The one advantage of the oilburner’s constant rumination is that it serves not to embarrass the Koleos’s rather mediocre chassis. Indeed, the combustive soundtrack of yesteryear chimes rather well with the anachronistic-feeling settings chosen for the car’s suspension. These cause the oversized body to gently loll about under even modest loads.
Broadly speaking, that might have been fine. It’s a constant reminder of the model’s proportions – which large modern crossovers are typically good at concealing; and obvious size and heft can be charming if managed properly, particularly when combined with a indulgent sense of isolation and comfort.
Alas, on standard 19in alloy wheels, the Koleos doesn’t have the cutely damped secondary ride required to make the primary ride seem obliging and organic.
On UK roads, the car takes umbrage at an uneven surface, and even though the wheels are distant enough on the end of their typical spring travel for the ride not to seem overly brittle, the sheer noise produced by each bump is at once considerable and unavoidable. The Koleos thumps its way over broken tarmac, frequently making you hear impacts even when you do not feel them.
Ultimately, this failure to properly shield its occupants from low-level tremor and higher-pitched resonance is to blame for the model’s central failing: an inability to live up to the cosseting refinement levels suggested by not only a crossover of the Koleos’s size and cost but also one that sits virtually at the zenith of a manufacturer’s line-up.
The car’s relative lack of sophistication also undermines the other more worthy facets of the handling: the steering, moderately slow at three turns lock to lock, is well matched to the model’s bulk and the car is wieldy enough at most speeds to take modest advantage of its handling accuracy. Real charm, though, stays in very short supply.
Rather predictably, the Koleos does not prove to be the last word in incision or involvement when subjected to our Hill Route course. No large crossover could claim to be exemplary in the circumstances but, nonetheless, the Renault undershot our hopes and expectations of it.
Mostly, this was because of the uninspiring amount of grip it generates in sharp corners and the languid roll rate that comes with it. Switching between two and four-wheel drive makes only a fractional difference because the power delivery is plainly biased toward the front end even when there’s the option of sending some of it aft.