1 Sep 2008
THE arrival of the Japanese Nissan X-Trail-based, South Korean-built, French-badged Renault Koleos in two and four-wheel-drive layouts, with diesel and petrol engines and the choice of manual, automatic and CVT transmissions signalled the first tangible result of Renault’s nine-year alliance with Nissan.
The five-star Euro NCAP crash-rated Koleos came with the choice of 2.5-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel engines, mated to three transmissions: six-speed auto, six-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The range-topping equipment grade was Privilege (available only as a 4x4 petrol CVT), which improved on the basic Dynamique specification by picking mod-cons like beige leather, heated front seats, a powered driver's seat, front and rear parking sensors, a Bose sound system and a Modularity Pack, which included numerous rear-seat storage and adjustment possibilities.
Both two- and four-wheel drive Koleos variants had a 2000kg towing capacity, with the exception of the 2.0-litre diesel linked to a six-speed automatic (in which case it was 1350kg).
In conjunction with the six-speed manual, the diesel delivered 127kW of power and 360Nm of torque, however, six-speed automatic versions were deliberately detuned to 110kW and 320Nm to protect the auto transmission from overheating.
The petrol engine produced 126kW of power at 6000rpm and 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm.
All-wheel-drive was reserved for the 2.5-litre petrol with the CVT transmission and both the manual and auto versions of the diesel.
The 4x4 system included Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) functions. While HSA prevented the vehicle from rolling, HDC maintained progress at 7km/h without the need to use the brakes - both on gradients of more than 10 per cent.
A switch on the centre dash enabled the driver to select between auto mode, in which the front/rear torque split was electronically controlled according to demand, or lock mode, with drive fixed at a constant 50/50 front/rear torque split. A further option was to employ a front-drive-only mode.
The Koleos came with a horizontally-split tailgate, with the bottom half able to support up to 200kg. On top of a functional and practical interior there were up to 70 litres of storage space, including a chilled 15-litre glove compartment.