Skoda Octavia Scout

 

   SUVs, they’re everywhere. Qashqais, CR-Vs, Tiguans and Jukes clog up the school-run; Evoques, Q3s, X3s, and Macans do lunch in the more well-to-do parts of town. Suzuki have just announced a new Vitara, Jaguar will build the F-Pace, and even Bentley, Rolls Royce and Maserati are getting in on the act.  The doctor’s got a V60, the local builder drives Sorrento, the window cleaner has just shown up in and old Discovery… Even I’ve got one. There’s a Yeti hibernating in my garage; gone is the Golf that once filled that space. I’ve too have succumbed to the SUV,

    But, what if you’re not such a dedicated follower of fashion, yet your driveway isn’t one of manicured gravel, and you could still do with a little all-wheel drive assistance when the going gets tough?

     The answer to that question just might be the Skoda Octavia Scout.

   As its name suggests the Scout comes fully prepared for a life outdoors. By equipping their vastly capacious Octavia estate with a host of heavy-duty body and wheel-arch mouldings, some chunkier re-profiled front and rear bumpers, a Rough Road package (think extra under-body protection for the sump, brake-lines, etc) and then raising its ride height too, the Czech manufacturers have turned what was already a hugely practical car into probably one of the most practical cars available. Not only that but they’ve also fitted it with the most advanced four-wheel drive system ever to grace a Skoda.

    OK, so one look at the Scout is all it takes to tell you that’s it’s no match for a Defender off-road, but lets be honest if you’re in the market for something that tough you’ve probably lost interest by now anyway. Nevertheless, by electronically regulating the torque that’s distributed to the front and rear axles the fifth generation Haldex differential that’s been fitted to the Scout should seriously improve your chances of getting off a muddy festival car-park, a campsite -incidentally caravaners, the Scout can tow up to 2 tonnes - , a snowy driveway, or up a forest road. An electronic differential lock is also standard, and the system also assesses road speed and steering angle to further aid traction. Higher profile tyres have also been fitted, which together with the mild suspension lift, contribute to the Scout’s overall ground clearance of 171mm. For most family orientated non off-roady types that have no compulsion to intentionally plunder the tundra that should prove to be more than enough.

    What’s more impressive perhaps is that none of the aforementioned extra oily bits seem to make a great deal of difference to the way this off-road Octavia behaves when on the tarmac. Despite it’s slightly loftier stance the Scout doesn’t roll as much as might be expected, the result being that unsurprisingly perhaps it drives like a standard Octavia.  The steering does suffer from a little 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. 

   The 184 bhp diesel 6 speed automatic version I sampled is said to hit 60 mph from standstill in 7.8 seconds, return 55.4mpg on the combined cycle, and go on to a top speed where allowed of 136 mph. There’s also a more frugal 148bhp diesel version available for those who don’t have quite the same sense of urgency. Both offer the added reassurance of plenty of grip.

    But, the question you really want answering, and the question I kept asking myself, is this: After a week in the company of Skoda’s new Octavia Scout, would I swap my Yeti for it?

    At a whisker over 4.6metres in length, sadly the Scout’s too long for my garage. Otherwise, yes, I quite possibly would

   

 

Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDi 184ps 4x4 DSG

Engine: 1,968 cc, 4Cyl, high pressure direct injection turbo-diesel

Transmission: 6 speed DSG Auto. Four wheel Drive (with Haldex Diff)

Power: 184 bhp @ 3500 – 4000 rpm

Torque: 236 lbft @ 1750 - 3250 rpm

0-62mph: 7.8 sec

Max Speed: 136 mph

MPG:  55.4 combined.

CO2: 134g/km

Price: from £27,990 (as tested £30,055)

 

Many thanks to Amy and Nicki at Skoda’s UK press office for the loan of the Scout

 

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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