Thursday 21 November 2019

Octavia L&K – white collar motoring at blue collar price

PREMIUM DRIVE: The stylish Octavia Laurin & Klement (L&K) is priced from €32,860
PREMIUM DRIVE: The stylish Octavia Laurin & Klement (L&K) is priced from €32,860

Philip Hedderman

If ever there was a sign that austerity is over then this luxurious Skoda is it. Yes folks, it seems the good times are here again and to celebrate the Czech car giant have rolled out a super-buff Octavia.

It’s called the L&K after the founding fathers Vacalv Laurin and Vaclav Klement, who began their automotive empire by building bicycles and motorbikes.

Now, we have sampled the delights of the L&K badge on the flagship Superb making the poor man’s Passat even more erm, superb, but never thought we’d see it adorning the rear of a ‘bread and butter’ motor like the Octavia. Initially we were a tad sceptical and wondered if all that bling would somehow besmirch the honesty of its hard-earned reputation?

Not one little bit.

In fact, we walked away questioning why it took so long to showcase the marque’s super-deluxe credentials in a family car.

Being top-end there are lots of goodies heaped on to the already generous spec of the Elegance model, including snazzy 18-inch Turbine alloy wheels, Bi-xenon headlights and LED clusters in the rear lights.

Telescopic front headlight washers and cornering front fog lights are also standard.

Chrome window surrounds give the hatchback a real premium look, especially when twinned in rich metallic brown.

Inside the luxury continues unabated with sumptuous brown alcantara and leather upholstery with heated and height adjustable memory seats embossed with the L&K logo.

A 10-speaker Canton Sound system operated through a 10-inch colour touchscreen is home to Bluetooth with voice control, music streaming and onboard computer.

The model will be offered in Ireland with a choice of two engines: the 1.8-litre TSI petrol with  180bhp and the familiar 2.0-litre 150bhp TDI twinned to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG Automatic.

There is also the option of four-wheel drive for Combi estate models that utilise the latest generation of the Haldex clutch – all at a price, though.

This is where the confusion sets in.

If the Octavia L&K offers white collar luxury at blue collar prices why are there so many optional extras?

For starters, metallic paint costs an extra €531 and sat nav, although not on everyone’s wish list, is also an optional extra.

Adaptive cruise control, park assist and traffic sign recognition are also on the ‘can have but it’ll cost’ list.

But the biggest anomaly of all is the premium for the DSG gearbox – which is synonymous with luxury driving – is a hefty  €2,515 extra.

That said, the oil burner is brilliantly frugal returning  63mpg (4.5l/100km) and emissions are kept at 119g/km – meaning road tax of just €200.

The biggest problem is the fact that the bog standard Octavia is so good it’s hard to justify the extra wedge.

Prices for the Octavia L&K start from €31,995.

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