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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Skoda Octavia Estate Scout 2.0 TDI 184PS 4x4 DSG

Click to view picture gallery“There are Q-cars, and then there
  are Dark Horses
and Skodas
  Octavia Estate Scout is definitely
  on
e of the latter because at a glance
  it would be easy to see it as just
  another sensible estate car...”


AN EASY MISTAKE… Sure it's a sensible estate, but under the skin there's a fully-fledged all-wheel drive set-up that, along with increased ground clearance, takes the Scout places an ordinary wagon simply won't go.

In spite of the obsession for similarly accommodating crossovers and SUVs, all-wheel drive estate cars are back in contention. Based on the competent and versatile Octavia estate, the Scout gains protective black wheelarch covers, Scout-specific bumpers, sills and side mouldings, and 'rough road' extras that include an engine-guard and underbody stone-guard to allow owners to indulge its extra 30mm of ride height and genuine off-road ability. Finessing the dual-purpose look is a set of smart, five-blade, 17-inch alloy wheels.

When it comes to
staying in touch,
however far from the
main highway the
all-wheel lets you stray,
the Scout will keep
you connected. A large
eight-inch touchscreen
display fronts the
infotainment and
navigation system that
dishes up all the
essential features —
including integrated
WiFi, online infotainment
and easy
smartphone
integration...”
Inside, just like all the other members of the Octavia family, the Scout offers a home-from-home with plenty of space for passengers and cargo. The seats, smartly upholstered in Alcantara faux suede and leather with variable-stage heating, have plenty of slick adjustment including for height and lumbar support so setting the perfect driving position is quick 'n' easy.

The leather-wrapped, multifunction, three-spoke steering wheel is good to grip (and being heated, cosily warm when you need it!) and visibility down the bonnet is first-rate while plenty of head and leg room makes long journeys something to enjoy.

Thanks to an uncluttered and functional fascia and numerous 'Simply Clever' touches, it's easy to store your personal stuff: a useful, moveable mobile phone holder, handy oddments compartment in the right-hand fascia, chilled glovebox, drop-down glasses case, another climate controlled bin between the front seats capped by a padded and height-adjustable armrest, rubber-lined lidded tray ahead of the gearlever, cupholders, and decent-sized door bins.

Other appreciated touches include an umbrella stored under the front passenger seat, a trad-style pull-up handbrake, height-adjustable front belts, and knurled rotary knobs for the dual-zone climate control system that are so easy to use when driving along — all features that make the Scout's cabin a homely place in which to spend time.

When it comes to staying in touch, however far from the main highway the all-wheel lets you stray, the Scout will keep you connected. A large eight-inch touchscreen display fronts Skoda's Amundsen infotainment and satellite navigation system that dishes up all the essential features — integrated WiFi, SmartLink+ smartphone integration (via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a wealth of online infotainment, Bluetooth, DAB, voice control, plus 3D mapping and foolproof guidance.

You also get driver personalisation (including three keys programmable with different drivers' customised settings such as choice of music, preferred driving mode, etc), USB port, and an SD card reader. Whatever you use it for, the multimedia touchscreen is intuitive and straightforward to use. For core driving data there's an attractive instrument panel with stylish dials set either side of a colour multi-mode trip computer.

Choosing to travel in the
rear could, unlike in
some other cars, actually
be the preferred option
for many passengers
boarding the Scout —
the suede upholstery
looks inviting and
the backrests are set at
relaxing angles:
there’s generous space
for two, who can share a
wide and well padded
central armrest with triple
built-in cupholders;
even three side-by-side
is no hardship...”
Scout models come well kitted-out with the Alcantara seats, the latest touchscreen infotainment and navigation system and driver personalisation already mentioned, along with dual-zone climate control, driving mode selection (Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual), cruise control with speed limiter, powerfolding heated door mirrors, automatic main/dip switching, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear electric windows, privacy glass, and Front Assist (autonomous emergency city braking with pedestrian protection).

You'll also find a Driver Fatigue Sensor (that warns the driver when it's time for a break), auto lights and rain-sensing wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, telescopic front headlight washers, full LED headlights and daytime running lights, cornering front foglights, LED rear lights, a full set of airbags (including one for the driver's knee), Electronic Stability Control, Lane Assist, and an Off-Road mode.

Choosing to travel in the rear could, unlike in some other cars, actually be the preferred option for many passengers boarding the Scout — the suede upholstery looks inviting and the backrests are set at relaxing angles; there's generous space for two, who can share a wide and well padded central armrest with triple built-in cupholders; even three side-by-side is no hardship. Central air vents, pouches on the front seatbacks, and usable door bins all add to the ease of travelling in the back.

Riding higher than an everyday Octavia estate doesn't mean compromises with ride quality — the Scout surfs the blacktop surprisingly well, delivering a comfortable and supple ride that will keep your passengers smiling; bumps and potholes are nicely glossed over (the compliant suspension set-up and additional ground clearance that boost its off-road behaviour also benefit the on-tarmac ride). On fact it takes quite a lot to unsettle the Scout. The refinement and easygoing ride ensure long motorway trips really are as relaxing as your passengers would wish for.

Engine choices offered for the Scout are a pair of 2.0-litre TDI diesel units: 150hp (147bhp) or 184hp (181bhp). Both come in harness with a seven-speed DSG autobox and all-wheel drive. The 181bhp unit is a cultured performer and you hardly hear it as it gets on with the job; rev it hard for a burst of full-bore acceleration and of course you'll be aware it's there; but generally you won't.

The Scouts all-wheel
drive is of the
intelligent
variety which makes it
infinitely more worldly-
wise than the average MP
— effectively it
s a soft-
roader that will keep
you faithfully on track
descending steep
slippery slopes or
reaching that weekend
in the country destination
along leaf-slick, flooded
or muddy country
lanes...”
On motorways it cruises pretty serenely and on all roads there's always plenty of power for safe and quick overtaking. With a muscular 280lb ft of torque backing its 181bhp the Scout will zip past the 62mph post in a satisfyingly brisk 7.7 seconds and, road permitting, run-on to an autobahn-friendly 135mph. However you drive it, the TDI-DSG partnership is a well-judged marriage that delivers smooth responsive shifts however hard you're pressing the accelerator pedal.

Officially this 2.0-litre rates a Combined Cycle figure of 44.1mpg — a week's hard driving saw it register an impressive 44mpg and that without regularly using the Eco mode. So regular drivers, as my headmaster frequently scrawled and double-underlined on my school report, should do better!

The Scout's all-wheel drive is of the 'intelligent' variety which makes it infinitely more worldly-wise than the average MP — effectively it's a soft-roader that will keep you faithfully on track descending steep slippery slopes (in Off Road mode) or reaching that weekend in the country destination along leaf-slick, flooded or muddy country lanes. At all times the 4x4 control system assesses exactly how much grip you need and deploys the perfect mix of driving torque to whatever wheels is necessary to ensure max trax at all times.

With strong grip from the all-wheel drive system, on-road handling is decidedly reassuring with accurate, nicely-weighted steering, well-managed body control — even when cutting through corners in spite of the higher ride height — and with good grip through the twisties. For tarmac you have four different driving modes to choose between: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual.

Sport mode frees up some more bite for swifter overtaking — easily accessed because when the selector lever is in its Drive position it only takes a nudge back to toggle to Sport; doing it again puts you back into Drive. Flicking the lever slightly left from Drive lets you into the autobox's manual mode, from where north/south taps take you up/down the ratios. Also worth mentioning is that while driving in the Eco setting does stretch miles per gallon, it does so without putting a noticeable brake on the performance.

The Scouts boot is
advantageously deep,
and big: 610 litres
and
that
s with the rear seats
carrying passengers.
Dropping the rear
seatbacks when you
need to use the
whopping 1,740-litre
loadbay is no trouble —
just pull the levers in
the rear of the boot and
the 60:40-split backrests
self-fold automatically...”
The Scout spec takes the standard Octavia estate up to an über-versatile level — a heavy-duty, double-sided boot mat, numerous stretchy nets, luggage bay lamps (one of which is also a removable LED flashlight that recharges whenever the engine's running), a 12-volt power socket, and sturdy pop-out bag hooks all highlight its usefulness when you need it to be in workhorse mode.

The Scout's boot is advantageously deep, and big: 610 litres — and that's with the rear seats carrying passengers. Dropping the rear seatbacks when you need to use the whopping 1,740-litre loadbay is no trouble — just pull the levers in the rear of the boot and the 60:40-split backrests self-fold automatically. Two handy side bins come with lift-out sides.

Accessing and loading are easy thanks to a low boot sill and large tailgate opening (a handsfree powered tailgate is on the options list) and there are long aluminium-finish roof rails.

However, if you like to load 'outside the box' then the Scout's 2,000kg braked towing capability will serve you well — adequate for hauling a horsebox or mid-sized caravan. If you're planning on regularly towing it's worth also ticking the box for Trailer Assist — an automated system that automatically takes care of the counter-steering that defeats many drivers). A removable towbar costs £560 and adds peace of mind that it won't go walkabout one dark night!

Skoda's Octavia estate is a pretty versatile wagon but add in the Scout version's all-wheel drive, all-weather capability plus off-road ability and for not much more money you get a spacious and impressive all-rounder with an even wider range of abilities that's satisfying to drive and satisfying to own. ~ MotorBar
.
Skoda Octavia Estate Scout 2.0 TDI 184PS 4x4 DSG | £30,870
Maximum speed: 135mph | 0-62mph: 7.7 seconds | Test Average: 44mpg
Power: 181bhp | Torque: 280lb ft | CO2: 141g/km

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