Talk about missing the boat! While almost every manufacturer on the planet was busy making a mint from the SUV craze that ran from the late 1990s to about 2008, French automotive giant Renault was stubbornly refusing to get on the bandwagon. It was only when the crisis hit and everyone woke up that Renault decided to get in the game, with the 2008 Renault Koleos. Built on the chassis of the Nissan X-Trail and assembled in Korea, (no, not North Korea) this relatively compact SUV was exactly what the market needed, at just the right time. The Koleos was offered in a four-wheel drive configuration, courtesy of Nissan, but in a nod to the fact that it was primarily a road-going vehicle, also came with a front-wheel drive only option.
The Koleos is fitted with a choice of a 150 or 175 horsepower 2-liter Turbodiesel engine, with plenty of torque available for off-roading, should the fancy strike you. Road performance is adequate without being stellar, with a top speed of 112 miles per hour and a 0-60 time of 9.7 seconds, depending on the model selected.
While it can seem funny to see the 2008 Renault Koleos SUV – officially a Crossover – show up at the tail end of the craze, doing so allowed Renault and partners Nissan and Samsung to learn from everybody else’s mistakes and make a vehicle that is free from glaring defects, even though it’s not super exciting.