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Renault : The Koleos, a new top-of-the range leisure vehicle concept

Renault designers have dreamt up a new concept vehicle that is neither a traditional saloon nor an off-road vehicle, but an intelligent blend of both. Koleos combines the on-the-road qualities and comfort of a top-range saloon with the off-road capability of a 4X4.

Styled to evoke power and strength, the new concept car also offers prompt response and driving pleasure, with a hybrid power unit that combines a two-litre 16-valve turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor. Off the road, the Koleos holds its own alongside a traditional 4X4, thanks to variable-height suspension that affords similar capabilities. Koleos also places a major emphasis on technology : the vehicle's essential functions are controlled via a screen with voice activation, and the headlamps feature an innovative fluid optics concept.

With this concept car, Renault is projecting its values of vision and daring into the off-road segment. Following on from the Scenic RX4, Koleos marks Renault’s commitment to address the SUV segment by reinventing the leisure vehicle.

An off-road car with upmarket appeal : the best of both worlds

By successfully blending seemingly contradictory motoring values, Koleos plays the multi-purpose card, with an innovative design that gives it a unique and highly distinctive personality. As a generously-sized monospace, 4.5 metres long, Koleos initially comes across as a top-range saloon, with a fluid, streamlined profile conveying dynamism and power. The side panels and arch-shaped headlamps are styled to create the impression of a pouncing feline. This is an elegant and distinguished car, with all the performance and features of a top-range saloon.

The rear doors spotlight two original concepts. The tailgate uses the twin stage parallel opening technology found on the Avantime doors, and it slides to the left of the car as it opens to facilitate access to the boot compartment. 

The fully-modular boot is separated from the passenger compartment by a retractable window ; a mechanism lowers the rear window into the tailgate while the roof section above the boot slides horizontally under the roof panel converting the Koleos into a pickup.  

The monospace format makes for optimized interior space. The passenger compartment exudes a sense of well-being, comfort and brightness, with a windscreen that extends in two glazed lateral strips along each side of the roof, for more interior light.

The four seats-carbon sheets covered in hand-stitched leather from the prestigious firm Connolly, whose inspiration here draws on saddle design combine aesthetics and ergonomics. Seat and back are supported by four damping cylinders, and the carbon laminates adapt to body pressure to ensure optimum comfort.

Though the Koleos stakes very definite upmarket claims, this in no way detracts from its off-road capability, which is clearly denoted through rugged styling features, compact format, and high ground clearance. But the protective mouldings that extend along the wings to encompass the large-diameter (21") wheels are discreet, highlighting rather than attenuating the elegant refinement of the exterior. 

Variable-height suspension 

The off-road temperament of Renault’s new concept-car is confirmed by variable-height suspension featuring pneumatic and hydraulic springs that are capable of adjusting vehicle height in a matter of seconds. The transition between 4X4 mode (vehicle height 1.70 m) and saloon mode (height 1.60 m) is fully automatic and depends upon both vehicle speed and the type of road surface. For sports-style driving on the open road, a low position with stiffer suspension enhances the car’s dynamic response, while in high 4X4 position driver and passenger comfort is improved by a softer suspension.

High-tech features

High technology pervades the Koleos, but does so unobtrusively. That being said, technology does rise to visible prominence in features like the speech-responsive screen that controls essential interior functions like climate control, audio and driver guidance. Options are displayed for selection on a screen menu, and can be triggered using a finger roller control. In the same way, the arch-shaped headlamps use recent technology derived from research conducted by French firm Megalux into fluid optics. The light flow enters a dioptric fluid optic, which shapes the light and guides it either to the lower half-arch for the dipped position or to the upper half-arch for the main-beam position.

Hybrid power unit for better environmental protection and driveability

Driving pleasure is a major requirement for any top-range vehicle, but with the Koleos Renault has sought to meet this requirement without sacrificing environmental protection. The hybrid power unit on the Koleos adapts intelligently to different driving phases, with electric, internal-combustion and hybrid modes managed automatically by an electronic controller. In town, the Koleos is a clean car running in all-electric mode, with lithium-ion batteries powering a 30 kW Renault Élégie electric motor that drives the rear wheels. On the open road, the two-litre 16V 170 bhp turbocharged F4R engine takes over, driving the front wheels, with the electric motor providing an extra power boost if needed. In 4X4 mode the internal combustion engine and the electric motor work together for maximum power and off-road capability. 

 Source : Renault

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