We change things up by taking a spin in Renault’s new Koleos Intens 4x4.
WHAT’S THE DEAL?
It mightn’t be the usual vehicle we strap ourselves into here at 4X4 Australia, but when offered the chance to drive Renault’s all-new Koleos, we thought ‘why not?’
The day-to-day commute to 4X4’s headquarters has become quite a drawl thanks to Melbourne’s bottleneck roads, so why not spoil ourselves with a bit of luxury and comfort for a change.
The medium SUV is available in four variants – Life (4x2), Zen (4x2 and 4x4) and Intens (4x4) – with each vehicle utilising Renault’s 2488cc 2.5-litre petrol engine.
We opted for the top-of-range Intens 4x4 for a week of commuting – plus we took it on quick off-road dash for good measure.
The swanky cabin is illuminated by ambient lighting, which can be altered to suit your mood (blue, green, red, pink and yellow).
An 8.7-inch portrait-orientated capacitive touchscreen – with R-LINK 2 media system – is actioned via fingertip controls, which can be fiddly for those of us lacking laser-like dexterity, especially on bumpy trails when you’re jiggling around in the seat. Yes, for urban city driving it’s bearable, but in terms of off-road practicalities, what’s wrong with a turning dial?
The leather-trimmed cabin is sleek, modern and comfortable, with oodles of space. The all-new Koleos affords more space in most areas than the outgoing model: overall length has increased by 152mm to 4672mm; wheelbase by 15mm to 2705mm; rear overhang by 163mm to 1038mm; and rear knee room by 77mm to 289mm. Height has dropped from 1705mm to 1678mm.
The hands-free tailgate opens to provide 458 litres of boot capacity, while there are plenty of storage compartments littered throughout the cabin.
Riding on 18-inch alloys, the Intens 4x4 is definitely more urban steed than outback warrior, so that’s where we spent most of our time with the French monsieur.
The soft suspension tune makes its on-road demeanour smooth, perfect for the day-to-day commute. Put the right foot down, however, and the 2.5-litre donk strains to shift the hefty 1608kg SUV with any real urge. This is especially noticeable on steeper inclines thanks to a lack of low-end torque.
The Intens features a number of driver aids that the lesser models miss out on, including: blind spot warning, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, advanced emergency braking, easy park assist, and side parking sensors. All of which will prove invaluable in Melbourne’s traffic.
The Intens 4x4 shares its architecture with Nissan’s X-Trail, so the credentials as a mild adventure machine are there, but a quick brush on some of Melbourne’s tamed off-road trails established that it’s probably best to stick to highways, hook turns and coffee stops.
Basic underbody protection and the stock-standard suspension tune make it hard to cover any decent form of off-road terrain.
In saying that, it does have quite a good ground clearance of 210mm (the outgoing model had 186mm), so it’ll battle on quite respectably.
All-Mode 4x4-I technology – common on many vehicles within the Renault-Nissan Alliance family – allows drivers to switch between 4x2 and 4x4 driving modes.
In 4x4 mode, torque is automatically split between the front and rear wheels. While a third mode called 4WD Lock initiates permanent all-wheel drive for tricky, slippery surfaces. This mode works at speeds up to 40km/h.
The all-new Koleos comes in several configurations and pricing brackets. The base model Life is only offered in 4x2 configuration and starts from $29,990, the mid-range Zen comes in 4x2 at $33,990 and 4x4 at $36,490, and the top of the range Intens 4x4 starts from $43,490.
It’s chic, stylish, well-priced and spacious, and it’ll take you to your next holiday destination in comfort. So long as that next destination isn’t too remote.
ENGINE: 2.5-litre. 4-cylinder petrol
POWER: 126kW @ 6000rpm
TORQUE: 226Nm @ 4400rpm
TRANSMISSION: CVT auto
BRAKED TOWING CAPACITY: 2000kg
FUEL TANK: 60-litre
FUEL USE: 8.3L/100km (claimed)
GROUND CLEARANCE: 210mm
APPROACH/DEPARTURE: 19/26 degrees