An Athletic Profile, Robust Front End, Roomy Seats, Taut Lines, its KOLEOS.

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An athletic profile, robust front end, roomy seats, taut lines underscored with chrome, C-Shape LED Daytime Running Lights… New Renault Koleos captures everyone’s attention. Take a seat on board this crossover with an assertive design and roam with confidence. The Renault Koleos is a step forward in quality for the brand.  This is the all-new Renault Koleos, a name you might remember from when the French carmaker tried his hands at crossover before they became truly fashionable. That one was pulled from sale in the UK back in 2010 due to slow sales however; the fact is it was bit rubbish.

Renault hopes that this larger model further boosts its fortunes. When that is simply said than done, one of the first hurdles that the Koleos faces is the five-seat only configuration. Most of its rivals, such as the Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento, offer seven seats, so Renault appears to be limiting its audience. Of course, because of its lack of seats, it has plenty of space. There’s enough rear passenger room to make Skoda look twice, and Renault is strengthening its hand by offering good levels of standard equipment, too, adding to the luxury of that space.

The styling is similar to that of the Renault Megane, unsurprisingly. The front of the Koleos features large C-shaped LED daytime running lights that define its ‘face’, while higher grade Signature Nav models get full LED headlights that look high-tech. Chrome detailing runs back along the front wing and into the front doors, while the side window surrounds and door handles get a similar chrome treatment. All this adds up to impressive presence from any angle, as it rides on either 18- or 19-inch alloy. More practical features like doors that fully cover the sills and an optional electric rear hatch that can be opened by waving your foot underneath notch up brownie points for the Koleos. Both the front and rear doors open to generous angles, too, which parents grappling with their offspring while trying to get them into car seats in the back will be glad of.

Many will be satisfied with the performance offering of the front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre diesel. Its 128bhp should be plenty to cope with everyday life, but there is a more powerful 2.0-litre diesel available at a £2,900 premium. As well as more power (174bhp) this gets all-wheel drive, plus the option to replace the standard six-speed manual gearbox with a seven-speed automatic. Base models are powered by the same 128bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre diesel that features in several other cars across the range. Mated to a six-speed manual, this drives only the front wheels and the gear shift is positive and solid in feel. The  236lb ft of torque, it has enough low-down grunt to pick up speed quicker than the official 11.4sec run to 62mph would suggest. Refinement is acceptable rather than outstanding, though at a cruise there is little in the way of noise from the engine.

The steering is direct for a car of this size, and despite its height, the Koleos doesn’t tend to roll around when you tentatively point it in the direction of a few interesting bends. And yet it’s not overly firm, either; in fact, it’s quite good at soaking up the bumps.

Interior is superb and the first thing you’ll notice when you sit inside the new Koleos is how roomy it seems. Pull the door shut, take note of the neat finger indents on the inside of the armrest’s door pull, and find yourself in an impressively comfortable driving seat. It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position, all around the cabin are materials that look and feel better than we’re used to seeing in recent Renault cars. The dashboard is very upright with grab handles on either side of the centre console, while trim panels across the passenger side fascia are echoed in the door panels, and there’s a healthy amount of cross stitching and leather, too.

Deep door bins and a seven-litre cubby beneath the centre armrest provide plenty of storage, and Renault reckons there’s a total of 35 litres of oddments space in the cabin alone. Further back, the boot has a useful 579 litres of space, which can be increased to 1,795 litres thanks to the 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs. The boot’s load height is a little high, but it has a flat floor, so there’s no lip to get bulky items over.

Rear passenger space is one of the Renault’s trump cards, and it features both head- and legroom that is easily among the best in the segment. The two outer seats have ISOFIX points and are every bit as comfortable as the front chairs. Even the middle rear seat isn’t too limited by what is only a small transmission tunnel.

In  my conclusion am sure that some will see the lack of a seven-seat option as a problem, but Renault’s decision to stick to a five-seat format means luggage and passenger space are very impressive indeed. Passenger comfort ranks among the best in the segment, which is helped by a tangible enhancement of the interior ambience by the French company.  Am sure many will fall in love with the koleos and will give the competitors a big run for their money. Enjoy your drive.

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