2017 Renault Koleos Intens long-term car review, part two

By Ash Westerman, 23 Apr 2017 Car Reviews

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2017 Renault Koleos Intens long-term car review, part two

Shifting an automatic Koleos sometimes requires a degree of manual labour

According to Australia’s Central Agency for Protecting Us from Ourselves, powerful cars are dangerous cars.

They need to be kept out of the hands of young or inexperienced drivers. A P-plater in NSW, for example, can only drive a car with less than 130kW/tonne.

Sounds fair, right? Give a P-plater a V8 or turbo and he’ll wrap himself around a power pole quicker than you and your wife can be tasered for sharing a bottle of bubbly at a zero-alcohol vantage point on New Years Eve. It’s logic, people. Don’t argue.

2017 Renault Koleos Intens long-term car review, part one

So sure, I checked my brain at the door and I’m on board. But what about not-so-fast cars? After a few overtaking attempts in the Koleos this month, I’m thinking I would be way safer with an extra 200Nm and a CVT that didn’t make it sound like there’s a Nutribullet behind the firewall.

My first experience was admittedly uphill, with a couple of teenagers on board, the excellent air-con cranking and the ventilated front seats wafting a cooling raft into my back.

But the truck was labouring at 60km/h in an 80 zone, so naturally I pulled into the right lane to pass, and pinned it to the boards.

2016 Renault Koleos range pricing and specs announced

Then I sat there. And sat some more. As the Nutribullet made frantic, strained whirring sounds, the truckie glanced down with a mix of wonderment and pity, as we had ample time for eye contact. In the rear-view mirror, I swear I saw an octogenarian on a Honda step-thru jammed up my clacker, shaking her gnarled little fist at me to get out of the passing lane. 

Okay, I’m kidding, but not by much. The Nissan X-Trail-sourced 2.5-litre atmo four needs 4400rpm to arrive at its 226Nm point of peak twist, meaning there are not a whole lot of Newton metres in the zone you really need them.

The only way to drive around this issue is to flick the shifter to the left to grab manual mode, and thankfully this forces the CVT into some semblance of gear-holding co-operation, and even gives the preferred push-to-downshift configuration. I push a lot.

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On the upside, it’s made my driving style ultra predictive: I’m flicking over into manual mode like a cornered ninja; I’m plucking ratios fore and aft like I’m in some speed-croupier competition in the Las Vegas Hilton.

My partner just rolls her eyes and tries to pretend she’s in a relationship with some normal, relaxed, non-journo dude, and turns up the excellent Bose audio.

At least she tries to, but the fiddly plus-and-minus volume touch points on the multimedia screen occasionally attempt to thwart this. That’s my cue to use my left hand to grab gears while my right fingers dance on the volume pod behind the steering wheel; simultaneously tweaking the rotating track-finder wheel.

And get this: I steer, too, while all this is happening. Yep, the Koleos is instilling in me mad multi-tasking skills I had no idea I could master. See? There’s always a bright side.