Skoda is taking on Subaru’s Outback with a new sleeker version of its own high-riding all-wheel-drive wagon — priced to undercut its Japanese rival.
The Octavia Scout is now just $32,990, a whopping $6500 price cut over the previous generation model, and $2500 less than the cheapest Outback.
The sharp price comes at a cost though. Automatic braking technology, a feature that’s standard in petrol versions of the Outback, is a $3900 option pack on the cheapest Scout.
Explore the 2015 Skoda Octavia range
The attractive starting price, combined with a guaranteed buyback price for cars bought through Skoda finance, is designed to get the Czech maker on to more buyer consideration lists.
The Octavia is well equipped and has a strong safety package that includes nine airbags, rear-view camera and rear parking sensors and fatigue detection. Higher grades add suede trim, 8-inch touchscreen with satnav, dual-zone aircon and automatic tailgate.
It’s larger than the previous model and sits on a more modern Volkswagen family platform, which has 26mm more legroom in the back.
Engine choices include two 2.0-litre diesels and a 1.8-litre petrol turbo.
All three come with automatic stopstart and brake energy recovery technology — fuel use has been cut by up to 20 per cent across the range.
The smaller diesel is available with manual transmission only while the other two get a sixspeed direct-shift automatic.
The entry level 110 TDI is surprisingly good, smooth and reasonably quiet
The petrol engine is expected to account for at least 50 per cent of sales.
On the road
The entry level 110 TDI is surprisingly good, smooth and reasonably quiet with plenty of power to play with. This 2.0-litre diesel in one form or another has powered many VWs over the years.
The Scout is a car you feel at home in straight away, with reach and height adjustment for the wheel, comfortable driver’s seat that is also height adjustable with lumbar support that can be inflated — something you don’t see often.
The manual change is easy to use and you don’t need to be an expert to get this car off the line cleanly, with strong roll-on acceleration and plenty of mid-range torque for overtaking.
If you’re just in the market for an auto, the 132 TSI petrol model is a no-brainer
Hop on the motorway, put it into top gear and settle back Do you need the more powerful 135 TDI? Definitely not, at least not in terms of power — but it’s the only way to get a diesel with an auto.
Then again if you’re just in the market for an auto, the 132 TSI petrol model is a no-brainer.
The petrol turbo is a gem, with a sportier, more urgent feel — picture this car zipping down the road with skis on the roof for a weekend in the snow.
Performance is convincing, with plenty of grip in the corners, limited only by the car’s higher centre of gravity (it’s 31mm higher than the donor Octavia).
It’s a pretty good thing on dirt too and can put away the kilometres at a rate of knots, although its ground clearance isn’t as good as its predecessor. If you get it wrong, the electronics kick in, preventing the car from inadvertently leaving the road.
The dash from 0-100km/h in this model takes a brisk 7.8 seconds and it sips pretty lightly for a petrol engine at just 7.1L/100km.
Sport mode cranks it up a notch and you can shift manually using the stick, but a set of gear change paddles would be nice — there are no paddles, not even as options. The 132 TSI would be our choice but auto braking should be standard , not an option.