What is it?
The entry level Koleos Life kicks off a three (or four, depending on perspective) model range. It sits below the Zen, and Intens. The latter comes in 4×2 or 4×4 configuration.
All of the range come with a 2.5-litre petrol-fed, four cylinder engine, with the Intens 4×4 the only model to offer a diesel option.
A continuously variable CVT style auto is the sole transmission available.
It’s the same powertrain as in the Nissan X-Trail with which it shares its underpinnings.
The petrol engine has 126kW at 6000rpm, and twists out 226Nm of torque at 4400rpm.
Economy is quoted as 8.1L/100km from the 60-litre tank on normal unleaded.
On a largely urban test cycle we achieved 10.1L/100km, a creditable return for the 1552kg (plus cargo) Life as it’s pretty close to the quoted urban figure of 10.4L/100km.
What’s it cost?
Renault was offering Koleos Life at a drive-away price of $29,990 in December. Although it’s entry level, there’s enough swag on board to justify the ask.
Rear parking sensors are standard but there are no front sensors. Automatic Emergency Braking is included but no Blind Spot Warning. Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning are also on board.
The elegantly styled touch-screen gets DAB audio plus Bluetooth, but it’s not the larger vertically mounted screen of other models.
Sound quality is good enough, as is operation of the screen and ancillary controls such as the aircon. This is a simple touch strip, requiring nothing more than a caress of the sensor for the fan speed to change.
Being entry level means the tail gate is manually operated, not powered. That’s never a bad thing as manual operation means faster opening and closing to access the 458-litre cargo area. The rear door itself rounds off a curvaceous body. It’s slinky, sexy, and beats a Kardashian any day.
Up front is a smooth and rounded nose, complete with swoopy LED driving lights. Headlights are normal globes, not LED-powered. It joins the rear with a sine wave curve that runs from the headlights through the door handles to wrap up at the top of the tail lights.
Inside you’ll find cloth trim, USB and 12V charge points, and a tendency towards French quirkiness. The centre console houses the cruise control on/off switch but the tiller has the other controls. Audio controls are relocated to a stalk hidden behind the arms of the wheel. Naturally there are ample cup and bottle holders.
The centre touch-screen has a nifty idea though, and that’s distance without consumption. Effectively it shows how much distance has been covered without fuel being imbibed.
What’s it go like?
It’s typical of a small engine and CVT combination, in that the auto feels like an old school slipping clutch.
Give the right pedal some serious hoof and the revs climb, climb, climb.
But forward motion doesn’t match the seat of the pants nor the revs until around 50 km/h. It’s from here that speed seems to pick up and the revs drop down to a more normal level.
Ride quality is where the brownie points are scored. Plush, with a semblance of sport. Comfortable, with a sense of firmness.
Steering response is tight off centre initially, before easing off. This gives the Koleos some sporting prowess when punted into corners at speed. Rubber is 225/65/17 and contributes to both the ride quality and the lovely handling.
Highway ride quality is its strong suite, however. The suspension provides a well controlled ride package, with minimal rebound on undulating sections. It quickly dials out any intrusion from unsettled surfaces, and sits firm and flat on normal tarmac with minimal road noise.
What we like?
- Sweet looks
- Economy around town
- Comfortable interior
What we don’t like?
- Unnecessary quirkiness. And the CVT
- No diesel option at the entry level
The bottom line?
For looks alone the asking price is worth it. It’s a lovely ride, a responsive handler, and fits four without qualms. No diesel at the entry level isn’t a biggy but it would be nice. The auto is what holds back the Koleos Life overall and with other makers offering better sorted CVTs — it stands out as being sub-par.
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Renault Koleos Life, priced from $29,990 driveaway
- Looks - 8/108/10
- Performance - 6/106/10
- Safety - 7.5/107.5/10
- Thirst - 7.5/107.5/10
- Practicality - 8/108/10
- Comfort - 7.5/107.5/10
- Tech - 8/108/10
- Value - 8/108/10