Renault - Koleos Great car at great price
Full confession. When I first drove the Koleos three years ago I couldn't get away from the fact that it cost nearly €60k. At short notice Renault had arranged for a fully loaded version to be handed over.
The bells and whistles added €20k and I couldn't get that final price tag out of my head all week. It clouded my judgement because I ended up writing a negative review. I acknowledged it's size and beauty and slickness to drive but I could not fathom how anyone would pay so much for a Renault and why it wasn't available in a seven-seat version.
And while I was right about the finished asking price, I have to admit that I should have spent more time focussing on the positives because there were a lot.
Fast forward to the autumn of 2020 and I am back behind the wheel of the beast. It has had a facelift and a few tweaks inside making it even nicer to drive and even better looking.
This wasn't your average test drive either. The day after I collected the car I took it on our family's summer staycation…four nights in sunny Portrush in Co. Antrim which involved day trips to various sites in Northern Ireland.
There were long motorway stints and regular jaunts along meandering country roads. I had to park it in multi-storey carparks and on a sandy dirt track near Port Stewart. And all the while it was towing a family of four and enough clothes and holiday paraphernalia for way longer than four days. It didn't get a minute's peace and it thrived under the testing conditions.
In fact it became a home from home as the extra space in the front and backrows was fully utilised and appreciated.
So what do you get? Well, you get a whole load of car even when they don't load it up with every single extra feature and gadget, like Renault did with my original test car three years ago. The entry level vehicle will currently get you pocket change from €40k (after you factor in the manufacturer's current €1,000 cashback scheme) but my test vehicle would cost €44,065.
A few nice extras thrown in but not enough to hike the asking price into premium brand SUV levels, which is exactly where this car should sit in the market. The lack of a seven-seat option will definitely alienate a few buyers. As will the badge on the front grille. But this is a great car and if you treat it as it is…a giant five-seater then you will have to consider it.
For your money you get 18" alloys, lovely new C-shape day-running lights, electric and heated door mirrors, front fog lights with chrome surrounding, tinted windows, black leather and cloth upholstery, heated/cooled cup holders, ambient lighting, automatic Dual Zone climate control, and quick-folding rear seats.
It is compatible with Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay and they have obviously continued with their R-Link 2 multimedia system that is housed behind a 7" touchscreen with built in TomTom LIVE services and Western European mapping.
That's the fun stuff. The as-standard list of safety functions and features is even longer but highlights that can't go unmentioned include an electronic parking brake, an active emergency breaking system, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, over-speed prevention with traffic sign recognition, hands-free parking and a much-needed rear parking camera with front and rear sensors.
This comes with so much kit and is a stunning looking SUV. And contrary to my previous take on it back in November 2017 I do now think it is good value while being more attractive to look at and with more as-standard features to boot.
Where I do think it will fall down though is not having the seven-seat option but if that doesn't bother you and you are looking for something with a little more va va voom than your bog-standard family car then this is a serious contender for you. I certainly don't want to wait three years before I am back behind the wheel again.