Probably the most notable issue with the top-spec Koleos’s performance is not the rate of progress but rather Renault’s failure to isolate the car’s occupants from the mechanical repercussions of it.

True, we’ve come to expect a certain amount of tranquillity from tall crossovers – a consequence of them aping the look and dynamic mannerisms of luxury SUVs and, for the most part, mainstream manufacturers have risen to the challenge of hushing up the four-cylinder diesel engines that invariably appear under the bonnet.

Tighter corners are made faintly neater with the 4WD mode switched on, but really it’s the stability control that does the heavy lifting

Not so in the Koleos’s case, where rolling refinement issues are plentiful in supply and centre on an apparent disregard for the sort of sound deadening normally applied with relish in other South Korean car factories.

As a result, the uncontained rumble of the 2.0-litre unit rolls back through the cabin like jungle noises heard from a tree house. The car exacerbates its boisterous oil-burning soundtrack with a brooding, old-fashioned brand of delivery.

This is less immediately the fault of the engine than it is the optional CVT gearbox, which chooses to meet practically every throttle request with half a second of bandy negotiation before making any real headway.

This stifles performance not only away from the line, but also at walking pace when you’re doing something trifling like suddenly joining a roundabout. And once the driveline does achieve some consistency, the progress you end up with is only workmanlike.

Somewhere in the mid-range, for a fleeting 1000rpm, there’s 280lb ft available and, inevitably, this is where the engine does the majority of its meaningful exertion.

Its sub-10sec 0-60mph time is respectable enough in the segment (the more powerful Ford Edge we tested fared no better) but there’s rarely any suggestion that the Koleos is going to confidently overtake the car in front without a significant run-up – or without the driver tugging on a gear paddle to wake up the transmission. 


Top 5 Family SUVs


Find an Autocar review

Find an Autocar car review