The Octavia estate gets Allroaded. Or, if you prefer, Streetwised.
Day one: Apparently the Octavia Scout was announced in the UK back in July but I don’t think anyone noticed. Anyway, here it is. It’s the Octavia estate with arch extensions and fake skid plates. As such, it looks better in the autumn anyway. To fit in with the general atmos of outdoorsiness, the suspension has been jacked up by 33mm. You look at the bigger gap between the wheel and the arch and you think, I bet that car has an excellent ride. Not so. I think it’s actually worse than normal Octavia. Ho hum.
Day two: Scout is a strange name. It would be quite good if that was the model name. The Skoda Scout. You could imagine that working instead of Yeti. But as a trim level the name seems odd. And it doesn’t help that this car has SCOUT written on the tailgate, the grille, the steering wheel, the nav start-up screen and the seats. I suppose if you were from Dundee you could scratch off the U and claim to be extremely patriotic.
Day three: It’s slashing it down. I assumed that the Scout was largely a cosmetic exercise and not actually four-wheel-drive. But it is. I checked this in two ways. One, by reading the spec sheet. And two, just to be sure, by flooring it from a standstill in the wet. It’s definitely four-wheel-drive. I wouldn’t call it a dynamic car, but it’s comfortable, it feels well made and it has a sort of pleasant, Labradorish quality to it. Not that Labradors are particularly well made, come to think of it. They’re always getting fat and busting their hips. So in fact, the Skoda Octavia Scout is better made than a Labrador. They should use that line in the adverts.
Day four: I’m going to Homebase. The Scout feels at home going to Homebase. This car, with its diesel engine and its sensible rubbing strips and its general estateness, makes me feel like a dad. I mean, I am a dad. But the Scout makes me feel like I should put on some slippers and pad around checking the radiators.
Day five: It’s Sunday. I’m going to Homebase again. What is happening here? Haven’t been to a DIY shop in ages. Suddenly, twice in two days. It’s the Scout. The Scout is making me want to go to Homebase.
Day six: How wide do you imagine the Octavia Scout to be? That’s right, it’s just slightly wider than the gap between the metal accessory on a parked Shogun and the total bellend trying to force his way down a narrow street in his stupid Audi A4. Or, to put it another way, I have scuffed the Octavia on a Mitsubishi bullbar. Cocking buggery bollocks. There are marks on the paint which rub off easily enough but underneath the door panel itself is very faintly dented. Arsing knobflaps.
Day seven: Still wracked with guilt about dinging the Scout. As such, I feel I have forfeited my right to report anything bad about it. So let me just say it is an excellent car, packed with lots of excellent things and every aspect of it is excellent, apart from the excellent ride, which isn’t as excellent as I was hoping, and the excellent price, which is 28 grand and seems a bit too high when you can have a normal 148 horsepower 4×4 Octavia estate, which is excellent, for five grand less.
Goodbye: A cheery man comes to take the Scout away. Personally I reckon the normal Octavia estate does most of what you need for less. And it doesn’t have Scout written all over it. But if you live up a damp track or you work for the National Trust or something that would demand very slightly more ground clearance, perhaps it makes sense. Or maybe you just want an Octavia that feels like it’s wearing a gilet. In which case, here’s your car.
The car talked about here is, deep breath, a Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI 184PS 4×4 DSG. It has a 2-litre turbocharged diesel engine making 180 horsepower. Skoda says it can do 136mph and 0-62 in 7.8 seconds. As standard it costs £27,990.