Our Fleet Test Drive: Skoda Octavia Scout - Final Report
12 February 2009
Author: Alisdair Suttie
Timing is everything, and in the case of the Skoda Octavia Scout I've been running, it's been the right car at the right time, all the way up to its recent departure.
When the car pitched up at the start of the summer, I was in the process of moving house, and the Skoda's generous and well-shaped boot  and easy to fold rear seats instantly proved their worth, transporting more delicate items to the new abode. Once installed at Suttie Acres, the optional tow bar also found a use hauling trailer-loads of cleared garden rubbish to the refuse tip.
Towing showed up the flexible nature of the 138PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, which was always willing to deliver strong performance. Minus the trailer, the Scout had lively acceleration and the engine only became a little rowdy when pressed all the way to its limit.
Driven with a modicum of care, it easily returned an average economy of 44.9mpg. This took a few miles to happen, as the Skoda was turning in nearer 40.0mpg when it first arrived. Still, the improvement in economy coincided with last summer's hike in fuel prices, so that Skoda timing was spot on again.
The only poor piece of timing for the Octavia was an unscheduled stop at the local dealer. This was down to a leaky windscreen , which manifested itself on a thunderous night as I returned to the car at Edinburgh airport after a trip away. Even with a new windscreen and headlining required, the black clouds were soon dissipated the same day by Skoda's first-rate customer service. This included a courtesy car - picked up the next day when I dropped off the Scout - follow-up phone calls and the car eventually returned in spotless valeted condition.
With 10,000 miles racked up in little more than six months, the Scout's mileage was typical of many business users' working lives. Perhaps a little less usual than the normal motorway and A-road conditions was the rough tracks and flooded lanes the Scout easily coped with . It's no off-roader, but the extra ride height and four-wheel drive compared to an Octavia Estate came into their own as winter closed in on rural Scotland.
Any dislikes? Not much, although at lower speeds the suspension was not as supple as say a Ford Mondeo Estate's. There was also a crackle from the driver's door speaker, but this cured itself after a day's sulk.
The Skoda Octavia Scout will not be the ideal company car for everyone, but if like me you have to balance living in the wilds with repeated long distance travel and family life, the Scout is a great companion. The only bad bit of timing was when the nice man from Skoda came to retrieve the keys and take the Scout back.