In an ever-changing market where innovation is the name of the game, normally what remains static is what stands out the most. Nevertheless, there are advantages and disadvantages with this approach, which means that finding a proper balance is a key factor for a product like this to be a success. The Renault Koleos took us on a trip through memory lane, and even though this family friendly SUV had some advantages, it didn’t make us feel quite as nostalgic as we would have liked.

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The rims in the Renault Koleos have a minimalistic and really attractive look

In the Driving Seat

The first impression we had was that this was a big and spacious SUV. Right away, it feels like a perfect car for a family, ideal to take children on a road trip. Once inside, we confirmed that indeed there was space for everything, and the seats were comfortable enough to spend a few hours driving around. However, that is as far as the seats can go in terms of functionality. They remain manual, which is kind of a problem due to their size and weight, and while the seats in the back are really comfortable, the ones in the front could use a bit of extra support. One of the best features of the Koleos is its fully collapsible back seats, which really do offer a lot of extra space, the problem is that this is somewhat difficult to accomplish.

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The seats in the Koleos are quite comfortable, promising an enjoyable ride

We were also a bit disappointed to see that the Koleos has kept its same design without anything innovative. Nowadays, most cars do not need a key and even though Renault was one of the firsts to introduce the key card, it has refused to move on to the next step. The controls look a bit messy, which does not match the clean image you might have of the car. There is a bit of an update with a new joystick, but it does not change much from its static design. Nevertheless, in terms of visibility the Renault is excellent, and its rear-view camera is one of the best we have tested so far.

Ride and Performance

Even with its size, the Koleos is quite easy to handle, especially in the city. Its brakes are surprisingly well responsive, although a little bit aggressive, and its suspension is amazing, always stable and well balanced. Furthermore, being a tall car with enough space between the floor and the road, driving through Mexico City is no problem at all, even with so many bumps and potholes. In terms of vibration, since the powertrain works with a CVT transmission, the drive feels completely smooth and with almost no noise whatsoever. Combined with the comfortable back seats, this makes the Koleos perfect for a quick nap according to my nephew.

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Even with its huge size, the Koleos is quite perfect for the city

Now, for the bad part, we must comment on the Koleos’ engine. It is not a very good idea to use a 4-cylinder with such a large vehicle. The car has no power whatsoever and if you load it a bit much, then you are in quite a predicament. For the city, the engine works just fine, but if you try to take it to a highway there is no way you can outrun anything. It is a shame that with four different versions, there is no option with a bigger engine.

Features and Safety

Safety is one of the strong suits of the Koleos. Apart from an automatic parking brake, ABS and ESP systems, and reverse sensors to help you get in those tight parking spots, this car has six airbags, two on the front, two on the side, and two more curtain ones. Although this is definitely a plus, it is a standard with most other SUVs in the market. In terms of space, its 450-liter cabin can fit almost anything. Its rims are quite attractive and unique in the BOSE and PRIVILEGE editions, and the panoramic roof offers a fresh and clear sensation in its interior. However, the exterior design has not changed massively, so there is not really something that captures the attention of other drivers.

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Apart from the touch screen and its new joystick, the interior design of the Koleos is quite similar to previous versions

On the other hand, the dashboard is by far its worst feature. The touch screen is not very responsive, so everything has to be controlled with a joystick/knob. That would not be such a problem, and it offers a different approach that not all vehicles have. The real issue is how confusing the menu can get, making listening to the radio a full-on quest. It takes a while to get used to how everything works, especially when to use the joystick and when to use the knob. The GPS is also complicated to understand, so try not to get lost very often. On the bright side, the BOSE audio system redeems the Koleos somehow offering a nice ambiance to the trip.

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Before starting the engine, do not forget to place your key card in the slot

Verdict

The Koleos serves its main purpose of being a perfect family car. The space can be adjusted to any situation, and it offers comfort from every angle. For city and suburban use, the Renault is a superb choice, but in any other case it falls short compared to its competitors. Perhaps it is time to make some adjustments and bring this big boy to our time.

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This SUV is the perfect city car for families

At a Glance

  • Make: Renault
  • Model: Koleos
  • Engine: V4 2.5 liters
  • Power: 170 HP
  • MPG: 19 – 26 MPG
  • 0 – 100 Km/h in 9.9 seconds
  • 6-speaker BOSE audio system
  • Six airbags
  • Dual zone climate control
  • Key card system
  • CVT transmission
  • 7’’ Touch screen
  • Front and rear fog lights
  • Rear-view camera
  • Panoramic roof
  • R-link system

Price (At Time of Review)

MX$364,900 (US$24,000)

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