Used Renault Koleos (Mk2, 2017-date) review
A full used buyer’s guide on the Renault Koleos covering the Koleos Mk2 that has been on sale 2017
There’s a lot to like about the Koleos, but it’s also easy to see why it didn’t sell in big numbers. When the Koleos arrived, we tested it against the SsangYong Rexton and Mitsubishi Outlander. The Renault won, thanks to its modern cabin, better driving experience and greater comfort. However, we ran a Koleos dCi 175 Dynamique S on our fleet and it wasn’t an easy car to bond with, thanks to its thirst (we averaged 36mpg), and an engine that lacked refinement because of the way the automatic transmission works. For some people the Koleos will be the perfect large SUV, but there are more rounded alternatives out there, which is why we’d suggest comparing the Renault with a few alternatives before committing.
Ever since it was founded at the end of the 19th Century, Renault hasn’t been afraid to be bold with its cars. In some cases it has reaped rewards, but on other occasions the losses have mounted because customers weren’t interested.
The original Koleos SUV is a good example of where things went wrong, because even though it was a mainstream model in a growing segment, it was something of a sales disaster in the UK for Renault.
That didn’t stop the company bringing the second-generation Koleos here though, and while this also failed to make its mark, it wasn’t a bad car as such; it was simply up against some more accomplished rivals, many of which offered seven seats compared with the Renault’s five.
The Koleos arrived in the UK in August 2017 with a choice of 128bhp 1.6 (dCi 130) and 173bhp 2.0 (dCi 175) diesel powerplants, with the smaller engine offered only with a six-speed manual gearbox. The bigger engine came with either the manual or a seven-speed automatic, the latter marketed as X-Tronic. Initially, there were two trim levels (Dynamique S, Signature Nav) but in March 2018 a range-topping Initiale Paris grade was added.
In November 2018 the range was simplified to Iconic and GT Line, and the dCi 130 engine was dropped. Another range revamp in September 2019 saw a 1.7-litre dCi 150 engine introduced, while the 2.0-litre unit was upgraded to 187bhp (dCi 190). A mild restyle brought LED headlights, self parking and upgraded interior trim.
Which one should I choose?
We’d choose a 2.0-litre engine because it’s usefully more muscular than the 1.6 and 1.7-litre units, but the X-Tronic transmission is frustrating to use, which is why we’d opt for a manual gearbox if possible.
Standard kit is generous, with even the entry-level Koleos having cruise control, auto lights and wipers, traffic-sign recognition, privacy glass and a rear camera, plus front and rear parking sensors. It also gets 18-inch alloys, an opening panoramic glass roof, electrically folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, a seven-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Signature Nav features LED headlights, leather trim, heated front seats with electric adjustment for the driver, and 19-inch wheels plus a powered tailgate. Paris Initiale add heating to the rear seats, steering wheel and windscreen, Nappa leather trim, and a 13-speaker Bose hi-fi.
Alternatives to the Renault Koleos
The Koleos is up against some very talented opposition, most of which offer seven seats. The Koleos shares a lot with the Nissan X-Trail which has seven seats as an option, while a roomy cabin and a smart exterior design make up for the dated tech inside.
The Kia Sorento and related Hyundai Santa Fe are well equipped, good to drive and well made, plus they come with long warranties. The Skoda Kodiaq and SEAT Tarraco look good, drive well, and are plentiful and well made, like the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, which is also related. The Citroen C5 Aircross offers great value but just five seats, while the seven-seat Peugeot 5008 looks great inside and out.
What to look for
The Koleos came with a repair kit rather than a spare tyre, but you can buy a space saver from a dealer for £120.
The dCi 130, dCi 175 4WD and Blue dCi 190 X-Tronic can tow 2,000kg; the Blue dCi 150 1,500kg, and the dCi 175 4WD X-Tronic 1,650kg.
The 1.6 dCi 130 and 1.7 dCi 150 came only with front-wheel drive; the 2.0 dCi 175 and dCi 190 were four-wheel drive only.
The biggest gripe on owner forums is fuel consumption. The 2.0-litre engine seems to give up to 40mpg, dropping to 26-28mpg in town.
No Koleos owners have reported faults to us and the second-generation model we’re looking at here was never recalled. Renault finished 20th in our 2021 Driver Power Brands survey – 16.38 per cent of owners experienced a fault with their car.
Apart from the fact that there’s no seven-seat option, it’s pretty much all good news in here. The materials used are generally high-quality, there’s lots of space front and rear, and the dashboard is well designed so it’s easy to use – if lacking in flair. Posher models have a bigger display and leather trim, which makes things feel even more special.
Boot capacity is good (but not class-leading) at 565 litres with the back seats up, or 1,795 litres with them folded down. A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system was standard fit on the Koleos, while some models had a larger 8.7-inch display.
Regardless of which engine is fitted, the Koleos needs to be serviced every 12 months or 18,000 miles. Services alternate between Minor and Major, which are effectively an inspection and then an oil and filter change. The two services are priced at £124 and £199-£244, and they can be combined for £304, but by the time a Koleos has had its third birthday it’s eligible for cut-price maintenance.
From this point on, more comprehensive services are offered, billed as Essential (£169) and Full (£219). The former is effectively an oil and filter change with an inspection; the latter includes a few extra replacement parts. Every three years or 72,000 miles the brake fluid has to be renewed (at £108, or £69 using the Essential programme), and the coolant needs to be replaced every five years or 90,000 miles, at £229.
Prospective buyers will be pleased to learn that Renault hasn’t recalled this version of the Koleos, although the original model was recalled on one occasion, because some cars left the factory with a faulty steering column.
Since the Koleos arrived in late summer 2017, Renault has issued just 23 recalls across all of its car model ranges; the company’s commercial vehicles are logged separately. That might sound like a lot, but it actually shows the huge strides that Renault has made in improving its quality control.
However, those recalls were all issued because of potential safety glitches that included faulty seatbelts, gearboxes, airbags and cracked hubs. Other things that could go wrong included problematic catalytic converters, chafing wiring, glass roofs detaching and fuel leaks.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The Koleos didn’t sell in big enough numbers to make it into our new or used Driver Power surveys. Plenty of other Renaults have featured, but they’ve invariably been in the lower half of the tables, which is rather disappointing. In our 2021 Driver Power Brands survey, Renault came 20th out of 29 entries, with top-10 scores for low running costs, user-friendly navigation systems and decent refinement.