Scout’s a soft option
Skoda’s crossover has heaps of safety stuff, writes,
SKODA hopes Australians will be prepared to buy its new Scout crossover. Its official name is the Octavia Scout 4x4 and, as you might guess, it’s based on the Octavia.
Skoda, which arrived in Australia one year ago, already sells an all-wheel-drive version of the Octavia wagon, but that is designed for optimum traction in wet and slippery conditions rather than off-road work.
The new Scout is no rock crawler, but it gets 40mm more ground clearance for a total of 180mm. It is designed to tackle the occasional unmade road and has a steel panel that helps protect the engine and transmission, but it’s not designed for heavy-duty bush-bashing.
The Scout costs $39,990 and is aimed at Subaru’s Outback, but could also be shopped against compact crossover wagons such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-7 and higher end versions of the Toyota RAV-4, Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V.
It is much like other soft-roaders in that it doesn’t have a low-range gear and has tarmacfriendly tyres. It runs an on-demand AWD system using a Haldex coupling with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch.
The Scout is only available as a diesel with a six-speed manual. There is no automatic. This omission will probably have a marked effect on sales in Australia, where automatics are popular.
The engine, a 2.0-litre, direct-injection turbodiesel, produces a respectable 103kW and 320Nm from 1750 revs to 2500 revs. This uses an older fuel-delivery system with individual high-pressure pumps for each injector.
Skoda has loaded the Scout with safety gear including electronic stability control and six airbags. There is only one model. It gets 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, CD sound with an auxiliary input, cargo nets, heated seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Options include leather seats ($2490), a satnav system with DVD playback and a 30-Gig hard-drive ($2490), xenon headlights ($1730) and metallic paint ($630).
Scout’s honour: Skoda’s Octavia Scout will tackle unmade roads and has a steel panel to
protect the engine and transmission.