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Renault Koleos Dynamique 2012 review

Renault Koleos is a generous package for the price.

We've had a crack at the front wheel drive petrol Renault Koleos Dynamique and the $41,000, 4x4 diesel Dynamique model and now must decide which we prefer. That's easy, the petrol "fronty" wins hands down because it costs less and is nearly as functional as the 4x4. 

Having said that, people still want or need a 4x4 SUV and as such, the Dynamique dCi diesel Koleos we drove could fill the bill. It's certainly different looking (but underneath pretty much the same as Nissan's X-Trail). 

Out of Renault/Nissan's Korean factory, Koleos is well-built and has an innocuous appearance. It won't wow you but won't offend either. 


What is really good about the Koleos dCi is the `spex' - it's jam-packed with goodies including leather, satnav, a proper six-speed auto, rear park sensors, hands free entry and ignition, auto wipers and lights, hill start assist, decent audio, Bluetooth and audio streaming, multi media connection box, climate control, cruise and more.

It really is a generous package for the price. Renault's clever Easy Estate rear seat folding system is handy as is the clamshell two part tailgate. 


Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with variable geometry turbo and other technology to boost efficiency. It's good for 110kW/320Nm the latter from 2000rpm. There's a three mode drive system, with auto, lock and 2WD (front) - straight out of X-Trial. 

The only transmission available is a conventional six-speed auto with sequential shift mode on the selector. It's capable of sipping fuel at 7.6-litres/100km giving a big touring range. The engine features two balance shafts to quell vibes. 


There's a fairly conservatively styled dash with easy-to-use switches and a TomTom satnav in pride of place. It decided to stop working on test saying "no GPS signal." which we found annoying. The audio is pretty good and the seats are comfy being the right shape and size. 

But there's a fairly grey look to it all - overpowering. It's roomy for five, has a good size load space and a full size spare under the rear floor. We'd rate the interior better than Japanese but not as good as German and some Koreans. 


Turbo-lag (tardy acceleration) is a problem off idle especially when you pull out in front of oncoming traffic at an intersection expecting immediate response to get you out of the way. Leads to some white knuckle moments. 

On the other side of the coin, when the engine hooks up and drives it's pretty good especially on the highway. It's smooth and economical. The auto is good too and we got to use 4x4 `lock' once on a muddy road - not a problem. 

We like the fact that there's a particle filter in the exhaust and the Koleos passes stringent Euro 5 emissions regulations. Ground clearance is 186mm and the hill descent control would be handy off road. The ride is comfortable and overall dynamics are competent.


We're not sold on the new look but it's an improvement. The diesel needs better off-idle launch but Koleos goes well and has plenty of kit for the money - a good, safe (five star), economical compact family wagon.

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Range and Specs

Bose SE (4x2) 2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO $7,200 – 11,220 2012 Renault Koleos 2012 Bose SE (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Bose SE (4x4) 2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO $9,100 – 13,640 2012 Renault Koleos 2012 Bose SE (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Dynamique (4x2) 2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO $5,866 – 13,470 2012 Renault Koleos 2012 Dynamique (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Dynamique (4x4) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $9,200 – 13,860 2012 Renault Koleos 2012 Dynamique (4x4) Pricing and Specs