Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

Renault Koleos


MG HS

Summary

Renault Koleos

Renault's Koleos doesn't quite know what it is. This second-generation SUV from the French giant is also the second one built largely around the Nissan X-Trail, taking much of its mechanicals. The French flair, a key purchasing decision for many Renault owners, must come from the design, ride and handling, right?

In a market swamped with cars of this type, using a donor car is an economically sensible way to get things done. The risk is turning out a car with the badge of one manufacturer on the front but the character of another behind it.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.5L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.3L/100km
Seating5 seats

MG HS

If you plugged a computer into Australia’s car market and had it design a car, I’m fairly sure it would come up with something like the MG HS.

Does it compete in one of the hottest-selling segments in Australia? Yep, it’s a mid-size SUV. Does it compete on price? Yep, it’s impressively cheap when compared to segment favourites. Is it well specified? Yep, it ticks pretty much every box there is to tick when it comes to gear. Does it look good? Yep, it borrows key styling elements from successful rivals.

Now the tricky one: Is there more to the story? Yep, turns out there is.

See, while MG has made impressive progress with its colour-by-numbers approach to car design, selling increasingly large numbers of its MG3 hatch and ZS small SUV, it’s still had a lot of catching up to do to be considered serious competition for Australian consumers.

So, should you be wooed by the HS SUV? Does it represent true progress for a fledging competitor brand? We went to its Australian launch to find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Renault Koleos7.1/10

The Koleos is a sort of left-field choice, really, and that's probably not very fair. It's a proper mainstream car from a manufacturer that has been around longer than most, built on a proven platform.

It is, however, different enough for you to take notice. It looks good, has a bit of presence when viewed from either end and you can say you've got a Renault. It's only problem is it seems to be having and identity crisis.

Are you tempted by a proven SUV package with a Gallic point of difference? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


MG HS7.1/10

MG has built the HS to tick as many feature boxes as it possibly can at an incredibly compelling price.

It’s definitely rough around the edges when it comes to the drive experience, suggesting that the brand hasn’t taken the time to make all those parts work together nicely, but ultimately this won’t chase potential customers who already love its styling and features out of dealerships.

If nothing else, the HS represents a clear progression for MG from the ZS, but it remains to be seen if the brand can convert that progress to taking sales away from its major rivals.

Design

Renault Koleos7/10

Like Batman, the Koleos is a product of its origin story. That's not to say it's a weird orphan billionaire with a rubber fetish (although it has tyres, I guess) but that it was always going to turn out this way.

At first glance, it looks like a Renault, especially from the front, with the big C-shaped daytime running lights. Once in profile, though, it could be pretty much anything but it becomes more Renault at the rear again. So it stands out front and back but not so much from the side, which is unusual for a Renault. But then, it's a Nissan-based car built in South Korea, so it was always going to be a compromise.

Interior images show a mainstream design with a decent-sized screen but little in the way of French detailing. I'm a fan of Renault interiors generally even if they're not ergonomic masterpieces. This interior is certainly not as brave as its compatriot, the recently-arrived Peugeot 5008.


MG HS7/10

The HS looks pretty good, don’t you think? And, I know what you’re thinking – It looks a bit like a CX-5 with the glitzy grille and curvy shape – and you’d be right. It’s nothing if not derivative.

That doesn’t take away from those looks, and when MG has a dealership filled with just three cars that are all consistently styled, it’s bound to draw people in.

The glitz is upped by the standard LED DRLs, progressive indicators, fog lights, and silver diffusers front and rear.

Possibly the best part for prospective base-model buyers is that you can barely tell the difference between the base and top on looks alone. The only giveaway is larger wheels, and full LED front lighting.

Inside was better than expected. While its smaller ZS sibling looked good, the material choices were less than impressive. In the HS though, the trim quality has been upped significantly, and so has the fit and finish.

Again, there’s a lot of parts here that are derivative of other automakers but the turbine vents, an Alfa-Romeo-esque steering wheel, soft-touch surfaces, and faux-leather trims lift the ambiance to a competitive level.

Not everything is great. I wasn’t sure about some of the buttons, and plastic inserts in the centre console and door trims was as chintzy as ever. It’s probably not going to bother anyone getting out of an older vehicle, but there are more consistent trims to be had from more mainstream players.

Practicality

Renault Koleos7/10

How many seats? Five, all across the range. Renault is still left without a seven-seat SUV in the Australian market.

For a Renault, the Koleos has a fairly conventional interior partly because it's based on another car. That means it has proper cupholders (the French are really bad at those), two up front and two in the back. Each door has a bottleholder, for a total of four.

Front seat passengers do very nicely indeed, with some models adding things like armrests for extra lounge chair comfort. The rear seat is spacious, with good leg and headroom, with room for three kids.

Boot space is generous - the Koleos is a big car. The luggage capacity starts at 458 litres, rising to 1690 litres with the rear seats down. The load area is a good size and shape, the packaging maximising the impressive interior dimensions. The glove box is large enough to hold the huge owners manual.


MG HS7/10

The HS is as you’d expect from most mid-sizers with no major red flags thrown up. Visibility is pretty good out the front and rear thanks to large wing mirrors and window apertures. Adjustability for the driver is decent, too. You’ll miss out on electric driver’s seat adjustment but you do score a telescopically adjustable steering column.

The seating position is high, and the comfort from the seats was middling. Neither good nor particularly bad.

The faux-leather trim on the seats, dash and doors is simple and will be easy to clean, but did seem a bit thin in places.

An annoyance is only being able to control the air conditioning through the screen. There are no physical buttons. It’s especially clumsy and slow to operate while you’re driving.

Storage-wise front passengers get a bottle holders and trenches in the doors, two big cupholders in the centre console with a trench for phones or keys, an adjustable length armrest console which is air-conditioned, and a small tray with two USB ports and a 12-volt power outlet.

Rear passengers score decent space. I’d say it’s about on par with Kia’s Sportage from my recent test of it. I’m 182cm tall and I had airspace for my head and legs behind my own driving position. The seats can be reclined slightly, and the trim is the same as it is in the front seats.

Amenity-wise rear seat passengers get dual adjustable air vents and two USB ports, so certainly not forgotten.

The boot is 463 litres (VDA) which is almost identical to the Kia Sportage (466L) and on-par but not remarkable for this segment. The boot floor is high, making for easy access for light items but hard access for heavy ones. The Excite gets an electric tailgate - it’s a bit slow but a nice feature to have.

Price and features

Renault Koleos7/10

As always with our comparison articles, every price you see is straight from the manufacturer's price list and are RRP. Of course, how much you actually pay is between you and your dealer.

There are three models in the Koleos range - Life, Zen and Intens. 

Pricing kicks off at $30,990 for the Life. For that you score 17-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, remote central locking, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers, cornering lamps, cloth trim, power windows, heated and powered rear vision mirrors and a space-saver spare.

The multimedia system features the usual AM/FM radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Life doesn't have a navigation system, so your phone's GPS sat nav will have to do, which is fine if you've got data.

Next up is the Zen starting at $35,490 for the front-wheel drive (FWD) and $37,990 for the all-wheel drive (AWD). To the Life's spec list you can add 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start (via Renault's smart key card), front parking sensors, heated and cooled front cupholders, electric driver's seat, sat nav, heated front seats, fake leather seats, sunroof, electric parking brake and roof rails.

The Intens is available in petrol ($44,990) and diesel ($47,490). On top the Zen spec you can expect a 12-speaker stereo, side parking sensors, heated and ventilated electric front seats, auto LED headlights, partial leather seats, power tailgate and auto parking.

Accessories include floor mats, at an eyebrow-raising $118.72, coloured key shells, boot liners, a towbar for over a grand, cargo barrier, bicycle carriers and the evergreen mudflap.

Not available are a bull bar or nudge bar or a body kit - unless you count the side steps.

There are eight colours - 'Mineral Beige', 'Metallic Black', 'Meissen Blue', 'Metallic Grey', 'Marron Red', 'Ultra Silver' and 'Universal White' all cost $880 extra. Only 'Solid White' is a freebie. McLaren Renault fans will be disappointed there's no 'Papaya Orange' option.


MG HS8/10

This is what’s going to ultimately get customers into HS over anything else. This mid-size SUV is incredibly cheap for the segment.

MG has the HS stickered with drive-away prices of $30,990 for the entry-level Vibe or $34,490 for the top-spec (for now) Excite.

There’s not much between them, and generally the specification ticks off almost every box on our checklist.

Both specs get the impressive 10.1-inch touchscreen and semi-digital dash cluster which looks genuinely impressive, although you can tell where the corners have been cut. The processor for the multimedia software is painfully slow, and the screen quality is average, presenting with both glare and ghosting. The Excite gets built-in nav, but you won’t miss it. It’s extremely slow.

Both specs also get the faux leather trim everywhere, digital radio, LED DRLs, reversing camera with guiding lines, and the full safety suite (skip down to safety to see what that’s all about).

All of that for the price of a base model RAV4, Sportage, or Hyundai Tucson is undeniably good value, no matter which way you cut it.

The Excite only adds LED headlights, 1-inch larger alloy wheels (18-inch), a sport drive mode, the electric tailgate, auto wipers, the laggy nav system, and an ambient lighting package. Nothing necessary there, but the small jump in price doesn’t break the value equation either.

Engine & trans

Renault Koleos7/10

There are two engines available in the Koleos range. The Life, Intens, Zen and S Edition (a limited run version of approximately 360 units, based on the Intens) are all available with Renault-Nissan's 2.5-litre petrol automatic

The Life is 4x2 only while the Zen and Intens are 4x4 only. The diesel is only available in the Intens.

The 2.5-litre produces 126kW/226Nm, propelling the non-AWD cars from 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds, which is reasonable acceleration performance for a car of this size and weight (1552kg). The 56kg heavier AWD petrols will reach the ton in 9.8 seconds.

The turbo-diesel is a 2.0-litre motor and despite the smaller engine size than the petrol, puts out more power at 130kW and a substantially more torque at 380Nm. Zero to 100km/h is dispatched in 9.5 seconds.

Whether front or AWD, petrol or diesel, the Koleos comes not with an automatic transmission but Nissan's favoured continuously variable transmission (CVT). There is no manual gearbox or LPG option.

According to Renault's specifications, the braked towing capacity is rated at 2000kg for the petrol and, curiously, 1650kg for the diesel. That does seem strange given the extra horsepower and torque, but there you are.

As to whether the engines feature a timing belt or chain, both are lower maintenance chain-driven engines. As yet, there is not a battery powered or hybrid version.


MG HS7/10

The HS ticks boxes here, too. It’s only available with one engine, and it looks good on paper.

It’s a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 119kW/250Nm. It drives the front-wheels only (there’s no all-wheel drive model for now) via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Sounds as cutting edge as any European rival, but there are some issues which we’ll explore in the driving section.

Fuel consumption

Renault Koleos7/10

As usual, the official fuel consumption figures are off by around 30 percent, which is about right. On the upside, the Koleos drinks only standard 91 RON for the petrol.

The two-wheel drive petrols will return 8.1L/100km while the AWD petrols a little more at 8.3L/100km. Diesel mileage is about 25 percent better at 6.1L/100km.

Given those figures, fuel economy is hardly going to decide whether you go for the 4x4 versions. A quick review of previous Koleos stories yields figures of 10.9L/100km for the heaviest petrol, the Intens. I recently drove the 4x2 Life and got just over 11.0L/100km.

Fuel tank capacity is the same petrol vs diesel at 60 litres.


MG HS7/10

MG says the HS will consume 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle. Our drive day was not a fair representation, and we drove multiple cars so we can’t give you a real-world figure just yet.

With the small capacity engine and abundance of ratios, we hope it can at least undercut thrashy old 2.0-litre non-turbo rivals.

The HS has a 55-litre fuel tank and requires mid-grade 95RON premium unleaded petrol.

Driving

Renault Koleos7/10

The Koleos, as I've already established, is built on the X Trail's guts and really feels very similar. That means if you're buying the Koleos hoping it feels like a Renault, you're out of luck. And that's not because it can't be done, it just didn't make much sense to do so. It's different to the X-Trail, but not massively so. It doesn't feel French.

Part of that is the CVT. While not the worst of its type fitted to a car in recent times, it makes the Koleos feel slow and a bit dim-witted. In normal driving it's perfectly fine and the noise suppression keeps the lawn mower effect to reasonable levels, but ask a little more of the transmission and it's not really ready for it.

And that's a great pity. While it's no ball of fire, it handles tidily, isn't actually as slow as it feels and is otherwise a pleasant car to be in. 

Another complaint are the Life's tyres - they're not very good and could do with a bit more grip in damp conditions. Felt very odd to be losing traction accelerating gently out of corners.

The Koleos' off road ability isn't on trial here, but it's more than competent in the rough and slippy stuff when fitted with the AWD system. It certainly has the suspension travel, 21cm ground clearance and cosseting ride in all specs that you might expect from an off-roader.


MG HS5/10

The HS unfortunately proves how easy it is to take the cumulative decades of driving refinement built-in to Japanese and Korean rivals for granted.

Things seem good initially with the visibility and nice steering wheel, but it quickly falls apart from there.

The first thing I noticed on my drive loop was the distinct lack of feedback I received from the car. The steering provided seemingly no feel from the front wheels at all and was inconsistently weighted at different speeds. Most low-speed city drivers won’t mind its lightness, but could notice its lack of confidence at speed.

The 1.5-litre engine doesn’t lack power, but it’s extracting it that becomes a problem. Unlike rival small capacity turbo engines from the likes of Honda, peak torque doesn’t arrive until 4400rpm, and you do notice the delay as you wait for power to arrive a full second after pressing the go pedal.

The transmission is also inconsistent. It’s a dual-clutch, so at times can be quick and gives that nice stepped feel as you work your way through the gears, but it’s easy to catch out.

It grabs the wrong gear often, and at other times will shudder when shifting down, sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. It’s also slow to kick down gears when you press the accelerator.

A lot of this can be put down to calibration. It’s as though MG has all the parts to give the HS a modern drivetrain, but hasn’t taken the time to get them to play nicely together.

The ride is a mixed bag. It’s incredibly soft, which makes for a comfort tune over larger bumps and a very quiet cabin, even on coarser-chip roads, but it proved to somehow be unsettled and jiggly over smaller bumps.

The softness is its downfall over undulations though, with the rebound launching the car into the air. This means on roads with lots of elevation changes, you’re constantly bouncing around.

Handling suffers as a result of a combination of these factors, the vague steering, soft suspension and mid-size SUV bulk making this hardly a fun vehicle to pilot on back roads.

I will say that the HS made a decent companion on the freeway part of our drive though, with the active cruise control and spongey ride making it easy to live with for long distances.

Safety

Renault Koleos7/10

The Koleos leaves South Korea with six airbags, ABS, stability (ESP) and traction controls, brake force distribution, forward AEB, reverse camera, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. There are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether restraints.

The Zen and Intens also feature blind spot warning and side parking sensors.

Since its 2016 introduction, ANCAP has not got around to crash testing the Renault for a safety rating. EuroNCAP has and awarded a five star rating in September 2017 with a safety spec identical to the Intens.


MG HS8/10

No matter which spec you choose, the HS gets a fully-fledged active safety suite. It’s a big step up from the smaller ZS,  which was light on safety when it launched in Australia and only scored four ANCAP safety stars. 

This time around though, things are much improved, with the HS scoring a maximum five star ANCAP rating, courtesy of standard auto emergency braking (AEB – detects pedestrians and cyclists up to 64km/h and moving objects up to 150km/h), lane keep assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, active cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.

It’s an impressive suite, and you can turn each feature off individually in the media system if it’s annoying you.

The active cruise kept a safe distance and behaved well during our test drive, too. The only thing to note is that it seems to harass you with beeps constantly and the lane keep assist switches the digital dash to the safety screen if you drift toward the edge of the lane and doesn’t return it to whatever screen you were on before. Annoying.

Six airbags come standard and LED headlights on the Excite are welcome for dark country roads. The HS has three top tether and two ISOFIX child seat mounting points across the rear seats.

Ownership

Renault Koleos8/10

To cover off any problems or issues, Renault offers a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and up to four years' roadside assist. Service costs are capped for the first three years and on both petrol and diesel, service intervals are an impressive 12 months/30,000km.

Pricing for the first three services is capped at $349 for the petrol and $369 for the diesel. That's a genuine bargain, with extra costs like filters laid out on the website.

As with its X Trail sister car, reliability appears to be excellent with few common faults. A run around the usual internet forums didn't uncover any common engine problems.

Resale value is slightly below that of its Japanese donor car, but depreciation doesn't seem as steep as some other Renaults.


MG HS8/10

MG covers its cars with the tried and true Kia success strategy of offering the seven-year warranty that pencil pushers at mainstream brand’s won’t.

It has unlimited kilometre coverage for the seven years and includes roadside assist for the entire period.

Servicing is required once a year or every 10,000km whichever occurs first. MG hasn't yet announced capped price servicing, but promises it will be released imminently.