What is it?
This generation of Skoda Octavia is being phased out but the high-rise Scout model is still worth a look if you want workmanlike off-road capabilities for a bargain price.
The Scout loses out to the standard estate in terms of outright handling prowess, but in daily driving you’re unlikely to be overly hampered by it. There’s a fair amount of body roll, but plenty of grip too.
That raised suspension makes the Scout a joy when potholes are deep and kerbs are tall. Seriously, there’s a dose of comfort, both mentally and physically, from knowing that you can bound around pretty much any landscape without smashing something important. It cruises brilliantly on the motorway - though there is some wind noise compared to the lower estate - and the seats are firm, but well-supported.
The almost universally-adopted diesel suits the Scout’s USPs pretty well; 140bhp, loads of torque, 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and just under 130mph with 50mpg economy. You don’t need much more than that, to be honest. The 1.8-litre FSI petrol gives 150bhp and slightly better figures, but it doesn’t feel as brawny on the road. Quieter, but less punchy.
On the inside
You can’t beat the Scout for sheer, one-car-does-it-all practicality. Except perhaps if you don’t need the extra height and opt for the equally good Octavia 4x4 Estate. Still, the extra height means you don’t worry about rough tracks, and it provides a handy bench at social events in fields. The boot’s big (580-litres) seats up and cavernous (1620-litres) seats folded. The space for people is good and it looks like it’ll hose down well enough.
Insurance is low, fuel economy is good, residuals are so-so. The diesel emits 154g/km and gets a 21-percent tax hit with insurance group 10. About average then.