RENAULT has been circling the wagons since re-entering the market back in 2001, looking for a way in.
It’s had success with some models, but must be wondering what it needs to crack the Aussie scene.
The Koleos, for example, has been a big success overseas but has failed to fire here.
We can’t understand why because it’s got everything going for it.
Prices for Koleos start from $29,990 driveaway for the two-wheel drive petrol model.
The 4x4 diesel is offered in the one Dynamique grade, which is middle of the range, priced from $40,990.
And Melville Renault is offering a zero interest payment deal.
You get pretty much everything. Leather, dual climate and satellite navigation are standard with this model. Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, rear parking sensors, cruise with speed limiter, auto lights and wipers, and 140W sound system are also standard.
Exclusive to the Koleos Dynamique is an innovative child-minder mirror which allows the driver to easily view the rear seat occupants.
You get a choice of 2.5litre petrol or 2.0litre diesel four-cylinder engines.
The diesel kicks out 110kW and 320Nm of torque from a low 2000 revs, compared with the petrol engine’s 126kW/226Nm.
It’s hooked up to a six-speed auto that allows the driver to change gears manually if desired.
The benefits of diesel in the compact SUV segment are not quite as apparently.
They cost significantly more (in this case $3000) and don’t offer nearly as much savings at the pump, but diesel is still our preferred option.
The big difference is the diesel’s high torque output because it’s the difference between relaxed and frenetic driving.
With almost 100Nm more torque delivered at much lower revs, it means you don’t have to push the diesel as hard to achieve the same result.
It’s a very smooth and remarkably fuel-efficient engine, with a biggish fuel tank that’s going to take you a long way.
Compared with the original Koleos, the diesel engine offers an 8.5 per cent increase in fuel economy and emits 9.5 per cent less CO2.
Claimed fuel economy is 7.6 litres/100km (equivalent petrol model is 9.5). We’ve been getting an impressive 6.6 litres/100km from the 65-litre tank.
Renault has been one of the front runners in making their vehicles as safe as possible and the Koleos benefits from a full array of passive and active safety systems, with a five-star Euro crash rating.
It also comes with a full-size alloy spare.