2020 Renault Koleos Intens AWD (car review)

RAVISHING, or should that be classy, good looks. The 2020 Renault Koleos Intens certainly has a certain je ne sais quoi about it. It’s attractive, and distinctive, but it’s hard to say what makes it that way.

From its stylish head and tail light treatments, to the abundance of exterior and interior chrome, the Koleos looks genuinely French. For 2020 it comes with new look 19-inch alloy wheels and a new colour, Millesem Red. That which you see here.

The Koleos comes in three model variants, the Life, Zen and Intens, with the latter being the range topping offering. There’s also a limited run Black Edition, that sits between the Zen and Intens. It’s also available in 2WD and AWD.

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If you’re choosing the one with all the cookies in the jar though, you’ll score plenty of cool bits, like the opening panoramic glass roof, comfortable heated and ventilated front seats, in leather of course, and a hands-free powered tailgate, as standard.

There’s also a BOSE premium audio system and a portrait style 8.7-inch infotainment system, complete with satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s an okay system, albeit a little temperamental in terms of behaving itself and playing nice.

And in what can best be described as something uniquely French, the volume buttons are behind the steering wheel. That’ll take some getting used to, but it’s kind of cool, even if it is a little quirky.

The Koleos shares much of its underpinnings with its Alliance (the working partnership between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi) brother, Nissan, and the X-Trail, with the Ti variant a similar comparison to the Intens.

Like the X-Trail, it’s got plenty of interior space, with good leg room both front and rear, and loads of boot space, with 458-litres with the seats up (it’s a 5-seater), and 1,690-litres when the second row are folded.

The Koleos Intens also has one-touch seat folding, whereby you can literally touch a button to fold the seats flat. It’s another one of those unusual features, but it’s definitely something we found very usable. There’s a lot of those nice practical touches here.

There are cup holders and USB ports in the front and rear, which is a nice touch as well, and ensures your rear seat passengers can charge devices and watch movies, should they want to zone out. The door pockets will hold proper drink bottles too.

If the interior has another downside, other than that misbehaving infotainment system, it’s that the speed limiter and cruise control are not located on the steering wheel, they’re in the centre console, behind the cup holders. Yes, we know. Weird right.

On the road, the Koleos feels firm and solid, and drives nicely. It’s well behaved on rougher roads, and is capable enough in handling the basics of off-road terrain. We wouldn’t recommend climbing any rock faces with it though.

It’s powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine offering 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque. Renault claims fuel economy of (cough) 8.3-litres/100km. We managed 9.4. There’s no diesel variant, but it will tow 2,000kg.

It’s mated to a CVT transmission, and an average one at that. It feels like its working too hard thanks to the fact it holds the revs high and long under acceleration. As a result, it makes it feel under powered, especially when the whole family is on board.

There’s an abundance of safety and driver aids though, including walk away door locking, and easy park assist, as well as a multitude of airbags, advanced autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.

In addition, there’s stability control, ABS, emergency brake assist, hill start assist, forward collision warning, and automatic high beam.

In the seriously overcrowded mid-sized SUV space, the is definitely one of the better options, thanks to its space, an abundance of technology and safety features, and it’s uniquely French style.

It is up against the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4, and of course, its sibling, the Nissan X-Trail Ti. It’s a tough space to play in, but is definitely worth considering.

You can choose your 2020 Renault Koleos Intens in one of seven colours, including Solid White, Millesem Red (as tested), Metallic Black, Mineral Beige, Metallic Grey, Meissen Blue and Universal White.

It comes with a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 5-years roadside assist and 5-years capped price servicing. The 2WD variants have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating as well (the AWD was not crash tested). It’s priced at $45,490 drive away.

A range of accessories are also available, should you want to customise your shiny new Koleos SUV, including roof racks, side steps, a boot sill protector, front and rear weather shields, and carpet floor mats.

Our test vehicle was provided by Renault Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Renault Koleos Intens, contact your local Renault dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - exterior styling; classy interior; tonnes of space.
Cons - under powered; that CVT gearbox; thirsty.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


  1. Mark, you need to understand why a CVT gets engine revs UP when you plant your foot on the accelerator. The CVT is designed as an infinitely variable gear box. Piston engines without turbo have max power and torque high in the rev range, around 4000rpm in the koleos, so when you want max power the CVT revs the engine and keeps the revs UP as you demand power and torque. An auto gear box changes gears and may have 6,7,or 8 to try keep the revs as close to optimum as possible, but just can`t compete with a CVT. Normal moderate driving will demand lower revs from the engine since not as much power/torque is needed, be much quieter, and save fuel. I have a 2021 Intens and get around 7.0l/100km on a long drive Kew to Sorrento return using the ECO setting, and around 8.5 – 8.8 in the suburbs.
    Hope this helps your readers.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> exterior styling; classy interior; tonnes of space.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> under powered; that CVT gearbox; thirsty.2020 Renault Koleos Intens AWD (car review)