When we look at the numbers, the Renault Koleos hasn’t really made a huge impact on the Indian market. We find out if the refreshed version can change that statistic.
When you compare the Koleos to the Audi Q3 for example – which is smaller in size – the Koleos doesn’t even come close in terms of sales numbers, despite being cheaper than the Audi. In order to attract more attention, and improve its sales, the French carmaker has launched a face-lifted version of their flagship. The biggest improvement is the engine, which now gets an additional 24 horsepower – to bring the total to 171bhp. The 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder diesel unit also gets a boost in torque, which has been increased to 360Nm. However, both these figures are only available on the 4-wheel drive versions of the Koleos, with the 2-wheel drive manual version offering only 148bhp and 320Nm of torque.
When it comes to exterior design, the face-lifted Koleos gets minor tweaks such as a refreshed front grille, a rear spoiler, chrome finish fog lamps, new roof rails, and a new alloy wheel design. On the inside, the changes are quite minor, and the dashboard now gets a new two-tone scheme and controls for hill start assistance and hill decent. Other safety features include six airbags, emergency brake assist, anti-whiplash headrests, electronic stability control, light and rain sensors, ABS with brake assist and EBD. Another noted feature, which isn’t new, is the 8-speaker Bose sound system that provides a truly wondrous musical experience. The Koleos also has plenty of storage space and there are many compartments and storage areas in the cabin, along with a sufficiently large boot.
Once again, as with most other Renault vehicles, the Koleos performs like a star on the roads with its phenomenal ride quality and agile handling abilities – with the SUV providing a driving experience much closer to a conventional sedan than a crossover. But when we approached the hills, it was tough to find much to appreciate about this drivetrain. The 6-speed automatic gearbox – which was the only variant we sampled – is simply too lazy in the manner in which it operates, and doesn’t allow the engine to use its low-end torque. When climbing the mountain roads near Ooty on our test drive route, it was deeply frustrating when trying to power out of sharp hairpin bends. Even when I switched to manual mode, the response just isn’t there! Renault claim to have tweaked the engine significantly, but it doesn’t seem to deliver the response one would expect when looking at the figures.
As far as the trim levels are concerned, Renault has also launched two new versions of the Koleos – which will now be available in four-wheel drive with an automatic and manual gearbox, and two-wheel drive with a manual transmission. And, while we were unable to do any serious off-roading, the Koleos 4×4 automatic variant we were driving does come with the all-mode i transmission system, which includes an electronically controlled differential and a choice of three driving modes – Auto, Lock, and 2WD – so you can expect it to provide decent off-road performance.
While the increased power from the four-wheel drive variant is a welcome addition, we would recommend opting for the manual rather than the lazy automatic gearbox. And while the refreshed Koleos does offer an attractive package, what will continue to prevent it from surging up the sales charts is its premium pricing.
- Renault Koleos
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual & 6-Speed Automatic / 2wd & 4wd
Power: 148Bhp @ 4,000rpm (2wd) / 17bhp @ 3,750rpm (4wd)
Torque: 320nm @ 2,000rpm (2wd) / 360nm @ 2,000rpm (4wd)
Price: Rs. 21.30-24.98 Lakhs (Ex Showroom, Delhi)