With a gaping SUV-sized hole in its product line-up Renault introduced the Koleos in 2007, to a lukewarm reception - it felt very much like the stopgap it represented. Still, using sister company Nissan's X-Trail as a base made sense, though the rugged looks of its Nissan relation were lost in translation to French. The Koleos is a curious looker, part MPV, part hatchback and not much in the way of chunky SUV. That might go some way to explaining why Renault pulled it off sale after only a short three-year run.
Three short years is all the time the Koleos was on sale in Ireland. Renault's SUV never quite made the impact the firm expected, it quietly dropping off the price lists before its first facelift, though that car remains on sale across parts of Europe.
Like many SUVs in the class it aimed to compete in the Koleos was offered in both front- and four-wheel drive forms. The trim lines followed the Renault norm, including Dynamique at the entry point, rising up through to top specification Privilege. Even those entry-level Dynamiques came reasonably equipped, with air conditioning, alloy wheels, six airbags and cruise control.
Engines included a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder, or a pair of 2.0-litre dCi turbodiesels; no prizes for guessing which of that lot were chosen by Irish buyers. So the 2.0-litre dCi is all you're likely to find in the classifieds; it was offered in both 150- and 172hp forms, the lower power unit the only one offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox in place of the standard six-speed manual.
Renault's expertise in the MPV market is apparent inside, the rear seats folding via its 'superfold' system. The diesel is refined, though needs working pretty hard, and despite its SUV stance the Koleos actually drives with real agility in the bends. That steeply raked rear screen does eat into boot space though, the Koleos not offering quite the practicality of its many, more prevalent, rivals.
There's only really one choice, that being the 2.0-litre dCi in 150hp guise. With trims, be guided by availability and budget, as the Koleos is a rare spot in the classifieds and all come with a generous amount of equipment.
Renault Koleos 2.0 dCi 150hp (2009 figures)
Engine: 1,995cc four-cylinder turbodiesel
Maximum speed: 183km/h
0-100km/h: 10.0 seconds
Fuel economy: 6.8 litres/100km
Euro NCAP: ***** (2008)
- Good refinement
- Agile in corners, fine ride comfort
- Useful fold-flat rear seats
- Not very exciting to look at
- Boot space not vast
- Very few around
Short-lived, if not without merit, the Koleos might be an unusual sight in the classifieds, but that rarity does mean they're relatively cheap. If you want an SUV that doesn't really look like one, then this might be just the thing...