The current Octavia Scout, Skoda’s high-riding 4×4 version of its popular Octavia estate, is one of those cars which is less popular than it really deserves. Even the notoriously picky Top Gear conceded that, to quote, it “makes soft roaders look stupid in ploughed fields and can still do 99% of the things that a car can – all for less than you might reasonably expect”.
Well, the latest model, announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March and on sale this month, may have increased in price but should be even better off-road, thanks to an improved, fifth-generation Haldex 4-wheel drive system. On-road performance should be sharper too, with claimed fuel consumption of up to 55.4mpg on the combined cycle from both 150 and 184ps versions of the 2.0 TDI engine offered at launch. This is a worthwhile improvement of up to 20%, accompanied by a drop in CO2 emissions which are down to 129 and 134 g/km respectively.
The 150ps diesel comes with a 6-speed manual box, whilst the 184ps unit is mated to VAG’s excellent DSG auto. From personal experience with a DSG-equipped Yeti, I can confirm that this gearbox, in contrast to expectations, performs excellently off-road
The Scout builds on the sharpened styling and high-specification features of the latest Octavia estate, with the ride height raised by 33mm for improved ground clearance, and an array of plastic panels at low level to shrug off minor off-road impacts. The underside also receives additional protection for off-road duties.
Being based on VAG’s MQB platform should ensure that ride and handling are also improved over the outgoing model.
With a starting price of £25,315, the new model is more expensive than its predecessor, indeed is edging into Audi Q3 pricing, yet provides a lot more space for the ever-increasing numbers of folk who are not badge conscious and are looking for a discreet spacious load-lugger which can take a degree of off-road use in it’s stride without the usual “look-at-me” Chelsea tractor image.
Get more here: Skoda