The new Skoda Octavia Scout… yet another soft-roader?
Sort of. Skoda isn’t kidding itself into claiming that the Scout would win if it took on a Defender; think of it as a slightly chunkier alternative to the current 4wd Octavia estate, or a cut-price rival to the Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70. Skoda’s staying green and clean, steering clear of the antisocial SUV market and building a car that will cope with bracing family outings and mild off-roading. Though the Scout might look more rugged on the outside, underneath the plastic cladding and 17-inch alloys, it’s really more of a cub. Most of the differences between the Scout and the standard Octavia 4×4 estate are purely cosmetic, such as the chromed, twin exit exhaust pipes, aluminium undertrays and flashy kick plates.
So the Scout is just the current 4×4 in drag, then?
Not entirely. You do get a fair bit of kit for your cash, some of which aids off-roading. The Scout has 17mm extra ground clearance over the standard 4×4 and comes with hill-hold control built into the ESP system. It also uses the second generation of the Haldex 4×4 system, allowing 98% of the power to be transferred between the front and rear wheels – so it should be more capable than it looks. With a starting price of £17,585 the Scout is certainly a cheaper alternative to the Allroad and XC70 which both cost around £30k. Expect to see the Scout setting up camp in showrooms in April.