Skoda Octavia Scout
On The Look-Out With A Czech Mate!
Our experience with the Skoda Octavia demonstrates that the Czech brand, now owned by Volkswagen, have quite good reasons for their continued optimism. The brand continues to see increased global sales, just as it has for some years now. That was just one of the reasons for Skoda coming into the Australian market last year.
Although numerous new models are planned or are under consideration for Australia, one new model has arrived which will further build respect for the Skoda nameplate. The Octavia is an excellent mid-size car and it's Skoda's most popular model. The new Octavia Scout is based on the existing Octavia all-wheel drive wagon, which is one of numerous models available locally.
The Octavia Scout turns the Octavia AWD wagon into an sports utility vehicle, a new model which takes on the Subaru Outback.
The ground clearance for the new Scout is 180 mm (40 mm greater than Octavia), making it handy for dealing with off the tarmac situations. This new model is an SUV and, like other SUVs, is unsuitable for extreme off-road excursions.
Having an opportunity to get behind the 'wheel' of the new Scout turned into quite an exciting experience. The folks from Skoda managed to find a rarely used (in recent times) fire trail in northern Victoria (on the way to Mt Buller) to introduce their new Scout to Australian automotive journalists. This track was narrow in parts and boggy (make that quite boggy) in one section. Thus, this track was particularly suitable for road testing a new SUV. Although the trail was reasonable well maintained it had enough interesting aspects to make it one of the most memorable tracks I have experienced. The drive was especially enjoyable due to the challenges that existed in the 'boggy' section. The Skoda Octavia Scout managed to get bogged, but reversing out (in the traditional manner), without assistance, then having another attempt demonstrated that this Czech 'mate' was more than capable of dealing with whatever obstacles come along on this style of track.
The compliant ride was quite comfortable off the tarmac and the car demonstrated beyond doubt that it is more than capable of handling anything that the ground clearance could manage.
Prices (RRP) for the Skoda Octavia Scout:
There is just one trim level for the Skoda Octavia Scout. It is well equipped with dual-zone climate control air conditioning, 17" alloy wheels, 'coming home' type lighting package, heating for the front seats, rear parking sensors, integrated roof rails, rain sensing wipers, remote central locking, 6-disc CD player with the AM/FM audio system, cruise control, trip computer, power windows, auto dimming interior rear view mirror and automatic headlights.
Technical features of the Skoda Octavia Scout
The sole powerplant for the new Scout is the well known Volkswagen 2.0 litre TDI (diesel) engine - power is 103 kW @ 4,000 rpm, torque is 320 Nm @ 1,750 - and it is available with a six speed manual transmission only. This very efficient diesel engine uses just 6.6 litres/100 kms in the 'combined cycle' in the Octavia Scout. The CO2 emission level is equally as impressive, just 178 grammes per kilometre (the average during factory testing).
Standard safety equipment includes six airbags and electronic stability programme (ESP) for the Scout.
Length: 4,581 mm
Down ball limit: 75 kilogrammes
The warranty period is 3 years/unlimited kms, with roadside assistance included. Conditions apply, of course.
On the road in the Skoda Octavia Scout
As indicated, I had a quite an enjoyable drive experience with colleagues in northern Victoria. I managed to drive approximately 300 kms and I was the front seat passenger for another 300 kms (approx). The on-road portion of the trip confirms the already existing respect for the Octavia. The seating is comfortable and, being a mid-sized car, the interior space is inviting. The driving dynamics for the Skoda Octavia Scout demonstrate that the company takes handling, braking, steering and suspension issues seriously as the 'make-up' of the car indicates many people will obtain great delight from their own experiences with Skoda's new SUV, the Octavia Scout. There are no misgivings and the car deals with 'situations' just as it should.
Skoda, although still relatively unknown in Australia, is making good progress on sales charts around the world with quite an impressive range of cars. Locally, we are offered just two models, Roomster and Octavia. This model range will expand over time. The small Fabia is under consideration for local release, whilst the large Superb will be here within months. The Yeti, a new SUV, is expected in 2010. The Czech brand has been slow in building-up their Australian dealership network. With the count of Australian dealers now growing to twenty dealers (Albury and Coffs Harbour are the newest locations), Skoda is positioning itself to take advantage of the considerable respect their products are gaining. The Octavia Scout simply builds on the existing admiration for the mid-size Octavia and provides a niche product which will be welcomed by many SUV buyers.
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