1 / 10
- Launched: 2016
- Petrol, Diesel
Browse cars on heycar:
- Lots of room for five and their stuff
- Comfortable to drive
- Smaller diesel is economical and punchy
- You can't have seven seats
- Engine range is limited
- Doesn't feel as well made as a Skoda Kodiaq
On the inside
Cost to run
Prices and Specs
Overall verdict on the Renault Koleos
"Based on the the Nissan X-Trail, the Renault Koleos is a big, family-friendly SUV with lots of interior space and plenty of standard equipment. But a limited and pricey variety of trim levels and engines, along with sometimes poor ride quality on 19 inch wheels, restrict its appeal."
In this Renault Koleos review, you'll learn it's only sold with five seats but on the upside the back seat is 1300mm wide and there is masses of rear legroom for older kids or teens - although the standard panoramic glass roof impedes head room for giants. The boot is big, wide and flat with plenty of space for bulky stuff like pushchairs or the spoils weekly shopping trips.
Up front is where the Renault Koleos impresses most, with plush and sturdy materials and plenty of technology. R-Link real-time navigation, a digital instrument display, dual-zone climate control, lane departure warning, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are all standard – but you’d hope for as much since there are only two trim levels. Top models gain luxuries including leather seats and a power tailgate.
The engine range is diesel only, with a 130PS 1.6-litre dCi and a 175PS 2.0-litre dCi. The Renault Koleos is front-wheel drive as standard but, if you need extra traction, the 2.0 dCi is available with all wheel drive and either a six-speed manual or an X-Tronic CVT automatic transmission. Neither diesel engine requires the addition of AdBlue.
Performance is adequate if not spectacular – but engine noise is minimal. As in the smaller Renault Kadjar, acceleration off the line of the 1.6 dCi 130 isn't stunning, but the 175PS 2.0-litre doesn't feel quick enough to justify the extra expense. In 2021 the Koleos' engine range was updated with a 150PS 1.7-litre diesel and a 190PS 2.0-litre diesel.
On the road, the Koleos is easy to drive with light controls and good body control in bends. 18-inch 'Agapi' alloy wheels with 60 profile tyres improve ride quality enormously over the 19-inch wheels. These are standard on base versions and optional on the Signature. But, though precise, the slow steering prevents it from being agile in city driving.
The diesel only engine range and high start price, restricts the appeal of the Renault Koleos. A Skoda Kodiaq has more seats and is more comfortable, while a Nissan X-Trail is cheaper. However, if you can get a good deal on a Renault Koleos it will cope well with family life and comes with plenty of standard equipment.
Is the Renault Koleos right for you?
The Renault Koleos is right for you if you want a big SUV that avoids seven seats in favour of having a huge boot that can swallow almost anything you throw at it. The Renault Koleos setup leans towards comfort and its engines return decent fuel economy while having plenty of power for shifting the car when it is fully loaded. Above average depreciation makes the Renault Koleos a canny second hand purchase with fewer miles on the clock than a same-age rival.
What’s the best Renault Koleos model/engine to choose?
The basic Renault Koleos Iconic is all you need – it comes as standard with lots of kit including keyless entry and start, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, and in-built sat-nav with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We'd also go for the basic engine. The 130PS diesel feels almost as quick as the larger option and delivers better fuel economy to boot.
What other cars are similar to the Renault?
There's no shortage of spacious SUVs to choose from if you're on the hunt for a new family car. The Skoda Kodiaq, SEAT Tarraco and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace all have space for seven people, come with practical and well-designed cabins plus have engines that offer decent performance and don't cost a fortune to run.
The Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 are the SUVs to choose if you want to blend practicality with decent handling, while the Land Rover Discovery Sport is capacious and capable off road. The hybrid Toyota RAV4 is just as roomy and gets great fuel economy and the same could be said of the new Honda CR-V.
Comfort and design: Renault Koleos interior
"The cabin of the Renault Koleos is its best asset. It’s both spacious and well made, plus it comes with a good level of equipment and advanced tech."
Age means the Renault Koleos' design is starting to look a little dated now, but nice touches make up for the trailing aesthetic. Friends can't fail to be wowed by the heated and cooled cupholders – they're standard on all models – and you also get ambient lighting that gives the cabin a cool glow at night.
Iconic models get a mixture of fake leather and fabric upholstery that in fairness feels nicer than the fabric you get in basic versions of the SEAT Tarraco, VW Tiguan and Skoda Kodiaq. GT Line models get touches of real leather on the seats and your seat is also electrically adjustable.
Quality and finish
Up front the layout is neat and classy, with good quality, soft-touch materials. It’s sturdily screwed together plus it has some nice flourishes like illuminated door inlays and wood details. The instrument binnacle is fully digital and easy to understand.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Renault Koleos
The Renault Koleos' infotainment screen supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, meaning you can access smartphone features including music and Google Maps navigation and Waze on the go within the car’s display. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and a pair USB ports, plus an aux input if you want to hook up music the old-fashioned way.
The simple, two grade trim structure means there isn’t much on the options list. But there are a few luxury extras including a Bose 13-speaker audio system.
Space and practicality: Renault Koleos boot space
The Renault Koleos is only sold as a five-seater which is a shame if you have a big family, but it is advantageous if you've got older children or teens, since rear legroom is very generous.
Having said that, Renault has fitted an opening panoramic roof as standard and it does reduce rear headroom somewhat, although only taller passengers will find things tight.
The Renault Koleos boot space is 458 litres – plenty of room for pushchairs, supermarket runs or trips to a garden centre. Pick the top model and it has a power tailgate with a hands-free operation.
If you do need some more space it’s very easy to fold the rear seats down with levers located in the boot. With the back seats down the load area is long and has a large maximum volume of 1,690 litres. But there is a little step in the middle where the seats fold, which might get in the way when pushing in a heavy object like a flatpack box. It is built as a luxurious car rather than a utility vehicle so those big seats eat up space when folded.
The Renault Koleos' dimensions sit at 4672mm long, 1843mm wide and 1678mm tall.
Handling and ride quality: What is the Renault Koleos like to drive?
"Over rough surfaces the Renault Koleos on 19-inch wheels with 55 profile tyres never really feels settled, with the suspension subtly jiggling the cabin unless the road is smooth. The wheels thump over potholes too, which is a shame because the Koleos is an excellent drive on 18-inch wheels."
For serious roads it's best put in auto 4WD, though proper multi-point rear suspension means it's surprisingly comfortable on road.
The Renault Koleos is very large and there are a few blind spots caused by the big pillars, but standard sensors all around and a reversing camera make up for this. The slow steering doesn't help in cut and thrust traffic either. It's no sports SUV. On the plus side, if you need to squeeze into a tight spot there is an optional hands-free parking system, which takes care of the steering when it finds a suitable parking space.
If you go for the smooth, quiet automatic X-Tronic model then you'll also get standard all-wheel drive. It's not really meant for heavy off-road use but it's good enough for a gravel track or a wintry road. It's an automated system that detects slip and compensates for it, but you can press a button to lock the differential for slower, more slippery terrain like damp fields or mud.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Renault Koleos?
Renault only offers the Koleos with diesel engines. The basic 1.6-litre dCi has 130PS and produces 320Nm of torque which we think is perfectly adequate. Performance of the 130PS 1.6dCi isn’t blistering from a standing start, but on the go it has plenty of punch and you tend to rely on it's decent wave of torque.
It's good enough to make the 175PS 2.0-litre models seem a little pointless, it comes as standard with four-wheel drive which makes the Renault a decent off-roader, but also blunts performance. Latest versions of the Koleos come with a 150PS 1.7-litre diesel and 190PS 2.0-litre.
The 175PS/380Nm 2.0-litre dCi also feels a little underwhelming when paired with the optional CVT automatic gearbox and fuel economy also drops to around 50mpg.
Refinement and noise levels
Regardless of what’s under the bonnet, noise is kept subdued for the most part with the odd whir from the turbocharger and some grumbling when accelerating hard. The Renault Koleos suffers from a little bit of wind and road noise on the motorway, but it's still a very comfortable car to drive hundreds of miles in.
Safety equipment: how safe is the Renault Koleos?
In 2017, the Renault Koleos was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP. Even if you leave the options boxes unticked there’s a decent amount of driver technology. Blind spot warning, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking and hill start assist are all standard. On the down side, there isn’t an adaptive cruise system, even as an option.
MPG and fuel costs: What does a Renault Koleos cost to run?
"Renault only offers the Koleos with diesel engines. The basic 1.6-litre dCi returns official fuel economy of 57.6mpg. The 175PS/380Nm 2.0-litre dCi is underwhelming with the optional CVT automatic gearbox and fuel economy also drops to around 50mpg. "
These figures were measured under the old testing regime so we'd knock 10mpg off both to arrive at a figure that's actually attainable.
The latest models' MPG figures are measured under the WLTP testing regime making them a lot more accurate. The 150PS car returns 46.3mpg, while the 190PS version manages 40.9mpg.
How reliable is a Renault Koleos?
While we have no specific data on the Koleos, our sister site, HonestJohn.co.uk, does not rate Renault highly for reliability in fact, it finish second-from-bottom in the 2020 Satisfaction Index – part of that was down to its staggeringly bad 53% pass rate on MoTs. On the upside, you do get a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Insurance groups and costs
Renault Koleos insurance groups range from group 20 to 23.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Renault Koleos?
Road tax costs £220 in the first year for both versions of Renault Koleos and £155 every year after that.
How much should you be paying for a Renault Koleos?
"Huge depreciation makes the Renault Koleos a desirable secondhand purchase and almost all cars are still covered by a five-year warranty."
About £16,000 is enough to get you a 2017 Dynamique S model with about 35,000 miles on the clock and our preferred 1.6-litre 130PS diesel engine. Up your budget to £20,000 and you can have a car in similar condition but with four-wheel-drive, the 177PS 2.0-litre engine and a CVT gearbox. Just under £30,000 buys you the cream of the Koleos crop – a 2020 car with less than 10,000 miles – although we'd argue it doesn't make much sense to pay this much for a Koleos.
Trim levels and standard equipment
The Renault Koleos is available in two trim levels – Dynamic S and Signature S.
Dynamique S models come with nice touches like a panoramic sunroof which floods the interior with light, a half-leather interior that gives the cabin a touch of class and dual-zone climate control that means you and your passenger can set your own temperature. You also get an infotainment screen complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can mirror the display of your phone and use its apps on the car's big screen. A set of 18-inch wheels means it looks great, too.
Signature S models get larger 19-inch alloy wheels and white-lighting-shining LED headlights. They're a bit posher on the inside, too, chiefly because of their full leather upholstery that includes electrically adjustable heated front seats. You also get a larger infotainment screen and a handsfree power tailgate.
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
Why was the Renault Koleos discontinued?
The Renault Koleos wasn't a sales hit in the UK – where seven-seater SUVs are king – which is probably why it was discontinued.
Which is bigger Renault Koleos or Kadjar?
The Renault Koleos is a size bigger than the Kadjar – it competes with cars such as Skoda Kodiaq and the Ford Kuga.
Is the Renault Koleos a 4WD?
The 2.0-litre diesel Renault Koleos is available with 4WD (four-wheel drive).
Renault Koleos cars for sale on heycar