The third generation Skoda Octavia range of family sized – C-segment five door hatchbacks and estates is the brand’s equal top seller along with the new supermini B-segment Fabia hatchbacks and estates.
The Octavia’s mainstream model line-up is wide ranging with prices from £16,525 for the lowest spec five door hatchback with a 1.2-litre, 105hp turbocharged petrol engine up to £28,205 for the 2.0-litre 184hp Scout 4×4 estate. For go-faster enthusiasts there are also vRS high performance models both in hatchback and estate forms with the choice of 2.0-litre engines with the 220hp turbo petrol or 184hp turbodiesel units at prices ranging from £24,100 for the petrol hatchback to £25,170 for the diesel estate.
The range of specification choices is comprehensive depending on the engine chosen but overall they range through S to SE, Greenline, Elegance and Scout. There is also a plush Laurant & Klement level for both hatchback and estate models with a reduced level of engine options but does include a 4×4 estate model. These niche models are priced between £26,755 and £29,010.
Skoda being a member of the multi brand Volkswagen Group has the opportunity to use engines, transmissions, platforms and driving support systems available to all the family brands but then they tweak them to suit their requirements. The Octavia for instance uses the highly praised VW Group MQB modular platform but Skoda design engineers have elongated it to give much more room and particularly leg space for rear passengers and the boot is huge.
I have just tried the latest Octavia, in particular the Scout estate which comes with one high level of specification and 4WD but with two 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine options. The version I tried was the 150hp, six-speed manual variant priced at £25,530. The other version is the 184hp 4×4 with a six-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox and priced at £28,205.
With its extended body length of 4,685mm it has a massive load area of 610-litres but with the rear seats down this goes up to 1,740-litres. With its 4×4 grip and 33mm of increased ground clearance this is an ideal estate car for country users, vets and those who tow boats, caravans and trailers. The manual version has a braked towing weight of 2,000kg putting it well into SUV territory. The automatic version can tow up to 1,800kg.
The 2.0-litre, four cylinder 150hp turbodiesel engine is widely used throughout the VW Group family of brands. For the Scout the torque is increased from 320 to 340Nm available from 1,750rpm so it is ‘gutsy’ with good response throughout its range and copes with Skoda’s preference to use overdrive ratios for fifth and sixth gears to reduce CO2 emissions and to increase fuel economy. The only apparent difference with this engine in a Skoda is that it is slightly noisier which I put down to its installation and probably not having as much sound insulation as say a Volkswagen or Audi model. Top speed is 129mph and the zero to 62mph acceleration time took an impressive 9.1-seconds.
The 2.0-litre TDI Scout 4×4 will officially return 55.4mpg in the Combined Cycle and during my week long test driving covering long and short trips, winding country roads to town traffic to motorway driving resulted in an impressive 55.3mpg. The increased torque helped me use the estate in its ECO driving setting without the need for constant gearchanging. The driving modes function also includes Normal, Sport and Individual as with other VW Group models. With CO2 emissions of 129g/km VED road tax is a pleasing £0 cost for the First Year rate and then £110 for Year Two onwards. Company car drivers will currently pay 23% Benefit-in-Kind tax. Insurance is rated as group 19E.
The new Skoda Octavia Scout visually looks similar in profile to the just replaced VW Passat estate with its Alltrack 4×4 specification. In addition to teasing extra length out of the platform Skoda’s other changes are the adoption of the family face vertical slats grille, a bonnet with sharp styling lines, under bumper honeycomb grille, front and rear underbody approach and departure shields plus protection for the sills, wheelarches and the engine bay.
The Scout specification also includes 17-inch alloy wheels, silver coloured door mirrors, Scout badging front rear and on the door sills, specific design fog lights, 3-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel, Alcantara cloth and leather upholstery, floor mats, touchscreen sat-nav, trip computer, cruise control, lane assist and rain sensing wipers. Of course personalisation options are numerous and my test car had the £900 headlight upgrade, cornering front fog lights at £100, a double-sided boot floor mat at £75, a temporary space saver spare wheel at £75 and stainless steel pedals costing £85.
The interior layout has similarities to the previous generation VW Passat and that is no bad thing. There is plenty of brightwork to lift the dominant black fascia. All controls fall neatly to hand so it’s user friendly both for the driver and the passengers who will enjoy their spacious surroundings. It is no wonder that I see Skoda Octavia estate – not the Scout – being used for business and families plus they seem popular with business chauffeuring, taxi and minicab operators. The Scout version is a cost effective alternative to bulky SUVs, and similar 4×4 estates such as the Vauxhall Insignia Country Sports Tourer, Audi A4 Avant quattro, Subaru Outback and its SEAT stablemate – the new Leon X-Perience ST estate.
The Scout version extends that user-friendly and practical appeal to those that need 4×4 traction either for their work or leisure activities. The 4×4 traction system is fully automatic in its operation operating via a Haldex electronic clutch. It provides extra rear wheel grip when needed otherwise it operates the front wheels for normal driving conditions. It is not intrusive and seamless in operation. Best of all it didn’t appear to harm the fuel economy very much. It will provide good peace of mind spacious motoring with lots of plus points and it deserves to be better recognised and not just a niche model in the Octavia’s strong selling and award winning line-up.
MILESTONES: Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI 150hp, manual, 4×4 estate. Price: £25,530. Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 150hp, 340Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual with 4×4 traction. Performance: 129mph, 0-62mph 9.1 seconds, 55.4mpg Combined Cycle (55.3mpg on test), CO2 129g/km, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £110 for Year Two onwards, BIK company car tax 23%. Insurance group: 19E. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles. Dimensions/capacities: L 4,685mm, W 1,814mm, H 1,531mm, boot/load space 610 to 1,740-litres, braked towing weight 2,000kg. For: Spacious for passengers, lots of load space, high specification, comfortable ride, 4×4 traction, good fuel economy, a good cheaper to buy and run alternative to bulky SUVs. Against: Gruff sounding engine on start-up, boot area load floor is below the rear sill so items have to be lifted over it rather than pushed into the estate. Miles Better News Agency