Does the all-new Koleos drives like its Japanese counterpart? Nope. It’s completely different, Bryan Au finds out…
Platform sharing is not a new thing in the automotive industry, where cars of two different makes – or under a larger parent company – shares a common design in terms of engineering and production efforts, as well as major components. But the one thing that isn’t shared between is their exterior design, where to the untrained eye, these cars look worlds apart.
This is practiced to reduce costs associated of developing new products and these cars are not engineered by simply tapping the ctrl+c (copy) and ctrl+v (paste) keys on the keyboard. Cars with shared platforms will have differences in terms of styling, engine tuning and gear ratios, interior trims, seats, upholstery and the lists goes on, which effectively makes it a completely different car. A good example is the Renault Koleos, which looks completely different than SUV it’s based on.
Renault’s new and upcoming models carry the brand’s new signature C-shape daytime running lamps surrounding its Pure Vision full LED headlights, visually emphasises the Koleos’ bold front-end design making it distinctive and recognisable. The C-Shape daytime running lamps do double duty, as the lower half of the ‘C’ acts as a front signal blinker.
As we go around to its flanks, the other significant difference is its width; the French car 23mm wider and it is longer by 22mm, but shorter by 37mm than its Japanese cousin. It has black plastic trimming, which starts from the front bumper, lower sides and ends at the rear.
At its rump, the Koleos boasts wide taillights, which amplifies its width and draws your attention to the badging in the centre. The lower half features two reflective elements and chrome garnishing with its rear fog lamp located in the middle. More chrome and silver garnishing can be found on its door handles, grille, window garnish, roof rails, and front bumper garnish.
Hopping inside, you will immediately notice that the Koleos is so un-X-trail like. The dashboard is simple and organised made with high quality materials. The controls buttons may be unfamiliar at first, but getting to know how they work is pretty straightforward and easy. The leather steering wheel feels great in your hands and glides ever so graceful against your palm when you let it turn on its own accord. The buttons and toggles are large and tactile allowing you to operate the Koleos’ cruise control and telephony functions with ease.
The vinyl seats in the Koleos feel plush and comfortable with good amounts lateral support. The seat bolsters are large and are able to support persons of small build. The driver gets a power adjustable seat that allows you to adjust height, fore, aft and lumbar. The passenger gets a manually adjustable seat.
Hopping in to the rear, accommodating two adults comfortably with plenty of leg and headroom is something the Koleos does effortlessly. The rear bench seats are deep and do support those at the rear laterally as well. If you do need to sit the threenager safely, then the Koleos do come with ISOFIX anchor points as standard.
Opening the rear tailgate allows wide access into its 542-litre boot space, and folding the rear bench down expands that number up to 1,690 litres.
Moving back to the front, specifically in the middle, is the new R-LINK 2 navigation and multimedia system with voice control and custom home screens will keep everyone at the front entertained. The 8.7-inch capacitive touchscreen is clear be it day or night and is within the driver’s line of sight.
Here, not only you are able to browse your favourite radio channels or album tracks from your USB drive or Bluetooth streaming, finding your way home, adjusting the fan speed on its automatic climate control, you can also switch the 7-inch TFT instrument display with four different instrument design setting to choose from based on your personal preference.
Besides being able to change screens ahead, you can also change the ambient lighting with five different presets; there’s green, red, blue, purple and amber.
Also, the R-Link 2 comes with Driving Eco2, which relays eco-driving data and coaches you to be a smoother driver. Sound reproduction comes from the Koleos’ eight speakers with 3D sound by Arkamys digital sound processing software provides clear and crisp reproduction of your favourite music track, which its audio performance is comparable to mid-range desktop computer speakers.
Pop the clamshell hood open and lo and behold, its 2.5-litre naturally aspirated in-line four-cylinder engine similar to the Nissan’s 2.5-litre lump albeit with a very big but. Yes, same 2,488cc, both make 169hp at 6,000 rpm and slightly lower 226Nm of torque 4,400 rpm. The difference is that the 2.5-litre engine and transmission only needs to run the Koleos’ front wheels.
This means better fuel economy with better performance. As tested, the Koleos did a low 6.1 l/100km on highway, 11.4 l/100km urban and 8.6 l/100km extra urban as rated. With only the front wheels to drive, the Koleos accelerates quickly and gains speed progressively, yet offering agile handling and sure-footedness through the corners. The CVT transmission is seamless without the rubber band effect hindering the driving experience.
The Renault Koleos scores high on value for its generous space and good fuel economy. Also, its easy-to-drive characteristics don’t intimidate the most timid of drivers, and the materials used inside are high and cleverly conjured. In addition, the Koleos’ high seating position allowing the driver to have a commanding view outside which makes it easy to navigate in tight spaces. Should you opt for one, Renault provides 5-years manufacturer’s warranty with 5 years free maintenance for parts and labour available at all 15 authorised Renault service centres nationwide.
It’s comfortable to sit inside, premium atmosphere with high quality materials used, the R-Link 2 multimedia system is fast and unfussy. It’s easy to drive and frugal in fuel consumption.
Price Msia: RM182,800 OTR w/o insurance
Engine: 2,488cc in-line four-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 6.4 l/100km (Tested)
Transmission: X-Tronic CVT Transmission