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REVIEW: Holiday break-away in the Renault Koleos

2019-06-26 09:17

Charlen Raymond


Image: Charlen Raymond

They say you’re not a true South African if you’re not into road trips (okay, no one said so).

Because let’s face it, road trips are as much a part of South Africans as biltong, braai, rugby and beer. It just goes together and you can’t move away from it.

One of the best times to undertake a road trip is during school holidays. Yes, the roads are busy and in every vehicle you see is a sugar-filled kid staring out the window, but that’s the magic of it.

Though I did not have any children in the Renault Koleos, it was still an exciting prospect to drive to Cape Agulhas and making the most of the trip.

The Koleos returned to South Africa in February of this year and replaces the Kadjar in Renault’s range. Powered by a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine, this Koleos 4WD had its work cut out as gravel, sand, and tar awaited it.


                          Image: Charlen Raymond

The rough stuff

The model we’re driving is the Dynamique 4WD and the four-wheel drive system can be operated whilst on the move. It’s easy to use, too! The first test came on a gravel road some 15km outside of Bredasdorp direction Arniston. 

At first only the front wheels did all the work and there was adequate grip to reach 100km/h. There was very little slide and one could gather enough confidence to maintain said speed. 

Just above the driver’s right knee is the 4WD switch. Flick it down and 4WD auto is engaged. In this mode the Koleos will default into front-wheel drive, but when slip is detected it will channel power to the rear wheels to maintain composure. It really worked a charm and there is a very noticeable difference in how the Koleos reacts, for the better.

In Arniston there is a massive cave at the ocean that is only accessible when the tide is low, and to get there is a bit of a walk. But if you have a vehicle with a high enough ground clearance and some off-road ability, you can just drive there. 

Rocks and loose sand lie scattered on the path, but with the Koleos in 4WD lock it was an easy task getting over and through the obstacles. The 210mm of ground clearance also did its part to keep the underbody safe.


                          Image: Charlen Raymond


The Koleos, unfortunately, is only available with one engine and gearbox combination. The 2.5-litre engine develops 126kW and 233Nm, and the ‘seven-speed’ CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) does not benefit it in any way. Fuel consumption was high - even when driving the speed limit - and when performing an overtake or tackling a hill the engine needs to be worked for it to provide acceptable levels of performance.

The media system is really easy to operate, but initial introductions can be met with some hesitation and makes you take your eyes off the road for just a moment too long. Apart from this, the Koleos is nice and big, and it really does see to the road trip needs of your average South African family. 

Read Charlen Raymond’s review of the Renault Koleos Dynamique 4WD below:

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