A press release landed in my inbox recently, from Glassís, the used car valuation experts. It was about LED and bi-xenon headlights and how they can have a positive impact on residual values. The thinking is that cars fitted with such are more desirable because they make the driving experience so much nicer, while the adoption of LED daytime running lights also makes the car look more distinctive. One of the most impressive things about our long-term Octavia is its LED headlights, which are quite brilliant. The first time I drove a car with them was in 2013, when the current SEAT Leon arrived. I ran a long-term test car the following year and I wasnít all that impressed by the lighting, which was no better than a decent xenon set-up; albeit more efficient and durable, presumably.
Having read the hype in the Leonís press release, I was bracing myself for some lights that allowed me to see into the next county, but they just werenít that impressive. Not so with the Skoda though, which must be the best lights Iíve ever had the pleasure of using ñ although whether or not theyíre good enough to boost the carís value Iím not so sure. Perhaps in the short term, while the car is still within warranty, those buying a used Octavia with LED headlights might pay a premium, but once the car starts to age significantly I reckon it could go the other way. As Glassís points out, the cost of replacing a bi-xenon or LED headlamp unit is necessarily high, something that we discovered when running a CitroÎn DS 5 a couple of years ago. Just a light skirmish with a plastic traffic cone resulted in a bill of more than £3,000, largely because of the high cost of replacing a damaged xenon headlight.
On the basis that LED headlights are supposed to last indefinitely, and also because of their efficiency, I donít think I would hesitate to buy a used car thatís fitted with them. My own 2002 Audi A4 features xenon headlights and they still work perfectly using their original bulbs, and theyíre a match for many of the latest cars that I get to drive in the course of my job. As with any of these things when buying a used car, itís a question of working out how much of a premium youíre prepared to pay for technology that makes the car nicer to live with, but potentially leaves you exposed to big bills if it all goes wrong. Having said that, I suspect in reality very few people think about the cost of replacement parts at the point that theyíre buying a used car ñ something that theyíll later come to regret.
Date arrived 2nd May 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.7mpg (on test)
The instrumentation is clear, while the display between the dials can be configured to show pretty much whatever information you want.
Despite the Octavia being fitted with lots of high-tech equipment, there are no heated seats, which we’re missing now that winter is here.