Renault Koleos

Published: 28 September 2006

The lowdown

Renault boss Carlos Ghosn today unveiled the latest fruits of the Renault/Nissan alliance at the Paris Motor Show: the Renault Koleos concept, the French firm’s first steps into soft-roader territory. Despite being a concept, the Koleos closely mirrors the production car. The Koleos is an incredibly important vehicle for Renault, taking it into the crossover 4×4 market, and being a key player in La Regie’s bid to release 26 cars by 2009 – ‘to rejuvenate, extend and revitalize our product range,’ according to Ghosn.

How it looks

The Koleos was penned by Renault designers working in collaboration with the Renault Samsung Motors Design Centre in Korea. That explains why the Koleos will first go on sale in Korea wearing a Samsung badge. For a Renault, the Koleos looks handsome but conservative, far less eye-catching that the company’s volume models. Yes, the concept gets LED headlights, wacky mirrors and a glazed roof, but the body holds few surprises. It is nicely sculpted, though.

Chassis and engine

The project is the result of the Renault/Nissan Alliance, with Nissan developing the all-new four-wheel drive underpinnings (also bound for the next generation Nissan X-Trail). The 2.0-litre dCi engine delivers 180hp through a six-speed manual gearbox and is fully Euro 4 compliant. With 200mm ground clearance, Hill Down Control and Hill Start Assist, the Koleos promises to be okay on the muddy stuff. It can run in two or four-wheel drive mode.

The inside story

Compared to the restrained exterior, the interior is far more inkeeping with concept car tradition. Climb aboard and you’ll find four individual seats and a two-tone colour scheme. The centre console is made from a transparent material and the centre of the dash is dominated by the navigation system. There’s even an atmospheric pressure monitor – handy for the Chelsea school run. The emphasis is on comfort, space and versatility, with storage space to put an MPV to shame.

How much and when?

The Koleos has a planned UK on-sale date of early 2008. The new model will compete with the new Land Rover Freelander and Honda CRV. Official pricing is yet to be announced, but expect something in the region of £17,500.

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator