Scout’s a soft op­tion

Skoda’s cross­over has heaps of safety stuff, writes,

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Skoda Octavia Scout - JAMES STAN­FORD

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.

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