Review: Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010)

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Friendly looking and vary capable SUV that combines features of a good SUV with benefits of a decent MPV. Smooth revving chain cam diesel. Good ride.

Higher CO2 than CR-V and Kuga.

Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010): At A Glance

Renault doesn't call it a ‘4x4' or an ‘SUV'. Instead it prefers the title ‘Crossover'. By which it means a cross between a hatchback, a 4x4 and an MPV. And it reckons that, coming almost last in the race to build this sort of vehicle, it has learned from the successes and failures of everything in front of it.

For example, the rear seat folding mechanism is clever, and a bit like the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage's. You pull a lever either side of the hatchback and both sides of the 60/40 split rear seat flop down leaving a flat, unobstructed floor.

Instead of one big hatchback, the tailgate is split horizontally, so the top lifts up and the bottom hinges down, like a Mitsubishi Outlander's, taking 200kg, so two people can sit on it spectating at an event, or while pulling on their Wellingtons.

Rather than a limp-wristed excuse of a 4WD system, like a CR-V's or RAV-4's, the Koleos has the full Nissan X-Trail kit, that selects 4wd automatically when needed, allows you to lock the centre diff and has a clever pushbutton hill descent control that even works in reverse.

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What does a Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010) cost?

List Price from £28,240
Buy new from £24,679
Contract hire from £213.22 per month

Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4520 mm
Width 1855 mm
Height 1695 mm
Wheelbase 2690 mm

Full specifications

There are cubbies everywhere, even in the floor, like a Renault Scenic's, and the deep cubby under the centre armrest lifts out like a bucket, so you can tip things out and clean it.

It's very quiet inside because engine noise is heavily insulated from the cabin. Rear seat passengers get their own individually controlled heating and air-conditioning vents, built into the door pillars. The hazard warning button is huge, triangular-shaped and right in the middle of the dash. The steering wheel adjusts up and down and in and out. Both front windows are one-touch. The front passenger seat back folds down forwards, becoming a table or allowing you to carry planks of wood up to 2.6 metres (8' 6") long. There's a fold down panoramic mirror for keeping an eye on kids in the back seat. It has huge disc brakes, capable of stopping the car from 62.5mph in 40 metres. And there is already an established range of dealer fit extras, such as towbar, bike rack, even a tent.

Child seats that fit a Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010) like to drive?

The only engines fitted are chain-cam diesels. No timing belts to snap. And new technology. The base engine is 191g/km CO2, the more powerful 175 is 209g/km and even the automatic is 221g/km. Usefully under 226g/km where VED will jump to £415 next year. Fuel economy claims aren't exaggerated, ranging from 39mpg for the standard engine with manual gears down to 34mpg for the automatic. So you probably won't be disappointed like many Freelander II diesel automatic owners have been.

Designed by Renault, Developed by Nissan and built by Samsung in Busan, South Korea, Project H45 (which became the Koleos) has a lot of other thoughtful features.

Driving pre-production cars it's all too easy to get a bad one and base all your findings on that. So it was fortunate this launch was split into two days with two identical spec but different cars, giving us two chances to get a representative example.

The good one was very good indeed. Sweet, free-revving, reasonably powerful diesel engine, though not a slugger. The engine gives 150Nm torque at 1,000rpm, 300Nm at 1,500rpm, but doesn't deliver its peak of 360Nm until 2,000rpm. However, on a long straight we saw 210kmh on the clock, which is 130mph and 13mph over its official top speed. Impressively, it felt very stable at that speed, whatever it really was.

Grip, roadholding and handling are very good for an SUV. It's only prone to lift-off understeer if you go into a corner too fast and, instead of balancing the car with more power, you lift off. Give it more beans on the apex and as long as you're not doing really silly speeds, it tucks in nicely. The ride on rough Moroccan tracks was outstanding. As good as a Hyundai Santa Fe's.

The 6-speed gearbox shifts reasonably precisely. It's not a sweet shift, but it's fine. Off road it's every bit as capable as an X-Trail, which is high praise in this sector, only likely to be beaten by a Freelander II, and that's arguable.

It's attractive, deliberately styled to be unaggressive, which has to be applauded. From the front it actually looks like a Clio on stilts, which isn't going to threaten or intimidate anyone.

And, if the furthest off road you're ever likely to venture off road is up a kerb, you can save yourself £1,000 and about 1 mile per gallon by opting for the two-wheel drive version. That will serenely shrug off stupid speed humps and potholes and look the part without dragging along unnecessary driveshafts.

The market for D sector cars (Mondeo size hatchbacks) has been declining in Europe for 10 years. Yet, however politicians may protest, the market for niche SUVs has been steadily increasing. (And guess what just happened to one of those politicians?)

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
dCi 150 2WD 42 mpg 10.0 s 179 g/km
dCi 150 4WD 39 mpg 10.4 s 191 g/km
dCi 175 4WD 38 mpg 9.9 s 197 g/km

Real MPG average for a Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

33–49 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Renault Koleos (2008 – 2010)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

My car is showing a 'check exhaust emission' light - what should I do?

I have a 2008 Renault Koleos 2.0d. In the past two weeks I've done four journeys in excess of 50 miles at high speed (dual carriageway). A couple of days ago, a warning appeared saying "check exhaust emission" with the engine symbol and spanner symbol lit up and the vehicle had very little power. This morning I did a very short journey and when I restarted the car the only warning was the engine symbol being lit up. I did about 40 miles at high speed and the car performed normally but the engine symbol remained lit up. I got home, switched off and switched back on and the "check exhaust emission" warning came back on as did the engine symbol and spanner symbol. The car has done approx 75,000 miles with a mix of short/medium journeys and some longer trips. Have you any thoughts on what my next move should be?
I'd guess that the DPF is finally filling up with ash, which impedes its ability to regenerate as much soot. If I'm right, one solution is to send the DPF away to Ceramex to be chemically cleaned, which costs £300 - £400. The more expensive solution is a new DPF.
Answered by Honest John
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