What is it?
The Skoda Octavia Scout is an off-road variant of the popular practical estate from the Czech Republic.
As well as receiving the latest Skoda styling, the new Scout benefits from a host of technical upgrades that are aimed at giving it significant off-road capabilities.
Underpinning it, and contributing substantially to its improved go-anywhere prowess, is a fifth-generation 'Haldex' four-wheel-drive system.
This operates automatically, with an electronically controlled and hydraulically operated clutch pack in the middle of the car regulating the amount of torque to the front and rear axles.
If the wheels spin, torque is cut. If they can take more, it's ramped up. The Haldex system also assesses road speed and steering angle to maximise traction.
This system, compared to the one that preceded it, doesn't use a pressure accumulator to feed the control fluid to the clutch. Instead the required operating pressure is supplied directly to the clutches by an electronically regulated pump.
This means less complication, reputedly faster reaction speeds and a weight loss of 1.4kg. An electronic differential lock is fitted as standard, and operates on both axles, further bolstering traction off road.
Another significant change is to the ride height, with the Scout gaining 31mm of ground clearance compared to the standard Octavia. That results in a total clearance of 171mm underneath.
Other upgrades include some plastic exterior cladding to protect the car's bodywork, a 'rough-road package' that adds underbody shielding, Scout-specific front and rear bumpers and a two-mode ESC system that allows for more driver control.
It's also interesting to note that Skoda has looked elsewhere to further 'ruggedise' the Octavia. For example, 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard – but they receive higher-profile tyres than those found on the conventional Octavia.