With us since 2008, Renault’s Koleos has been replaced. The revised model will be available with either the TR25 2.5-litre petrol engine of 170PS or, more significantly, the two-litre M9R diesel, which is available with a choice of two power outputs: 150PS or 175PS.
The Koleos was designed by Renault on a platform shared with the Nissan X-Trail. It is manufactured at the Renault Samsung Motors plant in Busan, South Korea. Available with either four- or two-wheel drive, its equipment specification includes some useful kit: parking sensors, hands-free entry and ignition, joystick-operated Carminat Tom Tom Live navigation and Hill Start Assist.
Renault Koleos: old model (top) and new model.
The M9R power-plant is now equipped with a kinetic energy recovery system. Its fuel rail runs at 1600 bar (160MPa) and fuels through piezoelectric injectors. The turbocharger is a variable-geometry unit. Two balancer shafts are fitted; the particulate filter regenerates itself which functions without additives, burnt off every 300 to 1200km — depending on how the vehicle is used — using a late fuel injection pulse.
The 150PS dCi offers 320Nm at 2000rpm and drives through a six-speed ‘ND’ manual gearbox. The Renault-Nissan six-speed AJ8 automatic is optional. Petrol variants are available with a six-speed manual — ND5 on front-wheel drive versions, ND8 on the 4x4 — or a CVT, designated FK0 for the FWD model and FK8 for the 4x4. The CVT offers a ratio spread of 5.9, against the manual box’s 5.1 — not a vast difference. It’s also worth noting that the CVT’s lowest ratio is markedly higher than the manual’s.
So far as suspension and wheel location are concerned, McPherson struts are used at the front together with a multi-link arrangement at the back. Ground clearance is 206mm (petrol) or 188mm (diesel). Approach and departure angles are respectable at 27 and 31 degrees respectively.
As is increasingly common nowadays, the car offers the driver a variety of drive modes, though in the case of the Koleos they have more to do with leafy lanes and slippery gymkhana fields than sporty cross-country driving. The modes are:
Auto: The front/rear torque split is automatically calculated as a function of available grip. In normal conditions, torque is delivered to the front wheels only; should less grip become available, some of the torque is diverted to the rear. In extreme conditions, torque is shared equally between the front and rear wheels. When pulling away from a standstill, the system delivers engine torque to all four wheels. Torque-split is effected by an electronic coupler, which is controlled by the ‘All mode 4x4-i’ system developed by Nissan. The coupler’s bespoke control unit uses data communicated by the engine control unit and by a variety of sensors: wheel speed, yaw, acceleration, steering wheel angle and accelerator pedal position.
Lock: The transmission is locked in four-wheel drive. Fifty per cent. of drive torque is directed to the rear wheels.
2WD: The transmission can be locked in two-wheel drive mode.
Inside, passenger-friendly features include reclining rear seats; dual-zone climate control is optional.
Luggage is loaded into the boot through a horizontally-split tailgate. The lower part has a loading capacity of 200kg. The back of the front passenger seat can be tipped forward to form a table or to allow the transport of items of up to 2.6m long.
Convenience features include hands-free entry and ignition, an electronic parking brake, automatic activation of the headlights and windscreen-wipers and cruise control with a speed limiter. The four-wheel drive versions are also fitted with hill start assist, which activates automatically on gradients of more than 10 per cent. The 4x4 derivatives also come with hill descent control: this function is activated by a switch on the centre console and automatically holds the vehicle’s speed at a maximum of 7km/h on gradients of 10 per cent. or more.
Depending on market, the Koleos comes equipped with a joystick-operated in-dash Carminat Tom Tom Live connected navigation system. Renault actually started working on an in-dash navigation system back in 1982, though the first road tests using the Carminat system didn’t happen for another 12 years. In 2002, Renault’s system gained a dynamic route guidance system which recalculated journey times using information about (for example) congestion. Since its launch in the spring of 2009, Carminat Tom Tom has continued to evolve, and two new functions were added at the beginning of 2010: I.Q. Routes — which proposes itineraries based on real-world traffic flow statistics at a specific time of day and day of the week — and Advanced Lane Guidance, which provides realistic three-dimensional views of lane layouts near junctions.
At the end of 2010, the launch of the ‘live’ version brought with it four optional connected services:
HD Traffic: A real-time traffic information service;
Safety alerts: real-time warnings of traffic incidents and dangerous or hazardous situations;
Local Search with Google: capable of localising some 20 million points of interest;
Five-day weather forecasts.
Braking is taken care of by ventilated discs at both ends, of 320mm diameter at the front and 292mm at the back. Renault claims that the Koleos will stop from 100km/h in 41m. Hitachi anti-lock with electronic brake-force distribution is standard, as is emergency brake assist and ESC with understeer control. All-wheel drive versions benefit from the stabilising effect of the transmission’s torque-split adjustments before the electronic stability control cuts in.
Bi-xenon headlights and fixed cornering lights — illuminating the inside of corners — are an option. When the brakes are applied abruptly, the hazard warning lights are activated automatically.
Six airbags are fitted, along with load limiters for the front and outer rear seat belts, front seat belt
pretensioners and Isofix child seat anchorage for the outer rear seats.
Since the Koleos was originally launched in 2008 it has been sold in something approaching 40 countries. As we have mentioned, its basic design comes from Renault but uses Nissan four-wheel drive technologies. The model is being used to spearhead Renault’s sales efforts in several markets, notably China, Mexico and Colombia. China is the model’s most fruitful market. Around 65 per cent. of Koleos sales in 2010 were outside of Europe, and this figure is expected to grow with the introduction of the new model in India later this year.
Built in 1996, the Busan plant in South Korea is a modern facility which benefited from significant investment in 2007 ahead of the original version’s production. The plant is certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.