By Patrick James on 2018-03-04 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Signature dCi 175
RENAULT'S flagship SUV is having a second attempt at wooing the British SUV/Crossover buying public.
The Koleos first made an appearance around 2008, a bit a departure for the French firm renowned for its smaller cars and MPVs like the Scenic and Espace.
Poor sales led to its demise, which was a shame because it was an excellent car. I had extended use of one and my daughter was persuaded to buy one. It probably just about missed out on the current boom in crossover sales.
Renault's latest offering is the third in the range of its crossovers which include the Kadjar and the smaller Captur.
Available in front wheel or all wheel drive, it is available in two trims, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav and a choice of two diesel engines, a 1.6-litre dCi 130 and 2.0-litre dCi 175, with the latter the most powerful in the Renault range with a huge 380Nm of torque or pulling power.
Both are economical, with the lower powered model offering a claimed 57.6mpg with lowish emissions of 128g/km. There is also the choice of six-speed manual or on this model a 'seven-speed' CVT automatic gearbox.
Exterior styling is eye catching with prominent grille featuring the signature vertically positioned diamond logo and flanked with slender light clusters surrounded by C-shaped LED daytime running lights.The rear end is also impressive with tail lights which wrap over the rear wings and dual exhaust tailpipes. Chrome inserts, subtle roof bars and diamond cut alloys add that extra touch of class.
A big car, it offers five seats only, but has generous interior space and comfort for both front and rear occupants.
Rear passengers also benefit from dual air vents, dual USBs, a central armrest with cupholders and extra tinted rear windows.
The fixtures and fittings are right up there with the best with quality soft touch finish, comfortable seats, large glass area and robust and logical switchgear and controls.
Centrepiece is the 8.7-inch vertical tablet style central touch screen.
This controls functions such as navigation, climate, infotainment and connectivity, including Rentault's R-LINK 2 with Live Traffic updates plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity.
Other neat touches abound on this range-topper with the heated steering wheel (optional) and seats, automatic parking feature, electric powered panoramic sunroof and heated and ventilated cup holders and a good sound system.
It is a practical motor with excellent stowage of 458 litres in the boot which can be expanded to a huge 1,690 with the one-touch rear seats folded. Access is a breeze through the powered tailgate.
On the road, the 175bhp turbodiesel is mightily impressive. A refined unit it races to 60mph in 9.5 seconds. Good acceleration and the extra torque means it cruises well and overtakes comfortably at higher motorway speeds. This model's claimed mpg is around 48mpg which on an extended run, for once didn't seem far off the mark.
With its commanding road presence, it is never going be comfortable leaning into corners, but feels stable enough if not pushed too hard, while the steering is sharp and direct. As a family car, you want comfort and the ride certainly provides that.
Safety kit is comprehensive with the usual array of airbags, plus traction and stability control aided by blind spot warning, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and a host of other active and passive measures.
At £34,200 is't not cheap but is hugely competitive in its segment given the comprehensive list of kit available.
Renault Koleos Signature dCi 175 4x4 X-Tronic
Mechanical: 175bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.9
C02 emissions: 156g/km
Bik rating: 33%
Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles
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