The Renault Koleos was one of the first cars to be sold in India by Renault independently, which does not go to say that the SUV was a hot-seller. The company believes volumes were not possible as the earlier Koleos was available only in a single variant. The newer one though comes in three variants. But, will that result in more people rushing to buy a Koleos?
Changes in the 2014 Renault Koleos:
- Three variants: 4x2 MT, 4x4 MT and 4x4 AT
- New grille and front bumper
- Newly designed 17-inch alloy wheels
- Top-end diesel engine is retuned for better power, torque and efficiency
- New Maple Red color
- Engine and gearbox are assembled in India
On the outside, Renault has given the Koleos a new grille and new alloy wheel design. This is as far as changes go. You can't help but think that certain areas of the Koleos look dated and a generation old, especially the rear end of the car.
There are no changes to the interiors of the refreshed Koleos.
Engine and Gearbox:
Power for the top-end Koleos 4x4 AT comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine putting out 173 PS and 360 Nm of torque, which is 23 PS and 40 Nm more than the earlier version. The added horses don’t have a drastic impact in the way the Koleos accelerates. Flat out acceleration is acceptable for a car of this size, but its the gearbox that spoils the experience.
It’s extremely slow shifting and in certain instances, even jerky. Overtaking manuevres are better handled slotting the gearlever into the manual tiptronic mode. Overall, even with added power and torque, the Koleos still feels a bit sluggish, while the automatic gearbox is a bit dumb-witted in downshifting.
Ride and Handling:
The Koleos has good ride quality and should be comfortable over most surfaces. The handling is safe and predictable, although the steering feel leaves much to be desired.
The diesel 4x4 AT is claimed to deliver 14.56 km/l. While our driving conditions were not ideal, our test car managed 7.35 km/l.
The base 4x2 Koleos MT is priced at INR 21.3 lakhs and straight-away there is a problem (two actually). The first problem comes in the form of proper, seven-seat, three-row SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner, which have built a formidable reputation for being the default choice for any 20 lakh SUV buyer. The Koleos on its part doesn’t excel in any particular department to warrant consideration over these full-sized SUVs.
The next problem comes in the form of affordable luxury cars like the Audi Q3 S and Mercedes B Class diesel. Given the success of these premium brands, we're not sure whether a 20 lakh rupee car buyer will fork out the same moolah for a Renault, when he/she can drive something more prestigious, which is also better engineered. The dual-clutch 7-speed automatic of the B Class diesel is miles ahead of the Koleos's 6-speed torque converter in terms of refinement and efficiency for example.
On this top-end 4x4 AT which costs nearly INR 25 lakhs, its hard to figure out what you're paying for. The superb sounding Bose music system aside, the Koleos did not drive in a manner, nor did its interiors offer a high-end car feel, in order for us to recommend it.
The Koleos is clearly over-priced for what it offers. If you really want a high-end (high-end in comparative terms to say a Duster) five seat crossover, it’s better to opt for the Skoda Yeti.