In 2017, Skoda’s flagship SUV, the Kodiaq entered the Indian market. Since then Skoda has been cleverly updating its Kodiaq by adding in the flagship Laurin & Klement trim and now the mid-level trim, the Scout, which sits right in between the Style and the Laurin and Klement. And it’s about time that the Skoda Kodiaq gets its due cut courtesy of the Scout. So, what is special about this new Scout Trooper?
The drive flagged off from Nagpur’s Le Meridien hotel and we drove 95 kilometres towards the Nagpur border until we reached Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh. A quick note, the Pench National Park is famous for its Tiger Reserve. 90 percent of the road until the National Park began was just a two-lane National Highway. And we were well aware of the Kodiaq’s highway driving dynamics and for the Scout too, it remained unchanged. Apart from the comfortable and smooth driving experience, there was one thing which was really annoying. This annoying bit, however, will be with all the new cars manufactured from 1 July 2019. The ‘Speed Warning System’ will beep sound whenever the car crosses the 80 km/h speed and when the car crosses 120 km/h, it beeps continuously. Well, thanks to our Government’s regulations! That’s a whole different topic to discuss. So far nothing to complain on the Skoda Scout, but its real test was just about to begin as we started driving inside the dense forest cover of the Pench National Park.
We figured out some off-road trails to test the Scout’s off-road potential. On the Scout, you get a dedicated Off-Road button right next to the 7-speed DSG gearbox, which when you switch it on will activate three gauges on the centre console of your screen. There are a total of five gauges which you can choose from. The five gauges will tell you the Kodiaq’s wheel rotation angle, the altimeter will give you an idea about the elevation level, the compass will help you give a sense of direction when you take it out for some serious off-road trails, lastly, the oil and coolant temperature gauges to help you keep an eye on the fluid levels. All these gauges are some clever touches from Skoda that are best for your off-roading trails. To assist you more on a downhill slope, there’s Hill Hold and Descent Control. Adding to the off-road credentials of the Kodiaq, the Scout gets an underbody protective cover along with a Rough Road Package which includes protection for engine bay, oil sumps, gearbox, rear suspension, lateral arms and brake hoses. That is if the 190mm ground clearance of the Kodiaq falls short while traversing through rough terrain. Well, on our off-road trails, the ground clearance was sufficient. On the outside, the Scout gets a few cosmetic changes to match with its off-road credentials, for example, silver-coloured spoiler at the front bumper, angular mud flaps hugging the square wheel arches on the sides and some silver protective covering the borders of the exhaust and the diffuser at the rear.
Further as we moved ahead on our off-road trail we couldn’t scout any Tiger, nevertheless, we learnt a lot about the Kodiaq Scout and its surroundings. The off-road trail ended near a lake, adjacent to the borders of the core area. This is where we saw the Stork bird sitting on a rock inside the lake. Before we could capture it in our lenses, it flew away. Talking about birds, starting from the Kodiaq Scout, Skoda will be adopting its new blocked letter SKODA badging on the rear evolving from its winged arrow logo.
All in all, the Kodiaq Scout could traverse its way through a rough section of road without breaking a sweat. It was really comfortable to drive it on a winding section of a road ensuring that everyone in the back seats was relaxed. But it all boils down to one question.
Should You Buy One?
That really depends on what you are really looking for in your car. The Kodiaq Scout isn’t a hardcore off-roader but can hold its own on a fairly battered trail and with a few added clever touches from Skoda, it truly adds more value. The Scout is an SUV that offers premium quality, practicality with mild off-roading potential and if that’s what you are looking for in your car then the Scout Trooper is definitely worth considering!
Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, TDI engine
Power: 148 Bhp
Torque: 340 Nm
Transmission: 7-speed DSG automatic
Price: ₹33.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India)