Articles > Local & Regional Automotive Newsprintwrite comment

KOLEOS & Amr Habal: Latest Renault News From Geneva & Cairo

11.02.2008 – Paris / Cairo / Dubai -

It seems like Renault Egypt / EIM is becoming more and more a collecting pond for unemployed and not so successful and unlucky marketing managers. After welcoming a while ago Khaled Youssef and Rami Gad from the VW Importer and Audi representative (Egyptian Automotive Company) Renault Egypt opened its arms this week to Amr El Habal as a new marketing manager, probably hoping to be able to do some better marketing than in the recent weeks. It's worth mentioning that Amr Habal used to work at EIM until approx. 2 years ago. He then left to work at the new Egyptian FORD importer (Fikry Group), but obviously didn’t get along well with the owner and management there.

He left FORD Egypt completely unexpected at the eve of the AutoMech Akhbar El Yom motor-show 2007 after spending only 6 months with them and had since then been 'exploring' new possibilities and challenges in the Egyptian automotive field.

So, Renault indeed didn’t really get spoiled in some Egyptian and pan-Arabic print media and TV stations recently. Not only because of the media-hype in the legal fight of the Egyptian Renault importer (EIM Group) with the well-known business-man Walid Tawfik about who is the legitimate KIA importer in Egypt (in which apparently EIM Group and KIA Korea asked Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak through full back-cover pages advertisements of Al-Masry El Youm and Ros El Youssef newspaper to intervene after EIM lost the case in Egyptian court!) but also because of the embarrassing performance of our Renault Megane long-term test-drive car and the possible involvement of the Renault service in the test-car's accident immediately after a regular service check and a 'claimed' brake-system recall repair.

But let's just leave this embarrassing 'EIM / Renault court story' aside now - we will get back to that later in detail– and concentrate on one of the few good news of Renault these days here in Egypt and Middle East.

This brings us to the Koleos. Making its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, Renault will present Koleos, its first ever 4x4 crossover. Ideal for escaping the everyday routine, Koleos is comfortable, easy to drive and boasts genuine off-road ability. It has been designed to be versatile too, offering the same reassuring drive when motoring in and about town, on open roads and on motorways as it does when it is taken off the beaten track. Meanwhile, Koleos delivers the same standard of comfort as that expected of a hatchback, as well as cabin space worthy of a compact MPV.

Designed by Renault, developed by Nissan and manufactured in Renault Samsung Motors' Busan plant in Korea, Koleos is the fruit of extremely close collaboration between teams from each of these Renault-Nissan Alliance brands.

We hope the Koleos will have a better quality than our Made-In-Turkey Megane long-term test-car, which is already making lots of noises coming mainly from the dashboard, ceiling and sun-roof and which is becoming more and more annoying although we didn’t even pass the 25.000 km mark yet. It makes you feel like you are sitting in a 20-year-old worn out FIAT 1300 or a Turkish Dogan taxi with already 100.000 km on its clock. I don’t want to insult the Dogan, but the sound is really annoying and does not fit with the 5-Stars-EuroNCAP image at all. But maybe this is just a result of the poor service at the Renault Egypt service.

It seems that the upcoming 75.000 km of our 100.000 km-test will be a real pain in the neck (and the head of course). A detailed report of part 2 can be read here on our website and our magazine soon.

Anyway, now back to Koleos which will be on show at the Geneva Motor Show starting 4th of March 2008 .

The launch of Koleos marks a decisive step in the brand's development, not only in Europe but across the world. The release of its first 4x4 crossover is a sure sign that Renault has the capacity to take its own genuine stance and completely fresh approach in segments from which it has traditionally been absent. The Koleos offers a unique standard of safety and comfort, a parameter that has become a recognized Renault hallmark which is not only clear for all to see but also highly affordable.

I just hope the service at Renault Egypt / EIM will improve immensely before the Koleos arrives to Egypt, in order to guarantee a good reputation and some promising market shares.

Ground clearance of 188mm and approach and departure angles of 27 and 31 degrees respectively are further illustrations that you will not get stuck with the Koleos on the first sand-dune around Sakkara or Setta Oktobar city.
Koleos is the first Renault model to feature four-wheel drive from launch. The torque split between the front and rear is automatically calculated as a function of available grip. In normal conditions, torque is delivered to the front wheels only. However, should less grip become available up to 50 per cent of torque is transferred to the rear. This front-rear split is ensured by an electronic coupler and controlled by the latest-generation 'All mode 4x4-i' system developed by Nissan for New X-Trail.

This system, which is designed to optimize traction in all road conditions, is not only acclaimed for its efficiency but also contributes to Renault's acclaimed Koleos' exceptional off-road ability, which we will test very soon.
The same all-wheel drive management system also contributes to the vehicle's active safety performance. The instant it detects even a small amount of oversteer or understeer, it immediately modifies the front-rear torque split, even before a possible intervention from the ESP kicks in. When grip is at a premium, such as on snow, mud, dirt or sand, the driver only has to flick a switch on the dashboard to electronically lock the transmission in 4x4 mode. Alternatively, should the driver so wish, the transmission can also be locked in two-wheel drive mode.

So, let us hope that Renault will offer the Koleos in Egypt and the Middle East with the ESP as standard-equipment, and not take it out of the model like they do with the Megane and other Renault models here.

Koleos is also equipped with a Hill Start Assist function which can prove a particularly useful asset during everyday motoring. This system is automatically activated on gradients of more than 10 per cent with a view to preventing the vehicle slipping back down the slope. It also does away with the need for the driver to switch rapidly from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal which is inherent in most vehicles.

Similarly, Koleos is equipped with a Hill Descent Control system for even safer off-road motoring. This function is activated via a button mounted on the central fascia and automatically holds the vehicle's speed at a maximum of 4mph on downhill gradients of 10 per cent or more without requiring the brakes to be used. This function works in reverse gear, too.
Koleos will also be available in two-wheel drive form for those customers who are drawn by its adventurer, crossover looks but who have no call for all-wheel drive transmission.

Renault Koleos will be available with two types of Alliance engines in the UK. The latest-generation 2.0 dCi Euro 4 diesel engine (M9R) is available in a choice of two power outputs, 150hp or 175hp. The engine has already been seen on Renault’s Mégane, Laguna and Espace, Nissan's Qashqai and New X-Trail and Renault Samsung Motors' QM5. It features the very latest diesel engine technologies, including piezoelectric injectors, common-rail 1,600-bar fuel injection, a water-cooled variable-geometry turbo and a periodic regeneration particulate filter.

The 2.0 dCi engine is available with a broad, useful rev band, with peak torque of either 320 or 360Nm (depending on version) available from low engine speeds. The dCi 150 can be ordered for either the 4x2 or 4x4 versions and mated with either a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission. The 175hp version of the 2.0 dCi engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive.

Renault says the Koleos benefits from the Alliance's extensive active and passive safety expertise. They also say safety is a fundamental feature built into all Renault models, and Koleos has been engineered to provide impeccable performance on both the active and passive safety fronts.

Its active safety is based on its carefully engineered chassis and large brakes which bring the model to a standstill from 62mph in just 42 metres, one of the shortest stopping distances to be found in the SUV/crossover segment. In emergency braking situations, when taking avoidance action or when grip is lost, Koleos can count on ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) and ESP with understeer control. Even before the latter kicks in, the all-wheel drive transmission control system intervenes to adjust the front-rear torque split as soon as the first signs of oversteer or understeer are detected.

The fact that Renault's range includes eight models that have been awarded the maximum five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating speaks volumes for the brand's expertise when it comes to passive safety. It goes without saying that Koleos has benefited from the years of extensive research that have gone into studying real-life accidents.

Its very structure has been engineered to include programmed crumple zones both at the front and rear, while the design of the cabin's structure allows it to serve as a protective cell in the case of an accident. Furthermore, Koleos comes with a long list of equipment committed to optimising occupant protection, including six airbags (including two adaptive front airbags which adapt to the passenger's build), load limiters for the front and outer rear seat seatbelts, front seatbelt pretensioners and Isofix child seat anchorage for the outer rear seats.

But all these passive and active features and 5-Stars EuroNCAP awards won't help you one inch if your Renault service fails in returning to you a safe and well-functioning car after being maintained and serviced at the official workshop, just like it happened to us. In that case you have only two options left: Either you repair your car outside the Renault Service in Mokattam or you put your car in a glass-container and use it as a demo-car for a Road Safety & Safe Driving campaign. Well, we considered the second option especially since we already have such a campaign running.

We hope that this will be a wake-up call for Renault in Egypt as well as in France that the best EuroNCAP safety results are worth nothing, if the cars are offered with no ESP and above also suffer from a 'damaging' service and recall policy. We surely don't hope that Renault becomes Créateur des problems' instead of 'Créateur d'automobiles'!

write comment

Readers Comments:

No comments yet


The biggest automotive group and Road Safety initiative in Egypt and the Middle East
Want to sell your used car or buy one? Then check out our new used car market section here!

Mohamed Sheta on social media:

Looking for a good service center or aftersales customer service? Did you have any bad experience with your car dealer or service center? Then check our 'automotive evaluation charts' here!

Latest Test-Drive Video and CEO Interview

Ford EcoSport Titanium Test-Drive ... Part 1

Nile TV

Mohamed Sheta
Every Wednesday in The Breakfast Show on
8.30am – 09.00am LIVE


Every Thursday
on Egypt's most influential radio network:
Radio DRN 93.7 FM
Live from 6-8pm

Radio DRN 93.7 FM

Autoarabia Group @

Join Autoarabia Group @, racing, tuning and events in Egypt and Middle East
Is Egyptian car market corrupt or collapsing?
Is the Egyptian car market collapsing or is it just a corrupt and unprofessional car market? This is surely one of the most asked questions these days. Everybody is asking ...


AutoArabia Consulting

Only for company requests. For readers letters and complaints kindly click here

International Engine of the Year Award

Middle East Car of the Year


IRF seminar

Road Safety & Public/Private Partnership
International Road Federation