Used test: Renault Koleos vs Mazda CX-5

Temptingly priced and spacious inside, a used Renault Koleos makes sense as a family car, but could the sportier and faster Mazda CX-5 be a better large SUV buy?...

New Renault Koleos vs Mazda CX-5

What are they like inside?

While we weren’t overly enamoured with the original CX-5’s interior, things are much improved in the latest model. It may not be the most exciting to look at, but its dense plastics, tasteful brushed metal-effect trims and precise-feeling buttons and switches are a cut above what you’ll find in the Koleos.

New Renault Koleos vs Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 gets off to a good start by dint of how its 7.0in touchscreen with satellite navigation is located on top of the dashboard, making it easy to see. Further more, you don’t have to prod away at the screen to use the system; there’s also a rotary dial interface between the front seats that’s less distracting to use while driving. It’s a shame that there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring, though.

New Renault Koleos vs Mazda CX-5

Dynamique S Nav Koleos models get a 7.0in touchscreen with sat-nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In other Renault models, this system has proved fairly responsive, if a little tricky to navigate at times because of its clunky menus. Range-topping Signature trim versions have a bigger 8.7in portrait system, but this larger system isn’t any better so you’re not missing out by sticking with a lower trim.

New Renault Koleos vs Mazda CX-5

The Koleos also has a lot less rear head room than the CX-5 but, again, you’d need to be seriously tall to find your head brushing the ceiling. Conversely, we suspect even the moderately lanky will prefer the acres of rear leg room in the Koleos to the merely sufficient leg room in the CX-5. But at least the CX-5 gets a seat reclining function, should one of your rear passengers fancy a snooze.

Flick through the brochures for both cars and you’d think the Koleos has the bigger boot. It certainly has a longer cargo area, but we were able to squeeze more carry-on suitcases into the CX-5 (eight versus seven).

New Renault Koleos vs Mazda CX-5

Both cars have levers in the boot that you can pull to fold down the rear seats, but the CX-5 goes one better by having 40/20/40 split-folding seatbacks rather than the Koleos’s less convenient 60/40 arrangement. Once they’re folded down, the CX-5’s rear seats also lie at less of an incline.

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