Skoda’s Octavia Scout is one of a growing breed of jacked-up, four-wheel drive estate cars, and since its introduction in 2007, the Scout has accounted for 8 per cent of all Skoda estates sold.
Now in its second generation and offering a 33mm increase in ride height compared to the standard Octavia estate, this latest Scout features a fifth generation Haldex 4x4 system for improved traction plus a slight increase in overall size and specification.
That extra wheel arch gap though, has been disguised somewhat with chunky body mouldings and black plastic cladding along the doors, giving the Scout a rugged style. Steeply raked front and rear bumpers help with approach and departure angles – all helping the Scout to delve deeper off-road than many of its contemporaries.
Inside the cabin, there is little to give a nod to its off-road credentials, save for a few Scout badges. The 4x4 system is a relatively passive system requiring hardly any input, but does offer an electronic differential lock function which is handled through automatic application of brakes to a spinning wheel. You can also choose from a selection of electronically managed driving modes to suit your mood, such as economy, sport and custom modes.
The interior uses plenty of high-quality, soft-touch materials and the optional Columbus sat-nav system, with its 8in touchscreen, is clear to read and simple to use.
With an extra 108mm in the wheelbase, this latest Scout delivers more legroom for passengers, though load space surprisingly, could be better. The rear seats do not fold flat, so you will need to tick the variable boot floor option (£150) to stand a chance of getting a level load area.
This new model is cleaner and more efficient, suggesting lower running costs for owners. There are two diesel engines for the Scout – a 150hp with manual gearbox and this 184hp version mated to a six-speed self-shifting manual transmission (DSG). The manual version gets the better towing capacity, at 2,000kgs.
While not the most refined of diesels, it is a solid performer and works effortlessly with DSG to propel the Scout with confidence. It is neither lazy nor thirsty, and 50mpg plus was easy to achieve.
There is only one trim level with the Scout, and it’s pretty well equipped for the money. Though I’d have the Black Scout interior in preference to our test model’s Brown Scout interior finish.
If you regularly find yourself on un-made roads, farm tracks or taking an occasional foray across a field, the Scout will cut the mustard. Definitely worth a much closer look unless you are a badge snob; it is easy to drive, practical to use and if you are cautious with the extra cost options, it is cheaper to buy than some of the more recent additions to the all-wheel drive estate car sector.