Renault has taken a similiar step as its fellow French manufacturers Citroen and Peugeot in producing an SUV with the help of a Japanese car manufacturer. Citroen and Peugeot recently launched the Citroen C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007 twins, which are essentially reskinned Mitsubishi Outlanders.

The new Renault Koleos (to be sold as the Renault Samsung QMX in South Korea) is based on the Nissan X-Trail platform and even uses the same suspension system, which is a MacPherson-type front suspension and a fully-independent multilink rear suspension. The Koleos is basically another fruit of the Nissan-Renault Alliance.

It is marketed as a crossover and has crossover-like styling instead of outright rugged SUV styling, and like most crossovers that are intended to stay in the urban jungle, comes in 4X2 as well as a 4X4 drivetrain. The design first made its debut as a concept at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.

It is available with either a 2.5 litre 175 horsepower inline-4 petrol engine or two M9R 2.0 litre dCi Euro 4 turbodiesel engines that come in either 150 horsepower, 320Nm torque or 175 horsepower, 360Nm torque versions. The turbodiesel engines feature piezoelectric injectors, common-rail 1,600-bar fuel injection, and water-cooled variable-geometry turbochargers. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual, or a CVT transmission.

The 4X4 drivetrain powers the front wheels most of the time, and channels power to the rear only when necessary, up to a split of 50:50. There is a Hill Start Assist feature for gradients of more than 10%, and also a Hill Descent Control feature that holds the car at 8km/h when going down steep hills. Ground clearance is 188mm for the diesel models and 206mm for the petrol version.

The Renault Koleos will make its official public debut at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show in March 2008. More photos and a video after the jump.

VIDEO: Renault Koleos SUV