A NEW flagship SUV has set sail from the port of Renault - and the Koleos looks more than capable of taking on the fleet of competitors pitted against it.
Sitting at the top of a range that also includes the medium-sized Kadjar and smaller Captur, the French motor group's king-size crossover is a quality individual.
It is a large motor but handles its bulk well thanks to a sporty stance and swooping lines which, combined with an appealing front end featuring a natty grille and distinctive LED headlights, make it easy on the eye.
The Koleos is not just a pretty face though as muscular wheelarches and chunky alloys ensure it looks ready to take on the motoring world. The rear of the Dynamique S Nav model I drove features a handy powered tailgate with a spoiler at the top as well as stylish light clusters.
Put your hand on the door handle and the car unlocks automatically allowing you to slide on to the comfortable and supportive seat.
You immediately appreciate the amount of space available as well as the modern design that provides an atmosphere of calm.
The digital instrument cluster looks impressive but the star of the show is a vertically-mounted colour touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard that gives easy access to the satellite navigation - backed up with TomTom live traffic updates - and audio system.
Hooking the car up to your smartphone is easy thanks to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and there are four connections for other personal electronic devices.
The fan and dual zone climate control options are also accessed via the touchscreen helping to reduce the numbers of dials and buttons on the dashboard.
Oher goodies fitted as standard include a reversing camera, an electric parking brake plus keycard opening and starting, as well as high tech safety systems such as blind spot and lane departure alerts and automatic emergency braking.
Renault ensure the family-sized five seater sports a top-class cabin using plenty of soft-touch plastics and part leather upholstery.
There is lots of room for five adults and bags of storage with deep door bins and a seven-litre covered cubby under the centre armrest part of a team offering 35 litres of space for your odds and sods.
The boot can cope with 579 litres of whatever you choose to throw in the back with 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs allowing this to be increased to 1,795 litres.
There will be no problem getting volunteers for the rear seats as both head and legroom are excellent while two USB charging ports and a 12-volt power socket allow everyone the opportunity to charge up their devices.
The Koleos is a responsive beast considering its bulk with sharp steering and good levels of grip leaving it anything but shabby when it comes to taking corners. Body roll is well contained and the ride is firm without being uncomfortable.
The 175bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet of my test car comes with four-wheel drive while the super smooth seven-speed CVT automatic gearbox is an optional extra worth considering.
The oil burner offers lively performance with 0 to 60mph achieved in 9.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 125mph while fuel economy is claimed at 47.9mpg - a figure I got reasonably close to - with carbon dioxide emissions of 156g/km.
Despite the 4x4 capability the Koleos is not an out-and-out mud plugger - there's a hill holder to help with upward gradients but traditional braking is the order of the day for descents.
Should you find yourself in a muddy field though the Koleos can get you out of it with the handy addition of doors designed to protect the sills keeping muck away from your smart clothes when entering and exiting the vehicle.