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Driven: Koleos touted as Renault top seller

French flair: The new-generation Renault Koleos shares its underpinnings, including its powertrain, with the Nissan X-Trail.

Keen pricing leads Renault to believe Koleos will lead line-up

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Renault logo2 Sep 2016

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

AUSTRALIA has become the first market in the world to launch the second-generation Renault Koleos, which has already been pegged to become the brand’s top seller thanks to an aggressive pricing push in a popular segment.

The Koleos survives as Renault’s only remaining South Korean-built product following a cull of the Fluence small sedan and Latitude large sedan, but according to Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar it aided a push to bring the new medium SUV to market from $29,990 plus on-road costs.

It also allowed for higher specification across the three-tier Koleos range that comprises Life 4x2, Zen in $33,990 4x2 or $36,490 4x4, and $43,490 Intens 4x4 model grades, each with a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT).

“We really argued the case that Koleos should be the vehicle that really leads our charge on continuing to win share and win volume in Australia,” Mr Hocevar told GoAuto at the national media launch of the Koleos in northern New South Wales this week.

“We have the free-trade agreement advantage of getting our car out of South Korea (and) the time to market, the total business case when you talk about the working capital required, your volume planning and mix planning, is certainly far more efficient coming out of South Korea.

“We pushed quite hard to get to that (entry) price point and prior to launch the dialogue became quite intense over the last six months around pricing.”

The Koleos Life 4x2 features 17-inch alloy wheels with full-size steel spare, foglights with cornering light function, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, rearview camera, 7.0-inch touchscreen with R-Link multimedia system and voice control, cloth trim, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic headlights and wipers.

A $4000 premium to the Koleos Zen 4x2 – expected to be the most popular model grade – buys 18-inch alloy wheels, leatherette trim with an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and front heating, keyless auto-entry with push-button start and electric park brake, satellite navigation and rear privacy glass.

Optional packages on the Zen 4x2 and 4x4 include a panoramic sunroof and auto-dimming rearview mirror ($1990), and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with blind-spot warning and forward collision warning ($1490).

Such equipment is standard on the 4x4-only Intens in addition to LED headlights with auto high-beam, auto park assistance with front and side parking sensors, auto tailgate, leather trim with an electrically adjustable passenger seat and front ventilation, rear USB charging points and 8.7-inch touchscreen with 12-speaker Bose audio system.

Mr Hocevar acknowledged that Renault had not traditionally focused on offering among the highest equipment compared with more price-focused rivals, but he believed this tact with the Koleos would help it become a brand best-seller.

“It’s highly probable this will become our best-selling vehicle based on the segment size and the price,” he continued.

“We always have targets … we’d like to achieve around 200 units per month (and) once we’ve got our full line-up it could be about double what we were doing in the final year (of previous Koleos).”

In 2015 the Koleos achieved 1419 sales behind the Clio (2767), Captur (1614), Master (1510) and Megane (1426), although Mr Hocevar confessed that a new generation of the latter small hatchback arriving in a few weeks could rival it.

“Maybe when we’ve got the complete Megane family launched you could say the whole family comes together in its variants to challenge it (the Koleos) but even then it would be lineball I’d say,” he added.

The second Koleos is significantly larger than the outgoing model, stretching 152mm further (at 4672mm long) and it rides on a wheelbase increased by 15mm to 2705mm.

It is built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s Compact Modular Family (CMF) platform that most closely underpins the Nissan X-Trail.

Both offer the same petrol engine with 126kW of power produced at 6000rpm and 226Nm of torque developed at 4400rpm. All Koleos variants utilise an identical CVT, however 4x2 variants claim 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds (three-tenths quicker than the 4x4) with an ADR combined cycle fuel consumption average of 8.1L/100km (0.3L/100km thriftier).

Every Koleos also claims to provide the same 11.2-metre turning circle and a MacPherson strut front and multi-link independent rear suspension set-up, with the 4x4 versions using the same three-mode (4x2, Auto 4x4, and Lock 4x4) all-wheel-drive system as its Nissan counterpart.

Also like its X-Trail sibling, Mr Hocevar confirmed the Koleos will feature a diesel engine from next year but he conceded there were no plans to match the Nissan’s seven-seat capability.

“It’s highly likely that we will introduce a diesel mid next year (although) it’s not available yet,” he said.

“(But) we have no visibility of seven seater, and certainly for the large SUV category a seven-seater is quite important but in this medium SUV segment it’s about 4.0 per cent of the market.”

The Renault claims to provide a 458-litre boot volume compared with 558L for the X-Trail, but Mr Hocevar believes the European styling of the Koleos will be a priority for buyers of the French-badged vehicle.

Renault also provides a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and annual servicing intervals with a condition based monitoring system that will allow the Koleos to go up to 30,000km between checks.

Mr Hocevar cited “policy differences” as the reason for the difference to the mechanically identical X-Trail’s 10,000km intervals.

As part of the brand’s capped-price service program the first three services cost $299 each.

2016 Renault Koleos pricing*
Life 4x2 (a)$29,990
Zen 4x2 (a)$33,990
Zen 4x4 (a)$36,490
Intens 4x4 (a)$43,490
*Excludes on-road costs

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