Honda CR-V 2.4 i-VTEC SR, Renault Koleos 2.5 4x2, Toyota Rav4 Premium+ 2.4 Review
Picking the right day

Story & pictures by Azfar Hashim
7 Mar 2009
 

Sometimes you just have to look beyond the badge...

The outside story

S-U-V. Only three simple alphabets but when combined, forms one of the biggest pie in the automotive industry. Sports Utility Vehicles, as the name suggests, combines both sporting intentions and utilitarian aspect into one car. Well they used to be a rarity on our roads, but since the inception of more style, the concept of “that odd thing on wheels” has been deleted off our minds.

Regular readers might have already known for a fact that yours truly here isn’t really fond of SUVs. But I have to, however, confess that this whole SUV concept is pretty much growing on me. Especially after driving SUVs like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Volvo XC60 – it has all the power you’ll ever need on the roads, a high level of practicality and, surprisingly, bucket loads of driving fun…with the last factor being an irony considering their tall stance.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, SUVs are becoming even better than your regular sedans. Which explain why we have three SUVs here today.

It’s pretty normal to hear a Japanese versus a Japanese, but we decided to have some fun by adding a French twist into the whole element. The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V have tried, tested and succeeded, but what about the Renault Koleos? Does it have enough kudos to count the other two as peers? Or is it more superior?

It could be make or break here. After all, image counts big time with these cars and to appeal to the crowd, the exterior plays an integral part.

Let us start with the CR-V. Are we getting too used to this proven popular choice? Is it really looking a bit like yesterday’s news? The trouble with the CR-V is that maybe it has been too common, and you can see one at your nearest car park. So if you do buy one now, you’re just another part of the crowd. And the most “sporty” thing it does is the daily school runs and the weekend family lugs. But on the other side of the coin, the commonness of the CR-V simply proves that Honda got the act correct in making an SUV that is sought after. Its exterior simply looks like a wagon on stilts, true, but at least Honda put in much effort to add those flared wheel arches and plastic moulds to give it a macho stance. And yes, you just have to love those vertical tail lights – they don’t seem to age, don’t they?

Among the lot, Toyota’s RAV4 looks the part of a jungle-basher all thanks to its high ground clearance and that rear spare tyre compartment.

Wait…remember those? Well it seems that these days, most SUVs no longer come with a rear tyre compartment – which is a real miss, as it certainly brings out the sporty image. So Toyota’s decision to leave it there untouched during their recent facelift exercise was a good choice after all. It has the cleanest outlook with no fancy plastic moulds though, and that makes it look bare and sorry to say this Toyota, but even boring when compared to the CR-V and Koleos. Still, if we’re talking about rules of proportions and shapes, the RAV4 seems to be doing something more conventionally right, even if an over-inflated Corolla Fielder comes to mind.

Talk to a graphic designer and they could prattle on about lines and complementary proportions. Like all things, there are rules of design. But like all rules, they are there to be broken. How they are broken – that’s the crucial bit. The whole discussion about whether the Koleos is breaking the mould in the field of SUV definitely encourages an interesting sociology project. At least the Koleos inspires opinion. So far, no one we’ve solicited opinion from has been non-committal. They have either been for, or against. One more thing – if you’re in the “against” camp at the moment, a bit of time spent with the Koleos might get your taste pendulum swinging the other way. And with the addition of must-have SUV gears like roof rails and side moulds, well, should get a nod from the practical-minded.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 2354cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 9.3:1
Bore x Stroke (87 x 99)mm
Power 168bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 218Nm @ 4200rpm
Power to Weight 104 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 10.8s (0-100 km/h)
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Auto
Drive Type F4

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4530 x 1820 x 1680) mm
Wheelbase 2620 mm
Turning Circle 5.5 metres
Kerb Weight 1616 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 58 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs

Engine

Engine Capacity 2488cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 170bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 226Nm @ 4000rpm
Power to Weight 106.6 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 10.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 187 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FR

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4520 x 1865 x 1695) mm
Wheelbase 2690 mm
Kerb Weight 1595 kg

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs

Engine

Engine Capacity 2362cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (88.5 x 96)mm
Power 170bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 224Nm @ 4000rpm
Power to Weight 105.9 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 10.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 185 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 4 -speed Auto
Drive Type F4

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4600 x 1855 x 1730) mm
Wheelbase 2660 mm
Turning Circle 5.3 metres
Kerb Weight 1605 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs