RENAULT Australia has launched a significantly upgraded version of its slow-selling Koleos in an attempt to gain more traction in the important compact SUV segment.
The midlife update combines freshened frontal styling, new interior trims and a greater range of standard equipment, with the same entry-level price but increases of up to $1000 on other variants.
The French brand also claims to have improved the fuel economy and reduced the carbon dioxide emissions of the carryover 2.0-litre dCi turbo-diesel engine option.
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said the updated Koleos should sell in far greater numbers than the current model, which so far this year has accounted for just 0.4 per cent market share in Australia’s third-largest segment.
As GoAuto has reported, Renault is currently the fastest-growing major automotive brand in Australia, with sales up 89.8 per cent to the end of October.
However, Koleos sales are down 38.3 per cent this year.
“We know the original Koleos was under-appreciated in Australia, and the revisions to styling and the additional features we have loaded into it mean we will be able to attract more interest in the Phase II versions,” Mr Hocevar said.
“We are confident that the attractive body, attractive feature list and attractive price points for these new models will result in far more Renault Koleos crossovers exploring the great Australian countryside in the very near future.”
The new-look model loses the split ‘nostril’ grille of the previous version in favour of a bolder chrome unit flanked by sleeker headlights and the door mirrors on all variants now incorporate LED indicators. From the side and the rear, however, the Koleos looks no different.
Pricing kicks off at an unchanged $28,490 ($29,990 driveaway) for six-speed manual Expression variants, while higher-specified Dynamique and Privilege models now cost slightly more in return for added value.
Available exclusively in front-drive guise, base Expression variants pick up a claimed $1490 of extra features including integrated sat-nav, dual-zone climate-control and aluminium cabin highlights.
The volume-selling Dynamique variant additionally gains electrically adjustable black leather seats with contrast stitching and the previously optional Modularity Pack, which includes a quick-release flat-floor seat-folding system, a multifunction centre console, a rear centre armrest, a forward-folding front passenger seat that forms a table, and adjustable lateral rear air vents.
Renault claims these additions add up to an extra $3150 of value in return for a $1000 price increase.
Dynamique options include automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, a larger sound system and an automatic parking brake.
Flagship Privilege variants now cost an extra $500 and gain bi-Xenon headlights with cornering function and headlight washer jets, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
A new beige interior with contrasting brown dash is a no-cost Privilege option, while extra-cost options include front parking sensors, hands-free entry and start, heated front seats, a Bose sound system and panoramic sunroof.
All Koleos models can also be had in a lairy new colour called Cayenne Orange.
As before, Koleos standard features include cruise control, ‘see me home’ headlights, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a seven-function trip computer, full-size spare wheel, clever split-folding clamshell-style rear tailgate, an array of cubby holes that offer a claimed 70 litres of cabin stowage and a chilled 15-litre glovebox.
The sharply raked rear window line means the boot volume is limited to 450 litres, but this increases to 1380 litres thanks to the flat-folding 60/40-split rear seats.
Standard safety fare includes ABS with brake-assist, electronic stability control, six airbags and anti-whiplash front headrests – enough for a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Power for most variants in the line-up continues to come from a Nissan-sourced 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – also used in the Japanese brand’s X-Trail – that produces 126kW of power at 6000rpm and 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm and is matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox (Expression only) or CVT automatic transmission.
The output of the 2.0-litre dCi common-rail turbo-diesel – offered only in mid-range Dynamique four-wheel-drive variants – is unchanged, with 110kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm at a low 2000rpm.
It forgoes the CVT from the petrol models in favour of a conventional six-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Renault claims to have improved diesel fuel economy by 8.5 per cent over the previous model to 7.6 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions are down from 221 grams per kilometre to 200g/km – a reduction of 9.5 per cent.
The carryover 4x4 drivetrain available as an option on the Dynamique and as standard with the Privilege features the ‘All Mode’ system from the Nissan X-Trail, which automatically adjusts the power distribution between the front and rear wheels depending on driving conditions.
A dashboard switch can activate ‘lock’ mode, which directs 50 per cent of engine torque to the rear wheels at speeds of less than 40km/h in rough terrain. The system also offers a 2WD-only mode.
Ground clearance is 204mm for petrol versions and 186mm for the diesel, while the approach and departure angles on all variants are 27 and 31 degrees respectively. All 4x4 models also come standard with Hill Start Assist and a Hill Descent Control off-road braking aid.
The Koleos combines MacPherson strut front suspension with a fully independent multilink set-up at the rear.
Keep an eye out for our first drive impressions of the revised Koleos, which will be published on Wednesday, November 30.