2011 SKODA OCTAVIA SCOUT REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Crossover Mid-sized Wagon
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.1 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 5.8 l/100km
It took over a year to find its way into Skoda’s neat crossover mid-sized wagon, but finally the Octavia Scout has an automatic option.
While the rest of the package is familiar fare, the DSG-equipped Scout is now a more complete package.
It remains a capable light-duty off-roader - it can comfortably get a little way off the beaten track - and now shapes up as an excellent option for young families and those who enjoy the outdoors.
Quality: Working in the Scout’s favour are soft-touch plastics on the dash pad and front door trims, along with the leather-clad steering wheel and gear selector.
On the other hand, an undersized front cupholder and hard plastics on the rear door trims and centre console let it down.
Build quality is good though, and everything seems solidly bolted together.
Comfort: The manually-adjustable front seats are firmly cushioned, but generously proportioned. The driver’s footwell is also spacious, and even includes a footrest for the right foot (perfect for long-distance highway cruising).
There’s plenty of room in the back, although it would be a bit of a squeeze to put three adults across the rear bench. The centre portion of the backrest is also uncomfortably firm, and there are no cupholders or face-level air outlets for rear passengers.
Equipment: As standard the Scout gets dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, heated mirrors, cruise control, a trip computer, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlamps, rear parking sensors, power windows, 17-inch alloys and foglamps.
Storage: The Octavia Scout will take 580 litres of luggage with the seats up and 1620 with the 60:40 rear bench folded flat
The folding procedure is a bit fiddly though, requiring the rear-seat squab to be lifted first before lowering the seatback. It also leaves a pronounced step between the boot floor and the folded backrest.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Scout’s torquey 103kW/320Nm 2.0 litre turbo-diesel makes light work of trundling about town, and provides plenty of twist to keep momentum up hills without needing to drop back a gear.
The powerband may be narrow, but with the new six-speed twin-clutch automatic there are enough ratios to take advantage of the plentiful low-down torque.
That said, its quoted 10.1 second 0-100km dash is hardly quick, and the DSG’s engagement from standstill is quite jerky at times.
Refinement: The Scout is quite well isolated for a jacked-up wagon, and the extra body protection reduces the amount of noise made by gravel and small rocks when on unsurfaced roads.
Diesel clatter is minimal, and only noticeable when idling.
Suspension: The taller ride-height doesn’t diminish the Scout’s on-road dynamics, nor does the extra weight of its AWD system. On-road grip is more than adequate, and body roll isn’t too pronounced.
Gravel roads are dealt with easily by the AWD system, although the road-biased tyres aren’t the best for traversing muddy ground. Underbody cladding and 180mm of ground clearance are handy on rougher tracks, but the Scout is still very much a soft-roader.
Braking: On tarmac or on gravel, braking performance from the all-disc system is good.
ANCAP rating: Not tested
Safety features: Front, front side and curtain airbags. Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, brake assist.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3-year, unlimited kilometres.
Service costs: Servicing costs vary, consult your local Skoda dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Subaru Outback Diesel ($40,490) - Slightly more power, more torque and more ground clearance are the Outback’s primary advantages over the Scout, however it’s neutered by the unavailability of an automatic transmission. (see Outback reviews)
Kia Sportage Platinum Diesel ($39,720) - One of the most well-rounded compact SUV offerings in terms of price, equipment and drive, the Sportage Platinum also boasts more power (135kW) and more torque (392Nm) than the Octavia Scout. (see Sportage reviews)
Nissan X-Trail TL ($45,240) - Ageing somewhat, and edging toward the more expensive end of the compact SUV segment. Equipment levels are high though, and the X-Trail’s boxy body is the most practical for young families. (see X-Trail reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Octavia Scout is a well-rounded and well-built family wagon. Neither too big nor too small, it has the handling and driveability to appeal more to keen drivers than larger, taller SUVS.
The addition of a DSG automatic to the range significantly raises its stocks, although the DSG’s low-speed engagement is not exactly smooth.
Even so, the DSG is a better-matched partner for the Scout’s diesel engine than the standard six-speed manual.