Quietly impressive. What's immediately noticeable is the improved degree of driver confidence the Scout offers, a result of knowing it can clear objects easily and that there are vast reserves of traction on hand.
The Skoda's 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel produces 181bhp and 280lb ft, which is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed dual clutch transmission and the aforementioned Haldex system.
Deploy the available punch fully from a standing start and the Scout's drivetrain works to rapidly make best use of what's on offer, resulting in swift, controlled and repeatable acceleration.
Skoda claims 0-62mph in 7.8sec and a top speed of 136mph, both of which feel easily attainable. The diesel engine is eager and pulls cleanly through the rev range, although it becomes quite vocal towards the top end of the scale.
The DSG transmission does a good job of delivering swift, smooth shifts. If the need arises, a manual mode can be accessed via the shifter.
Despite the increase in ride height the Octavia Scout drives in a well-judged and competent fashion too. You do notice a fraction more roll, and a tendency to edge towards understeer a little more than the standard car, but the overall experience is a pleasant and composed one.
Even during high-speed lane changes the Scout remains stable, no doubt partly thanks to the redesigned MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear axle.
The extra height hasn't compromised the Skoda's ride either; it deals with bumps in a swift and quiet fashion, with only large ruts and pot holes transmitting a minor thud into the cabin.
Only the steering lets the Scout's on-road manners down a little. It's linear and precise in its responses but, while ultimately not imperative for a car of its class and target market, a little more feedback would be useful.
Stopping power is plentiful and the pedal offers a smooth response, granting easy and accurate modulation of the brakes. A mechanical handbrake is standard, allowing for rapid and controlled application of the parking brake. This, like many of the Scout's features, serves to further improve its off-road manners.
Head well off the beaten track and Skoda's claims about the Scout's off-road ability become tangible. Steep rock-strewn slopes, sharp ledges, severe cambers and wet, muddy tracks are all traversed with ease and minimal wheelspin.
It remains comfortable inside when going literally across country too, which is no mean feat. It's equally impressive to see it dispatch challenges such as hill starts on steep gravel-covered slopes without fuss too, leading to a secure and dependable feel.
All-round visibility is good, again improving the car's ease of use, and parking and manoeuvring the Skoda isn't difficult. You may find that you have to raise your seat height in order to be able to better see the corners of the bonnet though, as it does drop swiftly away from the base of the windscreen.
Other plus points come in the form of a 2000kg braked towing weight rating, a claimed average economy of 55.4mpg, and a range well in excess of 600 miles. CO2 emissions of 134g/km mean annual road tax costs of £130, which seem reasonable given what's on offer.
Inside the Skoda Octavia Scout is much like its conventional estate and saloon twins. That's not doing it a disservice, mind. It is well finished, intuitively laid out, comfortable, quiet, and offers plenty of room.
Four adults can be seated with ease and the capacious boot can be enlarged further by dropping the rear seats. It's gratifying to see a space-saver spare wheel fitted – a vital feature for a car that might encounter tyre damage too severe for a repair kit.
There are many storage spaces on offer throughout the car, and touches like a height and length-adjustable front armrest add to the neatly resolved and complete feel of the Skoda.
Equipment levels are good, including the likes of climate control and a range of advance options such as radar-guided cruise, and as standard the Skoda comes with useful features including an ice scraper mounted in the filler cap
Only a few slight curiosities detract from the Skoda's cabin – although we're splitting hairs here. There's no illumination for the vanity mirrors, for example, but a more prevalent fault is that you'll always feel a slight diesel-induced vibration through the steering column and pedals.
Some may also find that the front seats are mounted too close to the central tunnel, leading to you perpetually resting a knee on it and always feeling a little too distant from the door-mounted arm rests.
While not ultimately terminal flaws, you'd hope not to come across such issues in an otherwise highly polished product.