Koleos throws its weight around

Published on March 16th, 2010

You might have caught a glimpse of it if you followed the ‘Biggest Loser Asia’ on the idiot box and you might not be the first to drive it as the winner of that show drove one home but the Renault Koleos is finally on our shores.

Following the introduction of the Fab Five last year, an esteemed new member of the local Renault family joins them on the show floor in a move that reinforces the company’s current marketing plan for the year.

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The Koleos is somewhat of a crossover 4X4. Now the word ‘crossover’ has been tossed around one too many times, kind of like an English footballer’s groupie, but the Koleos does boast genuine credentials that back up the use of the word ‘crossover.’

Renault claims the Koleos possesses bona fide 4X4 off-road capabilities yet maintains the comfort of a saloon car and the practicality that is on par with an MPV. All this in a compact package that does without that other SUV criteria of being a behemoth as well.

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On a practical basis, the Koleos has all the right boxes ticked. Interior space is generous considering its dimensions and there’s more practicality put into its design than advice your grandpa can dish out to you.

For instance the rear cargo space not only comes in a split tailgate for convenience but there are handles in the cargo area that drop the rear seats without having to pull them from the front. This shows the thought that was invested in its design as something so simple could make a world of difference when lugging those Ikea flatpacks by yourself.

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Safety and Renault are quite synonymous now and the Koleos is no different. It joins 11 other Renault models in achieving five stars in the Euro NCAP safety rating with its six airbags and reinforced body structure.

Powertrain options are courtesy of the Renault-Nissan alliance and sitting up front is the same 2.5-liter four-banger found in the Nissan X-Trail but with a CVT transmission pushing power to all four wheels through its All-Mode 4X4-i transmission with ESC.

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Apart from the ESC, other standard features include the Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).

By utilising the 2.5-liter engine, the longer stroke of the engine provides more torque that will undoubtedly come in handy on those off-road excursions.

The fusion of Renault’s impeccable safety as well as its ride and handling attributes together with the robustness of Nissan mechanicals really does make the Koleos a well-equipped performer on and off the beaten path.

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The Koleos will be a CBU model, joining in the Fab Five range of CBU models consisting of the Renault Clio RS, Clio Hatchback, Megane Coupe Cabriolet, Megane Renaultsport R26 and Grand Espace. Completing the list is the Kangoo that serves Renault’s local CKD needs in a multitude of guises.

By offering another CBU model, TC Euro Cars, the sole franchise distributor of Renault vehicles in the country, is carrying on with its CBU niche strategy instead of charging head on against other more established names in the local motoring scene.

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The main point is to continue building the brand’s name locally and focusing its CKD operations on mass market vehicles like the Kangoo.

Nonetheless, expect some spice to be added to the mix come the second quarter of the year as TC Euro Cars will launch the Laguna Coupe and Megane RS later on.

The Koleos is priced at RM213,149 (OTR w/o insurance).

text & pix: Dinesh Appavu

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