Interestingly, Renault is not offering a seven-seat version of the Koleos, unlike competitor the Kodiaq, for example. Renault’s UK boss Vincent Tourette points to the Grand Scenic as an answer to those families needing a seven-seater, and considers it a key differentiator that maintains the MPV’s relevance in a marketplace so heavily skewed to SUVs.
To drive, the Koleos is a friendly beast. The power is more than enough at motorway speeds, and the 172bhp diesel is a decent engine that will easily haul a fully laden Koleos on long motorway slogs. There is also adequate low-end torque.
Hearing the initialism CVT injects fear into any respectable motoring journalist because, quite frankly, most of these gearboxes are appalling. Renault insists this is an advanced CVT that uses a step system to mimic a sequential gearbox. To some extent, that’s true; it’s infinitely better than most CVTs. It struggled most when gaining ground quickly in first and second gears, inducing a unpleasant growl from the engine.
The suspension is built for comfort rather than dynamism, while handling is stable and predictable. If you’re looking for more direct steering or agility, the Skoda Kodiaq is a better bet, though the compromise there is ride quality, which isn’t as soft as the Koleos.
We also had the chance to cover some off-road ground in the Koleos in 4WD Lock mode, which permanently engages four-wheel drive at speeds of less than 25mph and distributes torque 50/50 to the front and rear. There is also 210mm ground clearance. Admittedly, we weren’t tackling gargantuan swamps but, on a torrid day of rain, the car held its ground well, not least on a hairy hill start that, at least from the driver’s seat, seemed about 45 degrees.