By Mike Torpey on 2018-04-01 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Renault Koleos dCi
175 Signature Nav
FANS of crossover models and 4x4s have just about seen it all as the SUV scene heads toward saturation.
Coming up with a new offering that can trump the opposition becomes increasingly more difficult - to the point that image, taste or price ends up proving the clincher.
But Renault has pulled an ace out of its pack with the all-new Koleos, a vehicle that offers fans of the French brand the best of both worlds.
The company describes this bigger brother to the Captur and Kadjar models as having the 'rugged capability of an SUV with the elegant refinement of a large executive saloon'.
There's even more to the Koleos than that though, and it concerns a a recurring theme in the expanding world of Renault.
Back in the late 1990s punters were sold the Clio supermini under the guise of Size Matters - a campaign that was dropped after three years in favour of a bit more Va Va Voom.
The point of it all was to underline the French manufacturer's priority over maximising passenger space - and in that regard the Koleos is a God-send to family motoring.
During the model's design process, exceptional interior space for five was a particular focus.
Big numbers like an overall length of 4,672mm and wheelbase of 2,705mm may sound meaningless, but the upshot is terrific space throughout the cabin.
In fact rear legroom is among the best in its area of the market - one which includes the likes of the Audi Q5 and the Land Rover Discovery - and the gaping 579-litre boot extends to 1,795 litres with the seats dropped.
The centre rear position is comfortable, which is never certain even with full-size crossovers, and passengers in the back also benefit from dual air vents, a pair of USBs - with two more up front - plus a central armrest with cupholders.
Go for top spec Signature Nav and there's also a powered tailgate, or if your hands are full waving a foot under the bumper will do the same job.
You also get plush leather upholstery, wood inserts in the dash and an 8.7-inch vertical touchscreen with sat-nav plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity while a 13-speaker BOSE sound system and Hands Free Parking are available on Signature Nav.
Beneath the bonnet is a choice of 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel engines, the latter developing 177bhp and available with a seven-speed CVT automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive.
This was the unit featured in the test model, a strong and spirited powerplant capable of 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds while returning an official 47.9 miles per gallon.
To post 42.1mpg given the amount of urban driving I carried out was pretty impressive for a car of this size.
An electric parking brake, keycard opening and starting and a reversing camera are standard fit along with automatic emergency braking, lane departure and blind spot systems.
All in all the Koleos is a smart, sophisticated and spacious piece of kit that will also tackle muddy sports fields or pitted rural tracks with the minimum of fuss.
Renault Koleos dCi 175 Signature Nav 4x4 X-Tronic
Mechanical: 175bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via X-Tronic automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.9
Insurance Group: 27
C02 emissions: 156g/km
Bik rating: 36%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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