The West

Koleos is hard to pass up
Renault Koleos. Supplied picture

French car makers have stripped their prices and now Renault is doing all kinds of fan dances to lure buyers.

It's all part of a bid to score a few more sales off the Japanese and Koreans.

Until recently, a French small car such as the Peugeot 308 was about $5000 pricier than the likes of a Toyota Corolla or Mazda3.

These days the gap is around $2000.

The same goes for other similar-size Gallic cars - the Citroen C4 (an auto), Renault Megane and Renault Fluence - each of which kicks off at $22,990 plus on-road costs.

In the mini-car arena, Peugeot's coming 208 line-up is tipped to be priced from $16,990.

Next year, Renault will deliver a new Clio compact car, which is likely to have a similar price tag.

Among swish and roomy sedans, Peugeot's 508 starts at $36,990 while Citroen's C5 is even lighter on the wallet, at $32,990. Five years ago, such cars would have been $10,000 more.

But the French model I'm focusing on here is one I tested recently, the Renault Koleos.

It's a smart mid-size SUV that has four strong sales boosters.

One, it has a reduced price tag on the entry variant, a 2.5-litre petrol manual 2WD.

The $29,990 drive-away figure is less than the sector's sales leader in WA, the Toyota Rav4, and $3000 under the Koleos' asking price when it arrived in 2009.

The second lure is Renault's across-the-range five-year warranty, which is unique for European-brand cars.

Thirdly, people who buy a Renault before the end of September receive capped-price servicing for up to three years.

And lastly, no-interest and no-deposit finance is available on the Renault range to approved buyers until September 30.

The service/finance offers could save buyers a combined $4200 over three years. Let's see how.

Koleos services are at intervals of one year or 10,000km.

They usually cost $360, $475 and $360 for the first three. But the special deal caps each at $199, an overall saving of about $600.

If a buyer financed $30,000 over 36 months at zero per cent with no residual, the monthly repayment would be about $835.

But had the buyer been charged 8 per cent, the monthly payment would have been about $100 more.

So the no-interest finance saves about $3600 over three years.

There is a rider to the $29,990 drive-away pricing.

It's a good deal if you're happy with an entry manual 2WD.

However, if you wanted an auto, a 4WD or a higher spec the price tags are competitive but unremarkable.

The entry model in auto is $34,599 drive away, a big jump.

A mid-spec Dynamique auto is $38,960 drive away.

There's also a range of auto petrol and diesel 4WDs, topping out at just over $50,000 drive away for one with all the fruit.

However, factor in the warranty, service and finance deals and things look somewhat sweeter.

Model: Renault Koleos
Variant: 2.5-litre petrol Expresssion 2WD with six-speed manual
Type: Mid-size entry-level SUV
Price: $29,990 drive-away
Warranty: Five years
Service cap: $199 for up to 3 years
Finance: Zero per cent and no deposit to approved buyers*

  • Available until September 30

VERDICT It's a smart mid-size SUV that is putting out four strong attractants to buyers.

The West Australian

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