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Renault Koleos 2022 review: Black Edition


Daily driver score

3/5

Urban score

3/5

There’s no shortage of models to choose from if you’re after a family-friendly medium SUV. The problem is, it might take a while to get your hands on one, with lengthy wait times for some of the best sellers due to current delays caused by a global parts shortage and supply chain dramas.

But there are a handful of models with healthy stock in dealerships right now and available for immediate delivery. One of them is the Renault Koleos

It's coming to the end of its life cycle and lacks the shine of some of its fresher rivals, but it’s a lot of car for the money. 

We spent a week with the limited edition Koleos Black Edition to see if it is worth a trip to your Renault dealer, or if you should sit tight and wait for one of its newer rivals.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

A European badge doesn’t always mean you pay more than say, Korean or Japanese offerings, and Renault is an example of that.

The Koleos line-up, for now, starts from $33,590, before on-road costs, for the two-wheel drive Life and tops out at $46,390 for the Intens all-wheel drive.

But after July 1, 2022, prices will increase across the Renault line-up, with the Koleos set to range from $35,000 to $47,500.

Gloss black door mirrors. (Image: Tim Nicholson) Gloss black door mirrors. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

There’s only one petrol engine option since the diesel was dropped in 2019 and each variant is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving either the front or all four wheels.

That pre-July pricing is competitive against its rivals, undercutting the opening price of automatic versions of the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and more.

Our test car, the Koleos Black Edition, is priced at $40,090 (rising to $40,500 from July 1) and is based on the specification of the mid-range Zen front-wheel drive (FWD). It is limited to 400 units in Australia.

The Black Edition adds dark flourishes like 19-inch dark-grey alloy wheels. (Image: Tim Nicholson) The Black Edition adds dark flourishes like 19-inch dark-grey alloy wheels. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

Renault is one of a number of car makers to offer a black-themed model in recent times, alongside Kia, Mitsubishi, Toyota, SsangYong, and others.

The Black Edition adds dark flourishes like 19-inch dark-grey alloy wheels, gloss black roof rails and door mirrors, sidesteps, French flags on the B-pillar (even though it’s built in South Korea) and a choice of three exterior metallic paint colours including black (of course), grey or white. 

Automatic dusk-sensing headlights. (Image: Tim Nicholson) Automatic dusk-sensing headlights. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

It also gets a hands-free powered tailgate, black synthetic leather upholstery with yellow stitching, matt carbon-look inserts, an 8.7-inch multimedia portrait touchscreen and ‘Limited’ badging on the chrome door sills.

That’s on top of features that are standard on the Zen, like a proximity key, push-button start, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto-folding exterior mirrors, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a reclining rear seat, dual-zone air-conditioning, and heated and cooled front cupholder.

The multimedia system houses sat nav and comes with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, digital radio and an eight-speaker audio system.

There’s more details on the safety front below, and many rivals come with more modern in-car tech but there’s no question the Koleos offers very good value-for-money. 

Is there anything interesting about its design?

An area that Renault has excelled at in the past decade has been exterior design. Under the stewardship of design chief Laurens van den Acker, Renault has transformed from somewhat quirky to modern and sleek.

The Koleos is getting on in years, having arrived in 2016, but it’s still a handsome SUV. A 2020 facelift sharpened its looks further and we reckon it’s one of the best-looking models in the medium-SUV segment.

Renault has transformed from somewhat quirky to modern and sleek. (Image: Tim Nicholson) Renault has transformed from somewhat quirky to modern and sleek. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

Piano black inserts around the gear shifter are a nice touch, but the fake carbon-fibre inserts look and feel cheap. It’s all a bit generic.

But the appealing contrast yellow stitching on the seats, gear shifter housing, doors, centre armrest and more breaks up the grey with a little pop of colour.

How practical is the space inside?

It might lack the up-to-date styling of those rivals, but the Koleos is practical and spacious inside and great for family duties.

As with the outgoing fourth-generation Nissan X-Trail, the Koleos is one of the larger offerings in the medium SUV segment, and it’s evident when sitting in the front or rear seating row.

Rearward visibility could be better, with a small rear screen and thick C- and D-pillars impeding vision and creating a blind spot.

The front seats are well supported and comfortable. (Image: Tim Nicholson) The front seats are well supported and comfortable. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

The front seats are well supported and comfortable and while the driver’s side is power adjustable, the front passenger seat is manually adjustable.

It has a deep central storage bin with a hidden shelf for coins and more. The Koleos features a sizeable glovebox and good bottle storage in the doors, with room for other items.

There’s a weird fixed cup holder in the centre console. It’s not adjustable and there’s room for two very narrow cups and two larger, but not wide, cups. It’s strange. Interior designers could have used that space better.

It has a deep central storage bin with a hidden shelf for coins and more. (Image: Tim Nicholson) It has a deep central storage bin with a hidden shelf for coins and more. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

The CVT's position indicators are located to the left of the shifter and are thus obscured, so you have to rely on the instrument cluster display to confirm what gear you want. 

The steering wheel looks and feels good, but the controls aren’t super logical. There are old school switches in the console to activate the cruise control and speed limiter, but then to adjust and reset the speed you have to hit buttons on the wheel that are not clearly marked. 

The audio controls are housed on a panel-like stalk to the right side of the steering column, which isn’t ideal. These make more sense if they’re housed on the wheel itself. 

Along with a number of cars we have sampled recently, the Koleos has split analogue and digital controls for the air conditioning. Just integrate it in the screen or have traditional controls - not both!

It has a part-digital instrument cluster which is fine, but there’s no head-up display.

The steering wheel looks and feels good, but the controls aren’t super logical. (Image: Tim Nicholson) The steering wheel looks and feels good, but the controls aren’t super logical. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

Renault’s 'R-Link' multimedia set-up in the Koleos is old, with dated graphics and a small screen, but the menu layout is clear and logical. 

The Koleos lacks wireless phone charging and it makes do with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The quality of the Bluetooth and CarPlay phone audio is poor and sounds tinny. 

  • 458-litre boot with all seats in place (maximum 1690L) 458-litre boot with all seats in place (maximum 1690L)
  • 2022 Renault Koleos I Boot 2022 Renault Koleos I Boot
  • 2022 Renault Koleos I Boot 2022 Renault Koleos I Boot
  • 2022 Renault Koleos I Boot 2022 Renault Koleos I Boot

The proximity key that locks and unlocks the vehicle remotely when you walk towards or away from it works every single time. Many of these systems from other brands are patchy at best but the Renault system is faultless. 

The rear seats recline and fold manually 60/40. They’re also surprisingly comfortable. There’s enough bucketing to sink in a bit, and the seats are set high up so kids can easily see out windows.

Space is ample in the second row, with loads of head, leg, toe and knee room, even behind my six-foot (183cm) driving position.

Space is ample in the second row, with loads of head, leg, toe and knee room. (Image: Tim Nicholson) Space is ample in the second row, with loads of head, leg, toe and knee room. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

The rear pew has ISOFIX points on the outboard seats, lower air vents, a 12-volt outlet, map pockets, a centre folding armrest with two cupholders, but no USB ports. You have to make do with the two ports at the front.

Open the power tailgate and you’ll find a decent 458-litre boot with all seats in place (maximum 1690L), which is off the pace of its cousin, the Nissan X-Trail (565L), as well as the Toyota RAV4 (580L) and Hyundai Tucson (539L).

A 17-inch steel spare wheel is housed under the boot floor which might explain the lower boot capacity, and there are handy tie-down hooks, a couple of smaller storage nooks and a solid cargo blind. 

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Koleos shares its powertrain with the X-Trail. That means it uses a Euro 5-rated 2.5-litre four-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine delivering 126kW of power at 6000rpm and 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm.  

It is paired with a CVT and drives with the front, or all four wheels, depending on the grade. 

The Koleos has a braked towing capacity of 2000kg.

2.5-litre four-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine delivering 126kW of power at 6000rpm and 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm.  (Image: Tim Nicholson) 2.5-litre four-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine delivering 126kW of power at 6000rpm and 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm.  (Image: Tim Nicholson)

 

How much fuel does it consume?

According to Renault, the combined fuel consumption figure for the FWD Koleos is 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres. The AWD Koleos sips 8.3L.

After a week of mixed urban, freeway and semi-rural driving, we recorded 11.3L/100km.

Koleos uses 91 RON petrol, has a 60-litre fuel tank and emits 188g/km of CO2 emissions.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Koleos was awarded a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating back in 2017.

It comes as standard with six airbags, auto emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, cruise control, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a tyre pressure monitor. 

The Koleos was awarded a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating back in 2017. (Image: Tim Nicholson) The Koleos was awarded a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating back in 2017. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

It lacks some of the more modern active driver aids that are offered as standard in rivals, like an active lane-keeping system that helps ensure the vehicle doesn’t cross line markings. The Koleos makes do with an audible warning that, oddly, sounds like a whoopie cushion when activated.

The cruise control is not adaptive, instead it’s the old school version that doesn’t detect vehicles ahead and lower its speed accordingly. 

Having more up-to-date safety gear would improve the Koleos’ appeal.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The Koleos is covered by Renault’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is stadatd in the meainstream market, now. 

It is available with a five-year capped-price servicing plan, with each service costing $429, except year four which will set you back $999.

The servicing schedule is every 12 months or 30,000km, whichever occurs first.  

The Koleos is covered by Renault’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (Image: Tim Nicholson) The Koleos is covered by Renault’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

What's it like to drive around town?

The drive experience is a mixed bag with some highlights and lowlights.

The ageing 2.5-litre engine is responsive enough from a standing start - it has a 0-100km/h time of 9.5 seconds - but it lacks any real punch and becomes breathless the second you encounter a hill.

It is noisy and revs hard when pushed, with the CVT drone not making for a particularly pleasant aural experience. You’ll hear a fair bit of road and tyre noise in the cabin, too.

The steering is dull and feels quite artificial, but the brakes feel strong.

Unless you’re on a perfectly smooth road surface, the ride is a little busy and the damper tune fails to adequately soften corrugations, potholes and speed bumps. (Image: Tim Nicholson) Unless you’re on a perfectly smooth road surface, the ride is a little busy and the damper tune fails to adequately soften corrugations, potholes and speed bumps. (Image: Tim Nicholson)

Unless you’re on a perfectly smooth road surface, the ride is a little busy and the damper tune fails to adequately soften corrugations, potholes and speed bumps. 

It is, however, a more capable handler than expected. The chassis is well sorted, and aside from feeling top heavy with body roll when cornering, it has decent grip and displayed impressive roadholding characteristics, even on a sweeping bend with a loose shoulder surface.

There was a little understeer detected turning into a particularly tight bend.

It can’t match the dynamism of the Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5, but it does engage the driver to some extent.

To be fair to Renault, when the second-generation Koleos launched in 2016, it was a competitive offering. The problem is, a bunch of medium SUV rivals have been replaced in that time and some of them - Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson, to name a few - are high-quality offerings with an engaging drive and the latest tech and in-car features.

Unfortunately, that leaves the Koleos towards the rear of the medium SUV pack.

It offers solid value-for-money, handles reasonably well and is still one the best-looking SUVs on the road. But beyond that, the Koleos can’t keep pace with those top-notch rivals.

$40,090

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3/5

Urban score

3/5
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.