The top dog of Skoda’s line-up gets the L&K treatment – which puts this at the very top of the pile! But does it do enough to set itself apart?
In January 2018, we brought together some of the most capable SUVs in a bid to find out if these new-age, all-wheel crossovers were a match for the old-school, lumbering 4x4s. While the result was hugely in favour of the latter, the Skoda Kodiaq really proved itself in terms of refinement and comfort – positioning itself as the vehicle to have for those of you who didn’t intend to venture too far off the beaten path. In fact, the Kodiaq’s premium fittings, luxurious interior and a long list of features had us charmed from the very first time we experienced it. That said, at the time of launch, in October 2017, the Czech carmaker only introduced the Style variant – which was missing just a couple of tricks. And so Skoda has now launched the top-spec Laurin & Klement version of the Kodiaq, adding to its already long list of features.
What is it?
This isn’t the first time that Skoda has lavished the Laurin & Klement badge on one of their cars. We have already seen it being done with the Octavia and the Superb. The L&K insignia is Skoda’s way of paying homage to the company’s founders – Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement. They reserve this badge exclusively for only those models that flaunt luxury and class – the ones that sit atop the food chain. The Skoda Kodiaq L&K, then, will sit above the Style trim as the top-end variant.
How is it different?
In comparison to the Style variant, the Kodiaq L&K sports a few subtle changes on the exterior. While the Kodiaq always had a chrome surround for the butterfly grille, the L&K gets chrome accents on the grille itself. Other changes include silver roof rails and chrome accents on the rear bumper that look like exhaust casings. The only noticeable change along the sides is the Laurin & Klement insignia on the fenders. The Kodiaq L&K comes with two colour options – Lava Blue and the one that you see in the pictures here, Magnetic Brown.
Being the top dog in the Kodiaq range, the L&K also flaunts a longer list of features. While the standard Kodiaq comes fitted with a reversing camera, this one has four – at the front, back and two below the ORVMs. A 360-degree feed from these cameras appears on the infotainment screen, and you can even change the views. But the feature that fascinated us the most was the fully-digital instrument cluster – much like the Virtual Cockpit in the new-age Audis. Every bit of information that you’d possibly want, and then some, can be viewed on this screen. You can even switch between various display themes – single dial, two dials, with navigation or even infotainment information. Unlike the standard variant with a faux wood finish on the dash and door pads, the L&K has a piano black treatment. Even the panel around the gear lever has this gloss black finish – not ideal though since it tends to scratch easily. Door sills and sport pedals are some other bits exclusive to the L&K. While the seats themselves remain unchanged, they get new trim, with Laurin & Klement embroidered on the seatback.
Well, changes to the Kodiaq L&K’s interior aren’t many, but they still manage to uplift the overall appeal of the car to make it feel premium. A job well done, then!
What’s under the skin?
Under the hood of the Kodiaq L&K remains the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel motor, which is smooth and vibration-free. The noise inside the cabin is well contained for the most part. It does get loud as you push the motor, but not to the extent of being irksome. The 148bhp motor does a decent job of pulling this 1,799kg machine. Its max torque of 340Nm kicks in at about 2,000rpm, and from there, it progresses swiftly till its mid-range. It’s this aspect of the car that makes it a great urban SUV. Out on the highway, though, it may leave you wanting just that little bit more. While the Kodiaq is perfectly alright for highway cruising, swift overtaking may take a bit of planning or a downshift – sometimes both. The 7-speed DSG gearbox works like a dream. It shifts quickly, smoothly and, in fact, somewhat helps mask the slight shortcomings of the motor.
We have always loved the way Skoda cars are set up, and the Kodiaq is a textbook example of why. Despite its size and weight, the Kodiaq goes around bends with surprising certainty. Being an SUV, there’s some amount of vertical movement, but it doesn’t feel nervous at any point. Some credit for this should also go to the all-wheel-drive system. In terms of ride quality, the Kodiaq manages potholes with a fair bit of poise. Larger bumps may make you cringe, though, as the suspension tends to bottom out occasionally.
Worth every penny?
Priced at ₹35.99 lakh, the Kodiaq L&K demands nearly ₹1.5 lakh over the Style trim. While the L&K has quite a few minor tweaks that set it apart from the standard variant, the ones that truly matter are the 360-degree camera and the digital instrument cluster. Of course, the Laurin and Klement badge also demands a premium here, but we think that Skoda could’ve done a bit more to substantiate it. The fact that the Style variant itself is superbly well equipped could’ve handcuffed Skoda from doing more. After all, there’s only so much you can improve on something that’s already so good, especially without adding too much to the price tag.
- Skoda Kodiaq L&K
Engine: 1,968cc / Inline-4 Cylinder/ 16-Valves/ Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG All-Wheel Drive
Power: 148bhp @ 3,500rpm – 4,000rpm
Torque: 340Nm @ 1,750rpm – 3,000rpm
Price: ₹35.99 lakh (ex-showroom)
X-Factor: Priced like a premium SUV, but feels like a luxury car – the Skoda Kodiaq L&K presents the best of both worlds.
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