The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Skoda Octavia Scout offers a clever combination of subtle styling, impressive practicality, load-lugging ability and value for money.
Reasons to buy:
- Good build quality
- Spacious interior
- Large luggage capacity
How good does it look?
Skoda is carving out a nice little niche for itself with distinctive, non-offensive styling. The Skoda Octavia Scout avoids looking ungainly, and blends nice proportions with a utilitarian, Subaru-style look that will bode well for those buyers hunting for value, quality and an understated charm.
What's the interior like?
It’s become a cliché to point out that the Volkswagen parts in modern Skodas guarantee quality. The quality is good, the plastics feel hard-wearing and chunky and the fit and finish of the materials is most agreeable. The steering wheel feels nice and chunky in your hands, while the driving position is infinitely adjustable. The seats are superbly comfortable and firm, and the dash is presented with all users in mind – not just the driver. There are storage areas everywhere, and the rear-legroom and head space is particularly commendable.
How practical is it?
The Skoda Octavia Scout estate has plenty of practicality – enough to put a dozy six-stone Golden Retriever in the back with two bags of dog food, four people and a picnic for an afternoon in the sun. It swallowed up luggage and stuff, the dog had more than enough space to roam around in, and passengers felt relaxed, comfortable and – crucially – happy. It boasts 580 litres of storage space, has through-load seats and while the high stance of the Scout means dogs might find it difficult to jump in, it’s low enough not to cause a bother with the weekly shop.
What's it like to drive?
The Skoda badge, four-wheel-drive, light steering and a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine seem an unusual combination of bedfellows – but somehow the Scout works. Pilot the big load-lugger through a series of sweeping fast bends and it just hangs on. The steering is a little too light, but the grip levels are superb, and the chassis understeers gently to let you know it’s reached the limits. The Scout is composed, smooth and actually, rather relaxing. The engine noise is nicely subdued, and only creeps into the cabin when you really wind it up.
How powerful is it?
On paper the Octavia Scout’s engine sounds good – a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine producing 160bhp and 184lb/ft of pulling power, available from as little as 1,500 rpm. In reality, it means smooth, unruffled progress – 0-62mph takes 8.4 seconds – with an engine note that barks only when ringing out the final few thousand rpm. The engine is responsive and boasts considerable pulling power available as soon as you floor the accelerator. It starts to wane when you hit the high notes further up the rev range, but by the time you’re going this quickly, you won’t really care.
How much will it cost me?
With a combined mpg figure of 36.2, the turbocharged Skoda isn’t as thirsty as its performance suggests. That said, its 182g/km of CO2 emissions is lower than an equivalent Audi A4 Allroad, SEAT Altea Freetrack and Nissan Qashqai. The 17-inch wheels mean tyre expenses will be a concern, but those should be the only major outgoings for something like this.
How reliable is it?
This model is too new to tell, but the outgoing Skoda Octavia scored 38 on the reliability index – the UK’s most reliable manufacturer is Suzuki with a score of 31, and the lower the score the better, so this is excellent. The brand as a whole scores 58, and is the fifth most reliable carmaker in the UK according to the reliability index, so buy a Skoda and you’re buying piece of mind motoring.
How safe is it?
No scores on Euro NCAP for the Octavia Scout as yet, but the 2004 model Octavia scored four out of five stars for adult and child protection, and two out of four stars for pedestrian protection.
How much equipment do I get?
The Octavia comes with a high level of equipment, including ABS, a higher ground clearance, air-conditioning, adjustable seats, adjustable and heated door mirrors, split-folding rear seats and loads of cubby holes in the cabin.
For value, performance, practicality and fun, the Skoda Octavia Scout ticks all the boxes. Discreet enough not to single you out as a road abuser, and styled with enough verve to not shrink into the distance, the Scout is a great estate. Add to that its confident, sure-footed handling and a potent petrol engine, and you have one of the best value estates on the market.