I like a Skoda. I may have mentioned this before. They are competitively priced, well made and always surprisingly commodious. The Skoda Octavia Scout featured here is no different and is, in my opinion, worthy of consideration, especially for country dwellers. The regular Octavia Estate if fine but if you need a little more ground clearance and the benefits of intelligent four-wheel drive then the Scout is for you.
Let’s not get carried away though. Although this is a name that conjures up visions of exploration and wilderness, the Skoda Octavia Scout is not a serious mud-plugger. It is simply a chunky full-fat version of the regular Octavia 4×4 and it is not much of a stretch to think that most buyers may well ask themselves why they should fork out extra for this beefed up model.
Scout gets the automatic Haldex clutch system also found on the Octavia 4×4 estate. The test car came with 2.0L 181bhp diesel engine and a six-speed DSG auto gearbox with well-spaced ratios that suit the car’s performance. There are no paddles but extra control is available via a sequential shift on the gear lever.
There’s a choice of modes to suit purpose. Normal and Eco do as you would expect whilst Sport adapts the engine and steering to suit a ‘sporty driving style’. Sport is better when shifting manually. For general use though, I chose to keep it in Normal, but preferred the extra weighting of the Sport steering, selected via the Individual mode.
On a very long trip on mixed roads with no attempt on my part to be in any way economy minded, the Skoda Octavia Scout achieved a highly creditable 44mpg. Skoda’s official ‘combined’ figure for this car is 55.6mpg which I reckon with a bit of care may be achievable.
The Skoda Octavia Scout is practical, comfortable and versatile. The boot is immense and comes with a carpet lining that can be flipped to reveal a rubber surface for muddy boots, dogs and the like. Our car had the optional space-saver spare tucked away beneath. With 17” ‘Polar’ alloys and a tyre profile suited to mixed surfaces, including a muddy field, the ride remained relaxing and comfortable.
The Scout’s modified suspension raises both the ride height and ground clearance over the standard version, and there’s some butch ‘off-road’ body cladding that pumps the car up a bit. This doesn’t make the motor an off-road choice but it would easily handle muddy camp-sites and the occasional farm track, for instance.
Prevailing circumstances meant I was unable to take any decent shots of the test car. You can see it in the specification sheet below in a very smart dark ‘Quartz Grey’ metallic paint. The images here are from Skoda Media. Sorry about that.
The cabin is restrained yet well designed. Our car had all the mod-cons including Bluetooth, Aux, USB, climate, cruise and so on with a old-school CD player tucked away in the glove box. Trim, layout and finish is good especially the Alcantara and leather seats on this model. The dashboard is clear and easy to use with lots of info available amongst the trip computer settings.
The steering wheel is good to hold with some controls at your fingertips. I like the little touches for storage and convenience. There’s also a ticket holder on the windscreen, something that all cars should have as standard.
The Skoda Octavia Scout is a very good car indeed. Out on the road it provides a very nice, if not especially involving drive. Our model had the optional ‘Lane-Assist’ which nudges the steering wheel if you change lanes without indicating because the car thinks you’re wandering. It’s a good safety feature that most people will appreciate and is just part of the safety / infotainment set-up itemised on the specification sheet below.
I think you would only buy this more expensive version over the normal 4×4 Octavia if you saw the need for a slightly higher ride (+33mm) and the ‘rough road package’ that adds that adds underbody protection, improved approach and rear-departure angles and model-specific front and rear bumpers. If that floats your boat or indeed tows your boat, then I highly recommend the Skoda Octavia Scout as the perfect all-rounder for family and business use. Geoff Maxted