We spent a few days driving the Renault Renault Koleos Dynamique CVT, which is the largest SUV on offer from the French carmaker. We share our thoughts on the model in the report below.

New appearance

In 2020 Renault South African introduced the facelited Koleos to the local market. The facelift included chrome embellishments on the front grille, a more pronounced skid plate on the lower part of the bumper and LED treatment for Renault’s signature ‘C-shaped’ headlamps. Changes at the rear include a skid plate extending higher on the bumper and transverse chrome insets. The third stop light has been extended. Newly designed two-tone 18-inch alloys have also been adopted.

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Cushy cabin

The changes on the outside will only really be noticed by those who know Renault’s products really well. Changes on the inside are spotted/felt far more easily. Sliding into the cabin of the Renault Renault Koleos Dynamique one immediately senses the use of premium materials.

Upgrades to the interior include satin chrome inserts on the steering wheel, gear lever and air vents. Foamed materials on the dashboard and door trims feel soft to the touch. Leather covered seats and armrests add to the high-end feel of the Koleos. The front chairs on Dynamique versions have six-way power adjustment and lumbar adjustability. Front cup holders can be chilled or heated.

Read our review of the Renault Megane RS Cup at this link.

Centre stage on the facia is taken by the 8,7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Apart from the usual connectivity (USB/Bluetooth) it also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The on-screen smartphone replication is now vertical to mimic your mobile device. There is also a voice recognition system activated from the steering wheel which allows the driver to manage satnav, phone calls, apps, e-mails and radio. The screen also serves as the display for the rear-facing camera.

The cabin feels extremely roomy. There is an abundance of head- and knee room for front and rear seat occupants. Renault quotes a massive 464 litres of boot space, which we can attest to as it just seemed to swallow up all the luggage we could throw into it for a long weekend. Incidentally, the tailgate is electrically powered. 

Naturally aspirated

Renault has stuck with its 2,5-litre inline four-cylinder engine for the Koleos range. Every variant in the range has the same naturally aspirated motor that produces 126 kW/233 N.m of torque. This engine can sound a tad loud at idle, so much so that one occupant asked if the engine is diesel-fed. The noise does dissipate once on the move.

The engine is mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which may be the car’s most notable shortcoming. The CVT blunts the large motor’s power delivery somewhat and one really needs to really mash the throttle to make swift progress. There are no “steps” in the transmission, as some manufacturers have taken to programming in, so there is that typical ‘slipping clutch’ sensation when you prod the gas.

Easy going

The Renault Renault Koleos Dynamique rides with aplomb which is typical of a large French car. The primary ride (ie over the general road undulations) is cushy and soft. Sharper road imperfections are, initially, absorbed by those plump tyres and the soft suspension settings. One can tell that Renault engineers steered away from any sort of sporty suspension settings when finalising the Koleos. We must admit that some of the road imperfections can be heard through the suspension.

Summary

The SUV segment is one of the most packed, and fastest growing, of the SA new car market. Those who choose not to play in this sector lose ground to their nearest rivals. Over the last decade Renault SA has grown markedly by offering a raft of SUVs, from the Captur and Duster to the Sandero and Koleos there’s an option at just about any price point. 

The Renault Koleos Dynamique CVT is a worthy model to lead the French family of SUVs. It is keenly priced against its main rivals, such as the Toyota Rav4, and when you factor in the standard five-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty as well as a five-year/90 000 km service plan it makes a compelling case for itself.

Model: Renault Koleos Dynamique CVT

Price: R514 900

Engine: 2,5-litre inline four

Transmission: CVT, FWD

Max power: 126 kW

Max torque: 233 N.m

Top speed: 185 km/h

0-100 km/h: 9,5 sec

Fuel consumption: 8,1 L/100 km