Oc­tavia a stylish off road op­tion

Hamilton News - - PROP­ERTY GUIDE - Road Test: Colin Smith Pic­tures: John Bor­ren

The Skoda op­tions for head­ing off-the­beaten-track ex­tend be­yond its new Ko­diaq and Karoq SUV dou­ble act.

The Oc­tavia Wagon line in­cludes a troop of Scout vari­ants boast­ing all-wheel-drive, raised ground clear­ance and a tough­ened up ex­te­rior treat­ment with roof rails, dark gray wheel arch sur­rounds and sil­ver fin­ish front and rear un­der guards.

Oc­tavia Scout is re­ally the Czech al­ter­na­tive to a Subaru Out­back — not only with its wagon de­riv­a­tive de­sign of­fer­ing fam­ily-size in­te­rior space but also a band of pric­ing be­tween $46,890 and $51,890.

Whether it’s a Scout, an Out­back or fur­ther up­mar­ket a Holden Com­modore Tourer, Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat All­track or Volvo V70 Cross Coun­try, the idea of a stylish sta­tion wagon de­sign with the abil­ity to han­dle rougher roads, high-crown gravel tracks and slip­pery sur­faces holds more ap­peal to me than most of the high-rid­ing SUVS that now dom­i­nate the mar­ket.

The Scout puts one of th­ese wagon-based choices into more ac­ces­si­ble reaches of new car pric­ing and de­liv­ers the no­tably space ef­fi­cient pack­ag­ing, clever de­sign touches and ap­peal­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tion that are Skoda brand qual­i­ties.

I drove the Oc­tavia Scout in 1.8-litre TSI petrol spec­i­fi­ca­tion which is $46,890. The al­ter­na­tives are 110kw and 135kw 2.0-litre TDI diesel choices which are $48,890 and $51,890 re­spec­tively. The only sig­nif­i­cant spec­i­fi­ca­tion dif­fer­ence is a seven-speed DSG trans­mis­sion for the lower out­put TDI while the TSI and 135kw TDI mod­els both have a six-speed DSG.

The 1798cc tur­bocharged petrol proves an ef­fec­tive choice for a ve­hi­cle that is clearly de­signed for get­ting out of the city on longer jour­neys. It pro­vides 132kw out­put from 5100-6200rpm and has 280Nm of torque across a 1350-4500rpm range.

With re­spon­sive shifts from the six-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion and ra­tios that match the steep rise and flat peak the torque curve it’s a pleas­ingly punchy style of per­for­mance for the twists, turns and long grades of Kiwi high­ways.

The Scout 1.8 TSI cruises at 100km/h us­ing a re­laxed 2000rpm in sixth gear and shifts to 2500rpm in fifth and 3200rpm in fourth to make the most of its ex­tended torque peak. Driv­ers can also se­lect from Nor­mal, Sport, Eco, In­di­vid­ual and Off Road drive modes.

Over my road test the Scout av­er­aged 8.4 litres per 100km while Skoda claims com­bined cy­cle con­sump­tion of 6.6L/100km.

I was im­pressed by the Scout’s se­cure stance on the high­way. It 1798cc, 16-valve four-cylin­der in-line, di­rect in­jec­tion and tur­bocharged petrol 132kw at 5100-6200pm 280Nm at 1350-4500rpm 4687mm 1814mm 1531m 2680mm 1522kg 55 litres Al­loy, 7.5 x 18-inch (op­tion) Bridge­stone Tu­ranza S001 225/40 R 18 ra­dial (op­tion) pro­vides a well-con­trolled ride over lumpy sur­faces and car­ries some pace in the cor­ners with pro­gres­sive body con­trol, con­fi­dent grip and con­sis­tent steer­ing feel which can en­hanced with a Sport set­ting.

The test car had been up­graded from the stan­dard 17-inch wheels to op­tional 18-inch “Braga” al­loys with Bridge­stone Tu­ranza S001 tyres in 225/40 R18 siz­ing which are an $1100 op­tion.

The all-wheel-drive sys­tem and the ground clear­ance — the Scout lifts the stan­dard 139mm of ground clear­ance of an Oc­tavia wagon to 171mm — gives it

con­fi­dence when the high­way changes to some­thing away from the main routes.

While it’s a rea­son­ably com­pact wagon with an over­all length of 4687mm — it spans the bor­der be­tween small-medium and medium wagon di­men­sions — the Scout makes ex­cel­lent use of its space. In par­tic­u­lar there’s gen­er­ous rear seat head­room, plenty of rear footwell space and de­cent legroom. The 60/40 split rear seat folds to con­vert 610 litres of cargo space into 1050 litres.

The Scout can have a vari­able load floor op­tion priced at $450 but that in­volves swap­ping the full­size spare wheel — very use­ful in more re­mote ar­eas — for a space saver. Skoda’s re­mov­able rear cour­tesy light that dou­bles as a recharge­able torch is a clever fea­ture.

There’s plenty of ap­peal in the Scout’s stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion with dual-zone air con­di­tion­ing, eight­way power ad­justable front seats with a four-way power lum­bar ad­juster and three-po­si­tion mem­ory for the driver, a pow­ered tail­gate, al­can­tara seat trim, key­less en­try and push but­ton start, rain sen­sor wipers, rear pri­vacy glass and in­te­rior am­bi­ent light­ing. There’s also the “win­ter” driv­ing treats of heated front seats, heated door mir­rors and a heated steer­ing wheel.

Skoda’s Amund­sen nav­i­ga­tion in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem has a no­tably clear 8.0-inch glass cov­ered screen with crisp dis­play graph­ics and eight-speaker au­dio is stan­dard.

The Scout tack­les night driv­ing with bright LED head­lights and also has rear LED lights.

The Scout also of­fers Lane As­sist and Blind Spot De­tect as­sis­tance while Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol is a $950 op­tion and Park As­sist adds $1000.

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