HAVING two articles about Skoda this week is coincidental. I was in Hamburg for the launch of the new Octavia Scout, the latest all-wheel drive contender from the Czech marque.
The Scout is competitively priced and will be launched on the Irish market at the National Ploughing Championships in September. This is appropriate as farmers will be potential buyers.
Although this 4x4 will not have as broad an appeal as its Octavia siblings — Skoda expect to sell only 60 annually here — it is very well-priced, from 33,795.
Compared to the previous Scout model, emission and consumption levels have been reduced by up to 20%, despite power and performance having been increased. It is more spacious, practical and safe, and has generous levels of standard equipment. Having driven the Scout for several hundred kilometres in the Hamburg area, its appeal to a certain segment of buyers is obvious. The Scout has been a feature in Skoda’s range since 2007. This, the second-generation Scout, will build on the success of Skoda’s 4x4 range. Between 2007 and the end of 2013, Skoda sold 53,600 Octavia Scouts. This is 8% of all Octavia estates.
The new car has a distinctive, Scout-specific front bumper with black, plastic moulding. The lower front panel has a silver, off-road attachment. The fog lights, with their sharp, distinctive shape, are exclusive to the Scout. The radiator grille bears the Scout badge.
Black, plastic door sills and wheel-arch mouldings, which give the car a rugged ‘4x4 look,’ run down both sides of the vehicle and are a distinctive feature of its side view. There are protective side strips in black plastic, and aluminium exterior-mirror housings. Aluminium-effect roof railings are also standard.
The ground clearance of the Scout has been raised to 171mm, and is 31mm higher than the standard Octavia. The rough-road package, with additional underbody protection, is a standard feature. Seventeen-inch alloys, with 220/50 R17 tyres, are also standard. Two reflectors are integrated into the right and left of the bumper (cat’s eyes). The lower, black-clad bumper components include a silver-coloured off-road attachment in the centre. Inside, the door sills bear the Scout lettering and the trims are in a unique Scout design. The three-spoke steering wheel and the gear knob also bear the Scout emblem.
The dashboard is available in either the classic black or black/brown combination. The seats are available in either brown fabric or in a leather/Alcantara combination (brown or black).
The Scout is as spacious as the Octavia Combi. The passenger compartment is one of the largest in its class, with optimised interior length (1,782mms), rear leg-room (73mms) and head-room at front and rear (983 and 995mms). The boot has a 610-litre capacity, and, with the rear seats down, its capacity increases to 1,740 litres. With the front passenger seat folded down, items up to 2.92 meters in length can also be accommodated.
Skoda says that, thanks to a modern chassis with optimised axles, the new Scout has excellent vehicle handling in every situation — a claim which my initial test did not contradict. The Scout has an optimised, multi-link rear axle and, with MacPherson struts at the front and low-mounted triangular wishbones, has shed 2.8kg compared to the previous model.
I was impressed with my first acquaintance with the new Scout, but, as ever, we will reserve final judgement until we drive it here in Ireland.
The Skoda Scout 4×4 will be launched in Ireland at the National Ploughing Championships.
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