Renault Koleos GT

Line 175 EDC

X-Tronic

Renault Koleos EasyLife actiion
Renault Koleos, front
Renault Koleos, front
Renault Koleos EasyLife static
Renault Koleos, rear
Renault Koleos, boot
Renault Koleos, interior
Renault Koleos, interior rear

RENAULT knows a thing or two about building a family car.

After all, who can forget the Espace which debatably the first real people carrier. Today's Scenic was derived from it and is still on a roll.

And way back when granddad was boy, the Renault 4L - a rough and ready front drive estate with removable hammock-like seats - brought a new practicality to family motoring.

So, the firm's biggest SUV, the Koleos, has some history to live up to. Appealingly priced the five seat, all-wheel-drive five door is competing in an already swollen market place alongside Nissan X-Trail, Ford Kuga and Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.

All tough customers, and the list of rivals might also include smaller premium models such as Audi Q3 and BMW 2-Series, depending on the Koleos's spec level.

Prices start under £30,000 but here we drive the up-spec GT Line 175 X-Tronic four wheel drive (4WD) which carries a price tag of £31,520.

It comes with most of the bells and whistles. Heated front seats, LED headlights, power tailgate, 8.7in touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors.

One thing it's short of is a final row of seats that would increase accommodation to seven. It would have been no problem fitting them in a car as large as this but design chiefs reckoned the demand is limited so the result is a massive cargo area - 579 litres to be precise, which is larger than the Nissan X-Trail with which it shares a platform.

With the rear seats folded there's a cavernous 1,795 litres of space. And of course, Renault has the seven-seater Grand Scenic for those with big families.

The larger of the two diesels available is a 2.0-litre 174bhp which has ample mid-range and low end grunt yet is easy on fuel and provides CO2 levels of 168g/km. The four cylinder engine is mated to an automatic CVT gearbox.

It's a pairing which works well for the big SUV, providing well judged changes which go by almost unnoticed by driver and passengers.

Ride is comfortable with well controlled roll angles and decent bump abortion. The steering lacks feel but is direct enough and pleasantly light around town. There's a fair bit of diesel clatter from the four-pot unit but cruising is quiet enough when you throttle back.

Expect a couple of new diesel engines later in the year and a minor exterior freshening.

The Koleos operates an intelligent four wheel drive system. But in lock mode 4WD is permanently engaged at under 25mph with a 50-50 torque split to front and rear. It's not intended for conquering mountains but would have little problem traversing a muddy gymkhana field or a snowy hillside track.

Despite its size the Koleos is reasonable to run with mpg regularly in the mid-30s. The best I saw was 37.5mpg on a gentle cross country run.

FAST FACTS

Renault Koleos GT Line 175 EDC X-Tronic

Price: £31,520

Mechanical:172bhp, 1,995cc,4cyl diesel engine driving four-wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 126mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 36.2

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions: 168g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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