Renault Koleos: Very good in French


What is it?

GOOGLE the word Millésime and three items pop up: Renault Koleos, a hotshot amplifier and a corkscrew.

It’s an odd trio, but what they have in common is the deep red colour.  

Millésime, like the Renault, is French. It  translates to ‘vintage’ and applies in particular to a fine red wine.

Now since Renaults have been around for more than a century, there are many vintage models (pre-1930) still running about, but the Koleos we’re talking about is brand new. And like Brigitte Bardot of yesteryear — very pretty.

In fact, it’s probably among the top three SUVs on the road in the pretty stakes. 

The intense colour, called Millésime Red, makes a superb backdrop for the shiny new grille and other items of sparkling chrome — window surrounds, headlight make-up, sidestripes, chinstrap or skidplate and bright alloy wheels.


What’s it cost?

Koleoses (if that’s the plural) come in several models, the pecking order being Life, Zen and Intens and they all use a 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine linked to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Life and Zen are front-wheel drive only, while Intens can be had in either 2- or 4WD.

Prices are $32,490 for the Life, $35,990 for the Zen, $42,990 or the Intens 2WD and $45,490 for the AWD (as reviewed).

However, you can get an Intens AWD for $44,990 if you buy before the dawn of 2021 — on January 1.

It’s a very well equipped vehicle that lacks nothing in terms of space, comfort, features and drivability. Plus it now has a 7-year unlimited distance warranty and capped price servicing.

It fair bristles with advanced driver-assistance systems and, for what it’s worth, has a top-scoring 5-star safety rating. 

There’s hands-free parking, electronic stability control, emergency braking, hill start assist, forward collision and lane departure warning, reversing camera, sensors all over the show and automatic high/low beam headlights.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a satellite navigation multimedia system are all included, likewise a panoramic glass sunroof and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Hop into the powered driver’s seat, press the ‘start’ button and you get a heads-up speed and satnav display, there’s a big (8.7-inch) portrait-style touchscreen for the up-spec Bose infotainment system and dual climate control. 

Naturally, there are USB jacks for whatever device people want to plug in and lots of pockets, cup and bottle holders to hold a considerable assortment of 7-Eleven fare, if that’s your thing.

Another luxury: the front cup holders can be switched between warm and cool. 

The dash has lovely woodgrain and satin chrome finish and if you drive at night you can change the classy ambient-coloured lighting through five pleasant shades, plus increase or decrease the intensity. The green would be a hoot at full intensity during Halloween.

The seats are well-shaped and supportive, and can be heated or fan-cooled to suit with whatever climate you might encounter.

What else? Oh yes, the cargo area.

The capacity ranges from 458 litres with all five seats in place to 1690 litres with the rear seat folded. 

To drop the seats, you just use the One Touch Easy Folding System for instant 1/3-2/3 folding, all on a flat loading area.

Powered tailgate, too.


What’s it go like?

The Koleos runs on 19-inch alloys, visibility is A-1 all round and it is capable of zipping from standstill to 100km/h in about 10.0 seconds.

It has a quite firm, Euro-style ride, handles carpark speed humps pretty well and it has a good turning circle.

Parking was never a problem.

Koleos is a tallish vehicle, with 210mm of ground clearance, excellent stability and Renault reckons it’s ‘a great vehicle for families to rediscover the joy of travelling. 

‘With its two-tonne tow rating, it also makes a great escape vehicle for families looking to explore even farther.’

Well, I don’t know about that.

I would not risk scratching that gorgeous Millésime Red paint or barking those alloy wheels on hostile rocks or branches that lurk off the so-called beaten track. But it’s your money, your choice.

Fuel consumption depends on whether you’re touring or camping, cruising or stuck in traffic.

We did our usual blacktop mix and our average came to 9.7L/100km, which we were happy with. Renault claim an average 8.3L.

The other Millésime Reds mentioned earlier are a Moon amplifier, a special 40th anniversary model of the Canadian brand.

Just 40 are available, with whatever a 680D streaming DAC and 600i v2 integrated amplifier might mean – and it costs a tad more than the Koleos Intens at some $50,000. 

Mind you, each has a commemorative rose gold plate, embossed with the Moon logo and individual serial number and comes with a colour-matched remote control, a rose gold Moon bridge, and a full set of power, XLR and Simlink cables — all in a custom-made box.

Then there’s the Laguiole Sommelier’s Corkscrew, also in the aforementioned red for about $80 on eBay. 

And if you’re Melbourne, there’s a Grand Millesime wine store in Toorak Rd, South Yarra.

Back to the vehicle.


What we like?

  • The looks
  • Ride
  • Comfort
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Huge warranty


What we don’t like?

  • Pardon?


The bottom line?

Très bon!

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Renault Koleos Intens AWD, priced from $44,990
  • Looks - 8.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8.5/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8.5/10
  • Value - 8/10