2020 Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI Scout 4x4
THE Skoda Superb Scout 200TSI 4x4 is aptly named for this little corner of the world, having most of the credentials to do just that – scout around.
As Australia’s premier inland playground, North-East Victoria and the Southern Riverina region of New South Wales has everything the outdoor enthusiast could wish for, including the type of terrain the Scout’s designers had in mind for their large station wagon – or estate.
The 2020 Superb Scout was originally intended as a gap-filler until 2021 Superb sedans and wagons arrived, with just 300 Scouts earmarked in 2020 for Australian Skoda showrooms.
The updated sedan and wagon range has landed, but instead of letting sales of the Scout be exhausted and not being replenished, Skoda Australia has given Australian buyers an early Christmas present by announcing the Scout will soldier on, thankfully with the same 2021 updates as its cousins.
It remains as a single specification model, but instead of wearing a sticker price from $59,490, the 2021 Scout is priced from $61,990, which includes $2900 of added features.
The perfect vehicle for all seasons and all reasons, the Skoda Scout competes in the shrinking Large Passenger segment which, since Holden’s departure, leaves just three competitors, four if some Holden dealers still have stock.
That leaves Kia Stinger, Peugeot 508, and Skoda Superb, with the French and Czech brands offering wagon variants.
The Superb line-up consists of four sedan variants and five wagons, with the Scout the standout thanks to its additional body cladding and taller ride height.
Model year 2021 Scout changes include a detachable towbar, a new, three-spoke flat-bottom, multifunctional sports steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay, and an upgraded MIBIII Columbus infotainment unit.
The Scout is a standalone variant, therefore the sticker price of $61,990 (plus on road costs), is for ‘what you see is what you get’, unless you want to trick it up with accessories or want a different body colour or glass panoramic sunroof.
The Scout is powered by the same 2-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine as fitted to the Superb Sportline (and VW Golf R), however the fitting of a petrol particulate filter reduces peak power slightly to 200kW, with 350Nm of torque still available.
The fitting of the particulate filter means the engine can only operate on 95/98RON petrol and the Skoda sales rep will emphasise the point when you sign on the dotted line.
Pick up the 91RON nozzle and start filling the fuel tank and you may face a hefty repair bill.
That power (developed at 5500-6500rpm) and torque (2000-5400rpm) is effortlessly sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed DSG transmission which can also be operated via steering wheels paddles.
The powertrain is fuel efficient enough considering it is pulling around 1638kg.
After a week of driving freeway, highway, B and C roads and doing a bit of off-road ‘scouting’, we returned a respectable 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
Skoda claims a combined consumption of 7.1L/100km.
The Superb is a large wagon. Massive, even.
It measures 4863mm long, 1864mm wide, is 1511mm tall, and has a wheelbase spanning 2841mm, meaning a football field interior for five adult players and more than enough cargo space for the gear of an entire team.
The Scout boasts 150mm of ground clearance and a turning circle of 11.1-metres.
Despite its higher stance, it still looks low, wide, mean, and purposeful, and giving all its European contemporaries a run for their money in the styling stakes.
It looks good – no, great - from any angle. We love it.
Adding to the prestige looks are full LED Matrix headlights, front fog lights with cornering function, full LED rear lights with dynamic indicators, dual exhaust outlets, and attractive 18-inch, 10-spoke, polished alloy wheels shod with, in our case, grippy Pirelli Cinturato P7 rubber.
There are standard roof rails, distinctive black cladding which should take care of most of the ‘trail-blazing’ rubbish you are going to find getting to that favourite fishing or out-of-the-way camping spot, extra underbody protection, 4x4 badging on the tailgate, and Scout badging on the trailing edge of each front guard.
There are numerous body colour paint options priced from $770 to $1700 for tangerine, while a panoramic glass sunroof will set you back $1900.
The interior design and layout of the Scout is hard to fault, nothing being out of place, no rough edges, and acres (should that be hectares?) of room for front and rear passengers.
Driver and front seat passenger get big, supportive, and comfy seats, all-round vision is excellent, and dash and instrument panel are typical Teutonic, with all switchgear and instruments being within easy sight and reach.
To say the driver’s lot is minimalistic does push the envelope, but it is a clever design and easy to work with.
Centrepiece is an easy-to-navigate, 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment display with crystal-clear rear view camera, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with the driver getting a three-spoke, fully-adjustable steering wheel with remotes, and a 10.25-inch digital Virtual Cockpit instrument binnacle similar to that used in premium offerings from Volkswagen and Audi.
Even the rear seats are heated, plus there are alloy foot pedals, mood lighting, and Skoda branding light display which projects onto the road surface when the front doors are open.
Rear seat leg and head space is excellent, and even though the centre seat is slightly raised, a tall person will still feel quite at home.
There is a centre pull-down armrest with cupholders, plus a ski port which is quite handy for this next of the woods with major Victorian and New South Wales ski resorts within an easy drive.
Cargo space is massive, Skoda claiming 660-litres with the rear seats upright, or 1950-litres with them folded (almost) flat.
The boot load-over lip is low enough to make lifting and sliding heavy items easy enough and once stowed, your load can be secured courtesy of elasticised netting and tie-down hooks.
Cargo or luggage is covered by a retractable blind, the tailgate is automatic with virtual pedal, and side glass is of the privacy type.
Scout comes with Skoda’s full suite of driver and passive safety aids such as tyre pressure monitoring, emergency assist, hill start assist, hill decent control, blind spot monitoring and lane assist, a rear view camera with guidelines, rear cross traffic alert, front assist with city emergency brake and predictive pedestrian protection, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, front and rear parking sensors, nine airbags, and a five-star safety rating.
To go with the Scout’s soft-touch surfaces and lounge room interior size is lounge chair comfort, the Alcantara/leather seats being heated front and rear, with the front seats having electric adjustment and memory setting.
There is more than enough standard kit to keep everyone amused on short or long treks, including a CANTON premium sound system, triple-zone air-con, wireless smartphone charging, digital radio, CD player, push-button start, an electric emergency brake, self-dimming interior rear view mirror, and a 9.2-inch Columbus infotainment system which supports Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there is automatic park assist.
Nice touches include tablet holders integrated into the back of the front seat headrests, umbrellas tucked into the front door armrests, an LED torch in the cargo area, an alarm system, and an adaptive chassis control with drive mode system.
Storage options include a large glove box, a large central bin, central cupholders, door pockets with bottle holders and rubbish bins, numerous trays, and several hidey holes.
In other words, ‘simply clever’.
What is it like to drive?
Although it is a large estate, the Scout is easy to drive – and it is quiet, with little road or wind noise entering the cabin.
The proven 2-litre TSI turbo four-cylinder engine powering the Scout develops its peak torque between 2000 and 5400rpm, so it always operates in its power band.
This silky-smooth, responsive engine drives through a dual-clutch transmission which shuffles power to all four wheels depending on driving condition.
There is no turbo lag, and the transmission is jerk free, with little hint of slowness when engaging reverse or first gear.
The powertrain is a great marriage and performance can be increased by manually shifting the transmission via the gear lever, or by using the paddles located behind the steering wheel.
In Sport mode there is a pleasing growl from the exhaust but for most of our driving we left the drive mode in default Normal – except when pushing on through the windy bits where Sport seemed to be the right fit!
The raised ride height has little to no effect on how the Scout scurries across country roads, the only noticeable trace of difference between it and the Superb wagon being some ‘floating’ through the bends.
The suspension does an excellent job of soaking up most of the bumps and thumps well before they can enter the cabin, the light steering turns the large wagon into corners nicely and, with a turning circle of 11.1-metres, the impressive clarity of the rear view camera, the parking sensors and park assist, it is a relatively easy vehicle to park in crowded shopping centre car parks and to wheel around in narrow streets and alleyways.
Why would I need it?
There are umpteen reasons why you would want to buy a Skoda Scout instead of an SUV.
It is handsome, spacious, well built, extremely well fitted out, and is comfortable, plus it wins hands down in load lugging ability.
The humble station wagon/estate is not dead and as a friendly, easy-to-use, easy-to-drive family hauler, the Skoda Scout represents excellent value.
It is hard to fault.
Review vehicle courtesy: Skoda Australia
Price: Skoda Superb Scout 2.0 TSI 4x4 $61,990 plus on-road costs
Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol
Power: 200kW at 5500-6500rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 2000-5400rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic. All-wheel-drive
Fuel consumption: 7.5L/100km
Fuel tank capacity: 66 litres 95 RON petrol
Towing capacity: 2200kg braked
Warranty: 5 years/unlimited kilometres
NORTH-EAST VICTORIA/SOUTHERN RIVERINA SKODA DEALERSHIPS
Albury-Wodonga – Brooks Skoda, 207 Melbourne Road, Wodonga Phone: (02) 6055 8700
Shepparton – Shepparton Volkswagen, 325-329 Midland Highway, Phone: (03) 5822 5844 (service only)