Car review: Renault Koleos

I was all prepared to take the Renault Koleos 4×4 Bose Premium 2.0 Diesel on a snow journey to the opening weekend of the Australian ski fields. Instead I reviewed it by the sea in my home turf of Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Which turned out to be just as well as snow was late to the Australian ski season 2015 so even if I had reviewed the car down south in the month of June it wouldn’t have been driven on the snow. Lucky for me, and for you, someone else has already taken the Koleos to the snow and filmed it with some handy driving tips.

First things first.

The Renault Koleos Privilege comes with all the trimmings. There’s a reverse camera for parking in snow drifts or supermarket car parks, heated seats for those super cold mornings, a sunroof for blue bird days and front and rear fog lights for when the mist comes in. All important features for regular snow goers. Plus there’s a ski flap in the rear seats if you want to stow your skis in the boot rather than on the roof racks.

So far so good.

Electronic Stability Control helps keep the car firm on not so firm roads. The Emergency Brake Assist prevents skidding and the Hill Descent Control adds extra road grip. If you’ve got a fair bit of luggage and only yourself and a passenger then the flat folding system from the boot to the back seats that conveniently disappear means more room for more snow toys. The dual climate control will ensure both the driver and the plus one stay as toasty warm or cool as each individually chooses to.

But what about looks?

Well, you will get plenty of them thanks to the swanky two tone alloy wheels and black, brown or beige leather interior that just spells style in drivers’ language.

The best part of driving the Koleos diesel for me was not the cheaper price of filling the tank and the economical kilometres then driven, it wasn’t the LED turn indicator lights on the side mirrors nor the satellite navigation or 5 star NCAP safety rating. It was the speed camera detection.

The satellite navigation system keeps track of upcoming speed cameras and sounds a warning alarm when one is near. It also flashes when you are over the speed limit for the road you are driving on. Pure and utter genius that could save lives, licences and dollars in fines.

The other feature that I personally loved was the blind spot warning. When a car could no longer be seen in your rear vision mirror nor your side mirror and was officially in your blind spot, voila, a light flashes on the side interior to warn you of the invisible car’s presence. Double genius.

Of course the Bose Sound System helps, a lot, I love a good sound system.  The Bluetooth technology with onboard computer helped also.

As for grunt. I personally would like to see it have more but once it hit the open roads it cruised alongside the best of them and I suspect the 2.5 litre petrol may be more my scene.

The Renault Smart Key Card may have ensured a hands free entry but it felt cumbersome with a key card the size of a small mobile phone, though one person did ask me if I was carrying the new iPhone 7. Very funny, very funny.

The premise is a push button start and a wifi key card that allows entry to the vehicle. Trouble was that I kept forgetting to take the card out of the console that I put it in when I entered the car each time. Hence the car would be unlocked and the key inside which effectively meant anyone could get in, push the button and drive off.

No doubt this need only happen once for it not to happen again and future keys to be removed and car locked every time. If you got the car back in one piece of course.

I would buy this car for the speed camera detection and blind spot warnings alone. Everything else is an added bonus in my eyes. The car felt sturdy and solid, not plastic like some others in the same driving class and the price range slips in under the $50k mark.

The Renault Koleos comes with a 5 year warranty of unlimited kilometres and 5 years roadside assist that covers the whole of Australia, 24/7.

The 4×4 Bose Premium CVT Auto (Petrol) is $41 000 drive away price and the Diesel version is $43 000 drive away price but only from July to September at participating retailers.

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.

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