Ideally I’d love a 4WD however I have one constraint which is the car stacker at Newtown Silos where I live. So a serious 4WD is out of the question (unless I park it on the street). I am happy to settle for something not so serious but would still like AWD for those wet, muddy bush tracks where I’d like to go camping. I would also like to get a diesel engine, yes they aren’t quite as powerful as petrol when you put your foot to the floor but they have lower emissions, better fuel economy and are easier to service (and require less servicing)
I currently use GoGet car share rather than owning a car and it does work great, however I really would like the freedom to just jump in my car and go for long drives, camping on the weekends. I could do this with a hire car or with GoGet but it is a hassle having to pickup cars from hire places or to book a GoGet car with enough time to pack it etc. Also if I feel like staying out longer than planned I can. With GoGet there is this lack of freedom in you know you have to have the car back at a particular time, sure you can extend the booking but if someone else has booked it after you then you have to get it back or be fined $50.
To fit in the car stacker the vehicle needs to fit inside these parameters:
- Maximum weight 1800kg
- Maximum length 5050mm (including any tow bars)
- Maximum Width 2200mm (including mirrors)
- Maximum Height 1550mm (including roof racks & antenna)
Subaru had released the Impreza XV (crossover vehicle) which gave a little more clearance and other features to make it a bit tougher however to my amazement it is actually too high for the car stacker at 1570mm
I have searched and searched for more vehicles but most are all too high to fit in.
Along came my trip to the International Avalon Air Show 2011. I flew to Melbourne and had hired a car for the long weekend, I had decided to go a few notches up from the basic tiny car and had selected i30 or similar. On arrival at Melbourne I went to pickup my car from EuropCar where they told me I had the Skoda. Now I had heard of them before and as far as I was concerned they were pretty shit. Well I was blown away. I had the Skoda Octavia TSI DSG and from the moment I drove away from the airport everything felt great. It handled well, the DSG gearbox was fantastic. It has standard drive and a sports automatic modes with the option to shift to semi manual (tiptronic)
After that weekend I had pretty much given up on my AWD search and thought why not just get a Skoda Octavia? So I headed off to the nearest Skoda dealer at Petersham to check things out. When I got there they had several types of Skoda Octavia, once of which was diesel and was 4×4! (AWD) It was called the Skoda Octavia Scout and came in a manual option only in a standard or premium model. Best of all it fits in the car stacker coming in at 1533mm high. I took it for a test drive for about half an hour and it was great. The only concern I had was the constant shifting for city drive, with 6 forward gears the car never felt like it ever had the right gear when crusing at 50km/hr
I did a bit of research and found out the Scout would be updated with the DSG gearbox in the coming months. This was finally announced by Skoda Australia towards the end of March. Following is the line up with driveaway price a the Petersham Skoda dealer:
- Octavia Scout 103TDI 6 Speed Manual ($44,401)
- Octavia Scout Premium 103TDI 6 Speed Manual ($48,545)
- Octavia Scout 103TDI DSG ($46,770)
- Octavia Scout Premium 103TDI 6 DSG ($50,960)
You can read the brochure to see all the standard equipment but here are things that stand out the most for me:
- Massive amount of luggage space in the boot and with the rear seats down it’s huge. 12V socket in the boot too
- 2.0L turbo diesel engine with good efficiency combined 6.1L/100km and CO2 emissions 160 g/km
- Leather seats, tinted glass, electric seat and sun roof (premium model)
- Dual zone climate control so passenger and driver can have different temperatures
- Satellite navigation comes as standard
- AUX input in the console
- Cruise control
- Lots of controls on the steering wheel
- Multi function display – a scroller on the steering wheel allows you to see plenty of information about the car, trip km, engine temp, fuel consumption (current and average), speed (current and average), trip time etc.
- Lights under the mirrors come on when you lock/unlock the car so you can see where you are going at night.
- Heated seats & mirrors
- Plenty of room for passengers in the rear seats
- Roof rails to attach roof racks for extra luggage or my kayak, bike etc.
What do you think?