Planning on buying a new 2021 Skoda Octavia Scout?
Hold your horses as, unless you happen to be an emergency services fleet manager, you are going to be out of luck.
A lack of demand from UK customers for the off-road version of the Octavia estate, means it will not be offered for general consumption.
As disappointing as this news might be, it is perhaps not surprising. As anyone who has looked at PCP finance prices for estate cars against SUVs will know, the latter tends to be significantly more affordable each month.
Since the debut of the previous Octavia Scout, Skoda has substantially expanded its SUV range to include the seven-seater Kodiaq, and smaller Karoq and Kamiq models. Faced with more choice, generous incentives, and cheaper payments, customers have naturally gravitated towards SUVs.
Lower demand for the Octavia Scout will harm its residual values, too. This means PCP or leasing deals would become comparatively more expensive, further reducing demand in a vicious circle.
Skoda will offer the emergency services version of the new Octavia Scout directly to fleet managers. This will incorporate the initial conversion, breakdown recovery, servicing, maintenance, and repair options into one manageable payment.
So what exactly are the general public missing out on? Well, the choice of a 2.0-litre diesel engine in either 150 hp or 200 hp specification, combined with standard all-wheel drive and DSG transmission.
The Scout’s biggest selling point is the ride height being raised by 15 mm, bespoke bumpers with off-road ready protection, and optional driver assists like Hill Descent Control. Oh, and the interior features brown stitching for the ‘thermoflux upholstery’ seats, whilst European-spec cars get woodgrain interior trim.
Yes, that’s right. Those on the Continent are still readily able to buy the Octavia Scout. Possibly because consumers there are sensible enough to realise an SUV is not the answer to EVERY question. Sigh.
We’re not bitter, honest. Just sad, and a little disappointed, after giving the Skoda Octavia Scout an honourable mention in our 2021 EngageSportMode Awards. We tried, but the lure of the SUV is still too much for us to contend with.
It means our dreams of cruising the Scottish Highlands, driving an Octavia Scout vinyl-wrapped to look like a 1980’s AMC Eagle woody station wagon, are now on hold.
This does act as a reminder that ESM is perhaps not the greatest arbiter of UK motoring tastes. For instance, we loved the Volkswagen Jetta saloon. You know, the one which is no longer sold in the UK due to poor demand.
All we can hope is that plenty of emergency services fleet managers pick the Scout, so we can see them eventually trickle down to the used market. It’s either that, or ESM needs to join the fire service.