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Renault Koleos 2019 review: Zen

Renault’s Koleos competes with cars like the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

It’s nice to have a different mid-size SUV to choose from, rather than the usual players. Renault’s Koleos is a five-seat, mid-size SUV that competes with cars like the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, so it sways towards the large end of that category.

I test drove the Koleos over a week where I had to go out and do a big fruit and veggie shop for the food co-op I’m in, so I really got to test how much it would hold!

I was in the Koleos Zen, which is second from the bottom in a range of five. Here’s how it did over a week with my family.

How does it drive?

I’m not sure what I was expecting from a Renault, but the Koleos beat those expectations. It’s a smooth drive with little effort required from your foot on the accelerator, thanks to the 2.5-litre petrol engine. It gets up hills quickly and doesn’t feel heavy on the take-off for this size car.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from a Renault, but the Koleos beat those expectations. I’m not sure what I was expecting from a Renault, but the Koleos beat those expectations.

It was raining all week and I had no issues with the way it handled. The Koleos Zen is a 2WD but there are AWD versions in the range if that’s what you’re after. Even with the rain, I had no complaints about traction on the road.

It has a decent reverse parking camera and parking is fine as long as you allow for the length of the car.

How does it look?

Here’s where it stands out over the competition. It has a stylish exterior that is more elegant and refined than some of its competitors.

It’s less boxy, and has some of the characteristics of a low-profile car which looks good. Perhaps it’s the French style coming forward, but I felt good driving this car, like it matched up to, or was better than other cars on the road in this price range.

Inside is not as swish, most likely because I was in the second from the bottom of the range Zen, but there are five models in the range so if you are after luxe you can go higher up the chain (and pay for the privilege of course). At $35,490 I think what you get is good value.

  • It’s less boxy, and has some of the characteristics of a low-profile car which looks good. It’s less boxy, and has some of the characteristics of a low-profile car which looks good.
  • The steering wheel is leather-trimmed and feels good under the hands, and the layout of the centre console is well designed. The steering wheel is leather-trimmed and feels good under the hands, and the layout of the centre console is well designed.

There are faux-leather seats which don’t look as good as leather (a bit shiny) but are still comfortable and the front seats are heated which was much appreciated during a cold, wintry week.

The steering wheel is leather-trimmed and feels good under the hands, and the layout of the centre console is clear, functional and well designed. There’s a digital dash in front of the steering wheel which is small but modern.

How spacious is it?

The front seats are very spacious, it's nice and breezy and there is no cramped feeling. Leg and head space are good, a big plus for the six foot-plus passengers on board this week.

My children loved all the space in the back seat, they are aged five and seven, so easily had enough room to play around.

I was also comfortable back there, with about 25cm between my knees and the front seats, so taller teenagers and adults will be able to fit while sitting forward - without doing the whole bending the knees to the side thing.

You will fit a third child seat in depending on your child seats. I did it with two boosters and a baby capsule, but it’s always good to check your own.

  • The front seats are very spacious, it's nice and breezy and there is no cramped feeling. The front seats are very spacious, it's nice and breezy and there is no cramped feeling.
  • My children loved all the space in the back seat. My children loved all the space in the back seat.
  • The boot space is good, although it’s not best in class. The boot space is good, although it’s not best in class.

Every child seat differs in width and while they fit, you might find doing up seat belts a bit of a squish, again depending on your seats.

And the boot space is good, although it’s not best in class. At 458L it’s smaller than a Volkswagen Tiguan or Honda CR-V, but similar to a Mazda CX-5.

You will still be able to get a large pram in and have room for school bags and groceries. As far as my market shop went, I fit about 20 boxes of fruit and veg all through the car by dropping the back seats and packing neatly, so it served my purposes well.

How easy is it to use every day?

The kids were able to climb in easily thanks to the step on the side of the car (an extra $791) but I’m quite little and didn’t need to use this. The height of the boot is good and easy to lift things in and out of.

There are two cupholders in the front, a large-ish spot for keys and a phone, a deep centre storage bin plus bottle holders in each door.

The kids were able to climb in easily thanks to the step on the side of the car. The kids were able to climb in easily thanks to the step on the side of the car.

It also has a number of gadgets I wouldn’t expect from a car in this price category - things like the park brake turning off and on automatically, and keyless entry, plus auto wipers and the heated front seats.

How safe is it?

The safety is ace in the Renault Koleos Zen, with advanced safety features coming standard like auto emergency braking, lane departure alerts and blind spot monitoring, with parking sensors front and rear.

There are airbags for driver and front passenger plus side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. Two ISOFIX points and three top tether points allow you to fit kids’ car seats in safely.

ANCAP awarded the Koleos a maximum five-star rating in 2017.

How much does it cost to own?

The Renault Koleos Zen costs $35,490, before on-road costs. Metallic paint is an extra $880 and the side steps are $791, bringing the total cost for the car as tested to $37,161.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 8.1L/100km which is on the high side for this category but may just be a more realistic usage figure.

It’s covered by Renault’s five year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is required every 12 months/30,000km.

The Renault Koleos Zen costs $35,490, before on-road costs. The Renault Koleos Zen costs $35,490, before on-road costs.


The Wrap

I was quite happy driving the Renault Koleos Zen this week. It's stylish and a bit different to other cars on the road, which is a nice thing. It has a good amount of interior room and enough boot space for my family of four, plus it drives smoothly and effortlessly.

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10 and my kids also gave it a 7.5 - they like it when they can climb in and do their seat belts up independently.

Would you buy a Renault over a Toyota? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Likes

Exterior design
Smooth drive
Advanced safety features

Dislikes

Faux leather seats

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$35,490

Based on new car retail price

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