Koleos’s hefty 1649kg kerbweight.

The common-rail unit is also quite refined, and though you get the familiar diesel racket under heavy load, the Koleos’ cabin is generally a peaceful place to be.
Mind you, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing place to be. Many of the materials feel cheap, and without satnav to break up the dashboard, it’s also a very uninspiring interior.

Otherwise the entry-level Dynamique trim comes with plenty of toys, with cruise control, heated door mirrors, auxiliary input, and air-conditioning all included. You’ll want parking sensors, though – the Koleos’ size is difficult to judge thanks to its bulbous dimensions.

Given that the Koleos will almost exclusively find itself in an urban environment, the two-wheel drive option is fit for the purpose. Grip is still plentiful, and you’ll never discover its limits because driving enthusiastically results in such pronounced body-roll that people watching will likely feel sick, let alone those inside the car.

Should I buy one?

If you want a Koleos and you’re not planning on going off road, there is no reason to fork out for the four-wheel drive. This is perfectly adequate, and in this spec is one of the cheapest options in this class.

But in truth the Koleos adds nothing to the SUV segment, and has little to recommend it over the plentiful, and frequently much more enjoyable competition.

Victoria Parrott

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