Skoda Adds Range-Topping Octavia Laurin & Klement

What am I looking at?

A luxury Skoda - the Octavia Laurin & Klement. It pops up on the top of the Octavia range, above the existing Elegance.

What's new?

Skoda has loaded several thousand pounds of kit onto the Elegance to create the L&K trim, including a special brown Alcantara and leather interior (with a smattering of L&K logos and stitching). Adaptive bi-xenon headlights and cornering front fog lights are standard equipment, as are the 18" 'Turbine' alloy wheels - unique to the L&K.

Otherwise, it's the same Octavia we all know and love.

What powers it?

As the L&K isa bit special, Skoda offers youits two top non-vRS engines. This means you either get the 2.0 TDI diesel with 148 hp or the new 1.8 TSI petrol with 177 hp. Both are available with either a six speed manual or DSG automatic and you can specify the estate-bodied diesel manual with 4WD should the mood take.

The diesel returns the same performance and economy figures as in the lesser specced models - 0-62 mph dusted off in 8.5s for either gearbox, VED band B for the manual and C for the DSG, with 68.9 and 62.8 mpg respectively. The new TSI slips into band F alongside the vRS at around 45 mpg, but the DSG car will save you a few pennies, slotting into band E.

Anything else?

Vclav Laurin and Vclav Klement were the Bohemian founders of the 1890s car manufacturing company that preceded Skoda's interest in the sector. The more you know...

How much will it cost me?

The cheapest LK is the manual TDI, which will run you to 26,410 - a huge 4,100 leap above the previous flag-bearer Elegance trim and a comfortable grand more than the vRS. Prices top out at 28,665 for that 4x4 estate version, though with a reckless abandon taken to the options list you can run up a 35k bill.

Any alternatives?

Ultimately you'll be looking at top-spec models of any traditional Octavia rival - the Mondeo Titanium X Sport, the Mazda 6 Sport Nav, the Vauxhall Insignia VX-Line and so on - but at prices pushing thirty grand there's some sterner premium competition from above. The Skoda's own more premium brothers - VW Passat and Audi A4 - are in the price bracket for a start and a top spec Passat isn't going to cost a significantly different amount.

Where there's an Audi, there's a BMW and a Mercedes too, and sure enough the C-Class and 3-Series can be had for similar money - though the level of spec you'll get for the same coin is a little more questionable. Even Jaguar XF prices are only a few hundred pounds away from the LK 4x4...

In essence, like the Mondeo Vignale, it seems like rather a lot of money to throw at a family car with brown leather inside it with premium competitors lurking nearby.

In a line...

More car than you need - when a regular Octavia is plenty for a lot less.

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