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Renault Koleos review 2020

The CLS is a suave, stylish, desirable alternative to Mercedes’ own E-Class saloon.

Average Price
Out of 5


  • Sporty, yet sophisticated looks
  • Premium interior
  • Powerful engines


  • Isn’t very cheap to run
  • Expensive to buy new
  • Lacklustre practicality
  • MPG

    45 - 46

  • CO2

    161 - 183 g/km

Model review

The first generation CLS debuted at the 2004 New York International Auto Show, and while it was based on the same platform as the Mercedes E-Class saloon, it had its sights set on the four-door coupe market. The German manufacturer wanted the CLS to appeal to those wanting something similar to the E-Class, but with more style, sportiness and presence.

With the original CLS’s run coming to a close in 2010, Mercedes began selling the second-generation car in 2011. The firm must have successfully found and filled a niche, as it added a new variant to the range, called the Shooting Brake – this time targeting those after a sleeker version of the E-Class estate.


In 2014, the car was facelifted to include alterations such as design changes, engine enhancements and a new automatic transmission. The third, current generation CLS replaced the previous iteration in 2018.

Current model

As mentioned before, the latest CLS arrived in 2018. Unlike the second-generation model, this one doesn’t include a Shooting Brake estate version – this was due to declining demand.

Out on the road, it becomes apparent rather quickly that the CLS is more about grace and elegance than agility and engagement. After all, it’s a big, heavy car by nature and it’s hard to get away from that. The model isn’t perhaps as sporty as its looks might suggest.

Let’s just say its better at crossing continents comfortably than being entertaining during a B-road blast. This is not a mark down on the CLS – just something to keep in mind.

Value for money

New CLS models start at £50,090, which is a rather significant leap from the E-Class saloon’s £38,550 starting price. Is it worth it? Well, looking at CLS rivals such as the £48,175 Audi A7 and £43,910 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo, the Mercedes doesn’t seem much more expensive.

There are some great deals to be had on the used market. Cheapest examples – which will be the original, first generation car – can be had for around £2,000. For a current generation CLS, expect to pay upwards of around £30,000 – still not bad.

Looks and image

Good looks are a big part of the reason why someone may choose the CLS over the E-Class. In our opinion, the latest CLS is the best looking out of the three generations and a cracking car to look over. Sure, it doesn’t stand out massively from the rest of the Mercedes range, but it certainly delivers on its goal of being an aggressive-looking yet handsome four-door and we think most buyers will be more than happy with its appearance.

Space and practicality

Compared to looks, practicality takes a bit of a backseat when it comes to buying incentives over the E-Class. That being said, it’s on par, if not a little lacklustre, compared with most executive saloons. Cabin space is generous throughout, although headroom will prove a tad tight in the rear for taller passengers. In addition, due to the narrow middle seat, comfort in the back isn’t great with three abreast.

Boot space is also decent but not fantastic. There’s up to 520 litres of room on offer, however, the boot opening itself isn’t the largest, making it difficult to load some bigger items.



The CLS is available with a range of petrol and diesel powerplants. The base engine, badged the 300 d, is a diesel producing 242bhp – a fairly hefty amount for an entry-level unit. On the petrol front, the most affordable option is the CLS 350 – it develops 295bhp, along with 14bhp from Mercedes’ mild-hybrid EQ Boost system.

Topping the range is the AMG-tuned CLS 53. This petrol performance variant has a healthy 429bhp, allowing for 0-60mph time of just 4.3 seconds.

Running costs

With all engines available with the CLS possessing significant amounts of power, the model won’t be amazingly cheap to run. That being said, every unit is reasonably economical for the class – with the best being the 300 d and the worst being the CLS 53.

The diesel 300 d is said to be able to return around 42.9mpg and emit 142g/km of CO2. The potent petrol CLS 53, on the other hand, claims to achieve circa 30.4mpg and emit 202g/km of CO2. As mentioned previously, not revolutionary figures, but not too bad for the type of car – a hybrid or electric version could help in this area.

Things to look out for

The newest CLS is still a tad too young to be able to determine long term reliability. Looking at Mercedes as a whole though, the brand does seem to have a mixed reputation in this department. In the driver satisfaction surveys, it usually tends to place near the middle, if not towards the bottom. This doesn’t mean the CLS is a bad buy – just look out for any potential issues as you should with any car, then it shouldn’t be the end of the world if something does go awry.



Despite the CLS carving out quite the niche for itself, the model isn’t without competition. It has to compete with cars such as the Audi A7, BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo and Mercedes’ own E-Class and perhaps even S-Class. The CLS is, however, a desirable product, meaning it’s sure to attract buyers after a more stylish alternative to your everyday mid-sized executive saloon car. Looking within its class? The CLS is definitely one to check out.



The CLS should hold its value rather well as it has quite a lot going for it in this area. For starters, it sits in what’s considered a sought-after part of the executive saloon market, demanding a premium over its more conventional counterparts. Furthermore, the Mercedes badge, as well as premium interior, helps it too. All this adds up to a car that will offer a good return when it comes to selling it on.

Which Koleos to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.7 Blue dCi Iconic 5dr 2WD X-Tronic

Most MPG

1.7 Blue dCi Iconic 5dr 2WD X-Tronic

Fastest Model (0-60)

2.0 Blue dCi Iconic 5dr X-Tronic

Trims Explained

There are currently two trim levels offered with the CLS – AMG Line and CLS 53.

'AMG Line'

On all options bar the CLS 53, the model gets the AMG Line trim. When opting for it, buyers can expect kit such as the AMG interior sports package, AMG Line exterior, the parking package with reversing camera, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels.

Priced from £50,090

'CLS 53'

While calling it a trim level is debateable – it’s more of a high-performance version – the CLS 53 should still be mentioned as having equipment like keyless-go, a 360-degree camera and 20-inch AMG alloy wheels.

Available from £75,860


  1. The CLS is a four-door coupe and alternative to the Mercedes E-Class on which it’s based
  2. The first-generation version debuted at the 2004 New York International Auto Show
  3. The second iteration went on sale in 2011
  4. It received a full refresh in 2014
  5. The current, third generation CLS came about in 2018
  6. We think the latest version of the model is the best looking yet
  7. It demands quite a high price, but isn’t too far away from rivals
  8. Space and practicality, while alright, is lacking compared to more conventional counterparts
  9. All engines offer good amounts of power, but aren’t incredibly cheap to run
  10. New CLS models are priced at £50,090, while used examples of the first generation can be picked up for as little as £2,000

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