Skoda Octavia Scout – Review
By Liam Bird
Not so long ago if you were in the market for a vehicle that was capable of carrying a family of five, plus all of their associated paraphernalia, then you needed an estate car. If, however, you needed some kind off-road ability too your choices were limited even further. It was either a Land-Rover County, a Range Rover if you had the funds, a Land Cruiser if you had even more funds, or you simply took your chances. Then some bright spark somewhere fits four-wheel drive to a saloon car and a whole host of options open up.
Then, of course, road taxes went up, fuel prices rocketed, and the price of your Range-Wrangler plummeted. So then, you’re back to taking your chances? You needn’t be – and there’s no reason for you to be breaking the bank either. The solution, according to Skoda at least, is their Octavia Scout.
So then, what exactly is an Octavia Scout?
“One of the most practical cars on the market today”
By taking their already highly competent and cavernous Octavia estate and equipping it with their haldex-clutch four-wheel drive system, a raised ride height and some pretty serious looking body mouldings and aluminium undertrays, Skoda have created what might just be one of the most practical cars on the market today. Yes, Audi, Volvo and the now sadly defunct SAAB, to name but a few manufacturers, all make (or made) similar load-lugging, field crossing, estate cars. But how many of those can be bought for £22,270? Even with the optional Alcantara trim, xenon headlights and built in sat-nav “our” test car’s list price is still way below that of its contemporaries.
But don’t go thinking the Scout scrimps on quality. It’s no secret that Skoda is just one of a host of brands under Volkswagen’s all-encompassing umbrella. So it’s no surprise then, that when the door shuts with a re-assuring quality sounding thunk, and you find yourself behind the wheel, you recognise the indicator stalks and cruise control switches as being from a Golf, the dual zone climate control from a Passat, and the trip computer? Looks like last generation Audi to me.
“As a long distance cruiser the Scout remains comfortable”
The driving experience is a familiar one too. Despite the suspension lift, the Scout doesn’t roll quite as much as you might expect. Thanks to that clever clutch, most of the time 98 per cent of the power goes to the front wheels. As a result, the Scout drives like a standard Octavia. The steering may have inherited some of its parent companies trademark numbness and the ride can feel a little firm especially, ironically, on broken surfaces. But overall, as a long distance cruiser, the Scout remains comfortable, plus you know there’ll always be plenty of grip.
As something that’s distinctive enough to stand-out but still have the ability not to draw too much attention to itself, the Octavia Scout makes a lot of sense. Couple that to the fact that in a week’s driving and nearly 500 miles, during most of which I was accompanied not only by my leaden right foot but at least two full-sized passengers, the 2.0 litre diesel example I tried never resorted to a thirst greater than 40mpg.
As an all-rounder for all seasons I’d say it was a serious contender.
Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI
Engine: 1968cc 16V 4Cyl Turbo Diesel DPF
Power: 138BHP @ 4200rpm
Torque: 236lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
Transmission: 6 speed DSG , with Haldex controlled 4×4 0-62
MPH: 10.1 sec.
Max Speed: 124 MPH
MPG: 45.6 (combined)
Price: from £22,720 (car shown £26,595)