2015 Skoda Octavia Scout road test review | Honourable wagon
CAMPFIRE ablaze, knots tied and crisp uniforms ... this perhaps would have been the perfect environment for the launch of this new Skoda wagon.
But forget the "dyb, dyb, dyb, dob, dob, dob" scenario. While this Scout is certainly prepared for action of all sorts, it also offers some surprises.
The second generation Octavia Scout 4x4 starts from $32,990, which is $7k less than the previous iteration, and is now offered with a trio of engine choices.
Cabin space is sizeable and comparable with large SUVs. There should be no issue fitting four adults within the Scout confines, with generous head and leg room.
Both trims have touch-screens but the Premium models have larger monitors along with leather and suede seats as opposed to cloth trim.
The seats are comfortable enough without being figure hugging and there were no complaints with the various operations.
Large well-labelled buttons adorn the dash and console, and the drive has two analogue gauges flanking a digital display which can flick between various trip computer functions and a digital speedo.
Those with a penchant for caffeine will appreciate the dual centre cup holders front and back, while each door also has space for a bottle and other gear and there is also a nifty little rubbish bin which fits within the door slot.
On the road
Brimming with composure, the Scout proved surefooted and well-mannered on varying surfaces.
Sitting on the much-lauded MQB platform, also used by the VW Golf 7 and Audi A4, it's also armed with the ultra-capable Halidax 5 all-wheel drive system.
It's the same technology used by the angry little Golf R, and it works beautifully. On gravel roads the Scout treated slippery surfaces with disdain. Doing our best to get the rear end to step out the system mopped up our sloppy driving with ease even at high speed.
While it has a useful 171mm of ground clearance, you still sit low in the car so there is no SUV style rock 'n' roll in the bends.
There two diesel options, a 110kW version with a six-speed manual and a 135kW with an automatic. This is a meaty unit which rarely feels outside its torque sweet spot and happily works right up to redline.
The 132kW petrol with a six-speed auto feels slightly smoother, but can need additional urging when you crack the acceleration whip.
What do you get?
All models come with nine airbags, rear view camera with boot-mounted parking sensors and a fatigue detection system. Base diesel specification includes a 14.7cm touch-screen with Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, CD stereo with USB/auxiliary and SD card inputs, cruise control, air con, 17-inch alloys and an air conditioned glovebox.
Both other models are regarded as "Premium", and get 11 additional features incorporating Alcantara leather seat trim, 20.3cm touch-screen 'Columbus' unit with satellite navigation, dual zone air conditioning, tinted glass, heated front seats and automatic tailgate.
The entry level car can be optioned a Premium Pack, which gets all of the 11 extras for $4400 (which Skoda estimates is collectively worth about $7500).
Available on all three engine variants is a Tech Pack which features a range of safety extras for $3900 on 110TDI and 132TSI models while it costs $3300 on the 135TDI variants.
The Tech Pack line-up includes radar cruise control and City Emergency Brake (available on the 110TDI and 132TSI only), bi-xenon headlights, automatic parking function with front and rear sensors, Canton sound system, keyless entry with push button start, selection of drive modes and a new camera-based Lane Assist system which can steer the car automatically to stay within the lines.
With all three engines able to sit at 100kmh around 2000rpm, they make the ideal long distance accomplice. Average fuel consumption should be around eight for the petrol, and six in the oil-burners.
Capped price servicing is available, along with a new guaranteed value program when you buy the car through Skoda finance.
Boasting brilliant boot space, class leading at more than 580 litres, the seat backs can be dropped by a lever in the boot or buttons near the headrests.
When those seat backs fold, there is a lip between the boot floor and the collapsed pews ... yet it's still a handy load area that can make easy work of large sporting equipment.
There are two useful slots on either side of the boot, although it has only a space saver spare.
Given its rough road ability, and the breadth of our big brown land and the spread of dealerships compared to the European homeland, a full-size option would be useful.
Perhaps not the most beautiful wagon around, the Scout has a rugged edge with its blackened plastic wheel arches. The silver treatment at the base of the grille and rear apron looks a little strange and would probably appear more cohesive in the same material and colour as its surrounds.
Seven exterior colours are available, white and red, as well as the five metallic hues: grey, silver, blue, cappuccino and another white shade which cost an extra $500.
Showing new confidence, highlighted by the new guaranteed future value program, the Scout is the shining light of the brand's Australian line-up.
While it may not win beauty contests the Scout does offer a uniqueness and a near flawless all-wheel drive powertrain offering.
Internal space and on-road prowess combine to make it super-competitive.
What matters most
What we liked: Brilliant space, strong engine and transmission combinations, surefooted ability.
What we'd like to see: Space saver spare, colour-coded plastics on bumpers.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty with 24-hour roadside assist. An extended warranty is available for $1650 which provides an additional two years of coverage. Servicing intervals are 15,000km or annual.
Model: Skoda Octavia Scout 4x4.
Details: Five-door five-seat all-wheel drive wagon.
Engines: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel generating maximum power of 110kW @ 3500-4000rpm and peak torque of 340Nm @ 1750-3000rpm; 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol 132kW @ 4500-6200rpm and 280Nm 1350-4500rpm; 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel 135kW @ 3500-4000rpm and 380Nm @ 1750-3250rpm.
Transmissions: Six-speed manual (TDI110 only) or six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Consumption: 110TDI - 5.3 litres/100km (combined average); 132TSI - 7.1L/100km; 135TDI - 5.3L/100km.
Performance 0-100kmh: 110TDI - 9.1 seconds; 132TSI - 7.8 seconds; 135TDI - 7.8 seconds.
Towing: 110TDI - 1800kg (braked); 132TSI -1600kg, 135TDI -1800kg. Tow ball rating 80kg.
Bottom line plus on-roads: 110TDI $32,990, 132TSI $38,590, 135TDI $41,390.