What is it?
It’s the facelifted-for-2009 Octavia Scout, the slightly high-rise, more overtly off-road variant of Skoda’s pleasingly honest, practical and affordable estate. Think Audi A4 Allroad, but without the badge kudos and minus nine grand or so off the asking price.
As well as cosmetic changes inside and out, the latest Scout gets the new, fourth generation Haldex clutch system also found on the Octavia 4x4 estate. It’s mated to an unchanged 2.0-litre diesel engine and a smooth six-speed manual gearbox with sensibly spaced ratios.
What’s it like?
Practical, comfortable and versatile, among other things. The familiar 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit is a respectable performer and returns decent economy, with 50-plus mpg easily achieved on a gentle motorway cruise. On top of that, 17-inch alloys and a tyre profile more at home on a farm track than a race track mean it’s a relaxing ride, too.
Externally, the Scout’s modified suspension raises both the ride height and ground clearance over the standard Octavia 4x4, while chunky but understated bodywork add-ons increase both width and overall length by a few millimetres. All this adds up to a genuine smattering of off-road ability; you wouldn’t want to enter the Dakar Rally in it, but towing a horsebox or caravan across a rutted field would be well within its remit.