Renault Koleos VS Skoda Kodiaq
- Huge interior
- Good safety package
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Life's foot-operated park brake
- Top model's a bit pricey
- Sportline looks
- Paddle shifters
- Cool front seats
- Need to option extra advanced safety tech
- Doesn't come with tablet holders
- No third-row child seat anchor points
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.
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline is a seven-seat SUV that’s the size of most five seaters, but it’s not the only one that can perform this trick of accommodation. The Nissan X-Trail, Renault Koleos and its Volkswagen cousin, the Tiguan Allspace all come with seating for seven in a small (ish) package.
We’ll also get to tell you straight up what makes a Sportline a Sportline and how much more you’ll have to pay over a regular Skoda Kodiaq.
Ready? Let’s go.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
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.
I have a small family and we live in the inner city where traffic's thick and parking's at a premium. But we hit the highway regularly and I love to drive. So, for us, something that’s comfortable, easy to park, practical and fun to drive is ideal. The Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline is close to that. But I’d go for the regular 132TSI and use the $4000 saving for a holiday.
Is the Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline the ideal family car? Tell us what you think in the comments below
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.
My four-year old son spotted them straight away – the Sportline’s front seats. He wanted to know why they had a hole in them. It’s true they do have a hole in them. It’s just the design with integrated headrests.
Have a look at the images and you’ll see what he means. These leather/suede-feeling holey seats with silver stitching are just part of the different look and feel you’ll get with the Sportline.
There’s also the 20-inch 'Anthracite' wheels with a spoke design that looks like it should have some sort of WorkSafe protective guard on it. Then there’s the body kit which brings black bits: the grille, the mirrors and the roof rails.
The Red Velvet paint is exclusive to the Sportline. Skoda says you can’t get it on any other Kodiaq but you can option it on other models such as the Karoq for $1000. It’s a good contrasting colour with the black elements, plus even on a rainy day (as per our photo shoot) the car stands out.
Other colours also available on the Sportline include 'Brilliant Silver', 'Magic Black', 'Moon White' and 'Steel Grey'.
I’m convinced the Kodiaq is the best-looking Skoda the Czech brand has made. Even the grille, which I’ve never really been a fan of on other models, looks good, especially with the blacked-out treatment. The big cheesy grin extends through sleek headlights accentuating the width of the car.
The corner of those headlights is connected to the tail-lights by a line which turns into a hard crease, running the length of the car and around the tailgate, skirting the rear window.
The Volkswagen’s styling is relatively restrained and conservative, while the Skoda has more personality in its design. Let’s just say if the Kodiaq and Tiguan were people I’d prefer to hang out with the Skoda. But then, I’ve been described as weird.
How big is the Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline? That’s a good question. Some garages are only 2.0m wide and even though the Kodiaq is just under 1.9m across, are you going to be able to open the door and get out? At 4.7m long it’s not at all huge, and at less than 1.7m tall (including roof rails) its about 20cm taller than a regular car, but you’ll get into most underground car parks without any issues.
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.
Skoda’s ‘shtick’ is practicality and all models, including the Kodiaq, have smart features you’re not going to find on every car.
There are umbrellas hiding in the front doors like torpedos waiting in their chambers for a rainy day, there are also rubbish bins in those doors with tiny plastic bin liners, there’s a torch which pops out of the wall in the boot and retractable sunblinds for the rear doors.
But unlike the regular Kodiaq there aren’t tablet holders for the rear passengers in the Sportline because they can’t be fitted to the integrated headrest seats.
The boot capacity is excellent for the class at 630 litres (VDA) with the third row folded flat and 270 litres with the back seats in place, and it comes with three cargo nets.
Storage in the cabin is great with a top- and bottom-opening cooled glove box, a large centre console storage area and another hidey hole in front of the shifter which will fit an iPhone 8.
There are six cupholders (two in the front, two in the middle and two in the third row) and bottle holders in the doors (1.5L size in the front and 1.0L in the rear doors).
There are three 12-volt power outlets (up front, second row and cargo area) and one USB port (under the dash).
Even at 191cm, headroom for me is excellent in the second row despite the optional sunroof fitted to our test car. Legroom is also outstanding, with enough space for me to sit behind my driving position with about 30mm of air between my knees and the seat back.
The third row should really be a last resort for adults as head and legroom are properly limited back there, but children will be happy with it.
The big, wide-opening rear doors make getting in and out easy, although the ride height made getting in a bit of a climb for my four-year-old.
Something you should know, too, is that while the second row is on rails to allow better access to the third row and it folds 60/40, the larger folding section is on the kerb side of the car because it’s European.
Price and features
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.
The Sportline grade was introduced to the Skoda Kodiaq range in early 2018, but rather than see it as a separate variant think of it as a regular Kodiaq 132TSI with bonus features. So, what's added to the 132TSI Sportline and how much more does it cost?
First the price. The Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline lists for $46,990, plus on-road costs, which is $4000 more than a regular 132TSI. What do you get for your four grand? It’s mainly cosmetic, but there are functional differences, too.
So, along with 'Red Velvet' paint, 20-inch wheels, a body kit with blacked-out bits, and aluminium finish pedals, there’s also the customisable performance monitor, drive mode selection, shifting paddles and sports seats up front with the driver’s being power adjustable.
That’s in addition to the 132TSI’s regular features including an 9.2-inch gesture control media display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, LED headlights, proximity key, power tailgate, privacy glass and dual-zone climate control.
Our test car was fitted with a sunroof for $1900 and two optional packages – the 'Tech Pack' for $2600 (which adds auto parking, reverse AEB, adaptive chassis control, kick-open tailgate and wireless phone charging) and the $3400 'Luxury Pack' (which brings three-zone climate control and extra safety technology).
Frankly, the 132TSI is already great value, the Sportline mainly makes it look better. It’s disappointing that the extra safety equipment isn’t standard, but we’ll cover that in the section below.
Engine & trans
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.
The name gives some of the engine details away – the Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline has a 132kW, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. Maximum torque is 320Nm, which is plenty, and it’s all there for the using from 1400rpm.
Shifting gears is a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission. You may have heard about these before – it’s a type of automatic used widely by Volkswagen (and other carmakers), which can be short on low-speed refinement around car parks or in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but operates exceptionally well at quicker speeds.
Also known as a 'DSG' that dual-clutch sends the drive to all four wheels in the Kodiaq. Yes, it may say 4x4 on the tin, but the Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline is an all-wheel drive that monitors each wheel and will transfer drive around them to maintain the best possible traction.
The braked towing capacity of the Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline is 2000kg.
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.
Skoda says the Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline should use just 7.6L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. The trip computer in our test car was reported an average of 10.1L/100km, but that was after punishing it with 250km of city testing, rather than motorway kays.
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.
Okay, it’s not as bad as I've made it sound, but the Kodiaq’s tall bonnet and high door sills mean the area left for windows is smaller than in rivals like the Nissan X-Trail or Subaru Forester. So, while visibility is affected only slightly the pay-off is a sleek window line.
Fortunately, the Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline handles better than a metal bucket, especially our test car which was fitted with 'Adaptive Chassis Control'. Handling and ride are superb for a mid-sized SUV.
Even on those 20-inch wheels and low-profile tyres (235/45 R20 Pirelli Scorpion Verde front and rear) the ride is comfortable, compliant and composed, while handling feels great when the road starts to twist, too.
Adaptive chassis control allows the driver to set the dampers in six modes including Sport and Comfort.
The steering does feel artificial, but it’s smooth and accurate, and while the DSG causes the Kodiaq to lurch slightly in traffic, you’ll get used to it after a week, as I did.
The 132TSI is an excellent engine with stacks of torque that’s all there from 1400rpm. That means despite a smidge of turbo lag, you’ll have stacks of oomph to move quickly if you're changing lanes, pulling out into traffic, or merging onto a motorway.
If you’re not the best at parking or prone to scratching your wheels on the gutter you’ll be a fan of the auto parking feature that comes with the Tech Pack. Every time I used it, the Kodiaq performed pretty much the perfect parallel park, super quickly.
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.
The Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2017. While there are nine airbags covering the front, second and third rows, the advanced safety tech which comes standard on the SUV could be more comprehensive.
There is AEB which works at city speeds, but if you want the full armoury of safety equipment you’ll need to option the Luxury Pack which adds everything we’d expect to come standard – rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assistance, blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistance.
It’s for that reason the Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline scores a lower mark here.
For child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts in the second row. Those third-row seats don’t have child seat anchorage points.
Under the boot floor you’ll find a space saver spare wheel.
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.
Servicing is recommended every 15,000km or 12 months with the first visit being $322, the second $408, the third $586, the fourth $872, and the fifth $431. Alternatively, you can purchase a service pack: $950 for the three years, or $2100 for five.