New Skoda Kodiaq L&K review

Is the poshest Skoda Kodiaq SUV worth the premium over cheaper versions? We drive the top-spec L&K model to find out...

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

As is so often the case with cars like this, the lower-spec models make more financial sense. While the Skoda Kodiaq L&K is nicely built and comes loaded with kit, our top pick remains the well-equipped SE L, which offers all the space and equipment a growing family might need. Stick with that and you’ve got one of the finest large SUVs on the market.

The proliferation of PCP finance deals is encouraging people to trade up; spending a little more per month gifts new car buyers equipment and luxuries they’d otherwise be unable to afford.

A decade ago, the idea of a £40,000 Skoda was considered little more than a bad joke. But 10 years later there’s a plethora of models that, with a few options, offer the ability to tip the car’s list price into the higher tax band. The latest is this: the Kodiaq L&K.

Skoda Kodiaq in-depth review

L&K stands for Laurin and Klement – the names of Skoda’s two founding partners and the nomenclature applied to only the most expensive models in the range. It’s a badge that’s been attached to the Octavia and Superb for some time now, and one that signifies the ultimate in Czech luxury.

The Kodiaq’s designers have thrown everything at this top-spec SUV – from unique alloy wheels to a glorious panoramic sunroof. All versions get special logos on the plush leather seats, as well as special stitching, badges and ambient lighting. There are chrome L&K plaques on the outside, as well as extra body coloured trim, too.

All lovely stuff, but is any of it essential in a mainstream family SUV? Even if you ignore the near-£40k list price, on one of Skoda’s popular PCP deals the L&K here is around £60 more per month (£472) than a like-for-like SE L on a 48-month/10,000-mile per year deal with a 10 per cent deposit. That’s a lot for some fancy leather and an upgraded stereo.

It’s not even as if the Kodiaq L&K looks or feels particularly upmarket alongside its more modest siblings – but that’s more a compliment of the lesser versions than a direct criticism of this range flagship. Every Kodiaq feels built to withstand the rigours of family life, and the same is true of the new L&K.

As such, it’s the lower spec levels that continue to offer the most bang for your buck. The SE L’s 19-inch wheels, full LED lights, heated front seats and 9.2-inch sat-nav system hardly shout ‘basic’ – and given the savings you’ll make on the monthlies, there’s even room to add a few desirable options.

Of course, the Kodiaq continues to be one of the easiest SUVs to live with. There’s loads of room inside, and even in L&K spec there’s a decent spread of engines to choose from. This 2.0-litre TSI is a little thirsty (it’ll do just 30mpg on the new WLTP cycle); we’d recommend one of the two (148bhp or 187bhp) 2.0 TDI diesels instead.

Regardless of engine choice, however, the Kodiaq remains an excellent long-distance cruiser, with a relatively compliant ride even on larger alloy wheels. Our car’s petrol engine is incredibly quiet, and around town the DSG box takes the strain out of stop-start traffic. The transmission isn’t as proficient when you ask for sudden bursts of acceleration, but rewards gentle driving with seamlessly smooth shifts.

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