FRENCH car makers have been playing catch-up to some extent in the SUV sector but they're certainly making up for lost time.
Peugeot and Citroen are expanding their offerings apace and Renault recently launched its third SUV/crossover in the shape of the Koleos.
It follows on from the all-conquering Captur and the larger Kadjar.
The Koleos is larger still and hopes to be a serious contender to compete against the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge and Nissan X-Trail.
Interestingly it shares its underpinnings with the X-Trail but the two vehicles have more than enough about them that's genuinely different to set them apart.
In an increasingly congested segment it's good to be able to ensure your contender stands out and the Renault designers have done a decent job with the Koleos.
It has more than a flourish of familiar Renault family design DNA, echoing the sleek lines of the Megane estate.
With any SUV the less boxy it can be made to look is a bonus and the Koleos certainly manages that.
However it does so without compromising practicality.
As a family car it offers a large cabin and a huge amount of boot space (579 litres - increasing to 1,795 litres with the seats folded), though it arguably loses out to some competitors in this class by not offering a third row of seats.
Quality is to the fore in the cabin of the Koleos, though this range-topping Signature model came with a lot of kit, upping the premium ante somewhat.
A clear digital instrument cluster offers visual appeal and clarity and there's a snazzy colour touchscreen from which you can control many of the car's functions.
It might be incidental but the ambient lighting adds a nice touch and I enjoyed altering the interior colour to suit my mood or the time of day.
I also really liked the automatic locking and unlocking feature. Approach the car with the key on your person and the door opens and conversely it locks when you walk away from it. At the risk of sounding lazy it's amazing how convenient that is once you get used to it.
This car also had a reversing camera which was a handy and perhaps even a necessity given the Koleos's overall bulk.
Safety features such as blind spot and lane departure alerts and automatic emergency braking provided welcome reassurance.
There are two engines available both diesel. There's a 128bhp 1.6-litre and a 173bhp 2.0-litre. Both are decent performers but the larger unit fitted to this car proved both a potent and smooth performer.
The Koleos offers a decent enough drive. If you want a large-ish SUV you'll need to be prepared to make some handling compromises as pitch and roll pretty much go with the territory.
That said it goes round corners well enough at speed, the ride is composed and the driving experience is enhanced by a decent steering set-up characterised by lightness at low speeds and firmness at higher ones.
As with many of the current crop of SUVs four-wheel drive does not come as standard but this Signature version is fitted with twin axle drive.