The Skoda Kodiaq exactly isn't a brand new name. Present from two years in the Indian market, it has established itself as a charming, sophisticated and a capable SUV whose proposition is as unique as it gets. Now, its Scout variant is here, to appeal to customers seeking greater off-road prowess. We were recently invited to test drive the same where we took it for a spin of over 200 kilometres on mixed conditions comprising well laid out open tarmac as well as some off-road grounds.
So does the Skoda Kodiaq Scout really has something different to offer or is it just the same Kodiaq with an additional badge? Read on to know.
What's changed on the outside?
There are only a few visual changes that differentiate it from the regular Kodiaq, such as exclusive silver skid plates, a Scout plaque on the front wings, matte silver finish on the mirrors, silver roof rails and 18-inch Trinity dual-tone anthracite alloy wheels. Moon White, Quartz Grey, Magic Black and Lava Blue are the exterior colour choices. Another difference current Skoda Kodiaq owners will notice is the usage of wide-spaced 'S-K-O-D-A' lettering on the tailgate instead of a conventional brand logo.
What about the interiors?
As soon as you step inside, the Kodiaq Scout welcomes you with its updated upholstery. The earlier beige-and-black treatment has been replaced with an all-black Alcantara leather which gives it a much premium appeal. The blend of Alcantara and leather found on the Kodiaq Scout is seen on the Skoda Octavia RS also internationally. The seats also get white contrast stitching and are decently padded for good comfort and support. Furthermore, the Scout variant also gets dark polished wood trimmings over the dashboard which proudly sports the ‘Scout’ badge. The same trimming is present on the door pads as well.
In terms of equipment, it makes use of the same kit as the top-spec Kodiaq L&K, save for the Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster. It gets the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which supports Apple and Android connectivity. Furthermore, bits like three-zone climate control, massive panoramic sunroof, a reverse camera along with front and rear sensors and nine airbags make the Kodiaq Scout very convenient and safe. Also added to the package is a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Sensors) system which is exclusive to the Scout variant in India. It misses out on the 360-degree camera found on the L&K, but it gets semi-automatic park assist and colour-changeable mood lighting.
Hop on to the rear seats and you'll find that real fun of riding in a Kodiaq is at the rear row which remains as impressive as always. The space, comfort and luxury of the second row is not only at par but even better than some well-established rivals. Apart from the massive panoramic sunroof which features an anti-pinch function and huge windows that let you enjoy the view to the fullest, you also get standard ‘Nap Package’ that includes retractable neck restraints along with the blankets and manual sun blinds for the rear windows. Also minor but thoughtfully integrated bits like detachable torchlight in the boot and the umbrellas stowed into the front doors add a sensuous touch to the package.
Exclusive Off-road mode
Apart from everything that's visible on the outside, the most significant bit which makes the 'Scout' what it is - is its exclusive 'off-road mode'. It can be selected via a dedicated switch placed behind the drive selector lever. Though the name might confuse you, this is nothing but the hill-descent control function. This mode automatically controls your descent speed while driving downhill on low grip surfaces, thus, reducing the need for braking input from the driver. Also, this mode displays additional information on the big screen including an altimeter, compass and tyre position display, along with engine oil and coolant temperature details. While in regular on-road conditions, close to 96% torque is sent to the front wheels but the system splits the torque delivery between all the wheels in such way that traction is maintained all the way without losing momentum which is critical during tricky off-road situations. It is capable of transmitting up to 90%
torque to the rear wheels and up to 85% torque to one single when the system demands.
The Kodiaq Scout also comes with the standard ‘Rough Road Package’ which adds additional underbody protection to the critical components including oil sump, engine bay, gearbox and even the suspension. But at the same time, no increase in the ground clearance (188 mm - unladen) might be a downer for some.
How are the road manners?
To start with, the Skoda Kodiaq has been one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs for the highways and the Scout variant is no exception. It runs on the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine which is rated to deliver 150 PS and 340 Nm and is paired with a 7-speed DSG. With its smooth and linear delivery, along with the slick-shifting and intuitive transmission, the Skoda Kodiaq Scout is a delight to drive. The power delivery might not feel as intimidating as you'd expect, nonetheless, the buttery push from the 2.0-litre oil burner makes it feel like you are driving a petrol SUV. If that was not all, it has tremendous cornering grip for its size, and it drives more like a car on the highways than an SUV which is commendable. Despite being a big, 1.8-tonne SUV, it easily manages to hide away its weight when splitting lanes, and thus has outstanding highway manners as per SUV standards.
Should you buy one?
The Skoda Kodaq Scout is priced at INR 33.99 lakh ex-showroom. It is INR 3 lakh cheaper than the L&K variant and still meets it neck-to-neck in terms of overall features and equipment. So, in that sense, it definitely brings value to the table. It may not be the best off-roader in the segment but it is not even supposed to be that. It does many other things and it does all that in style. If you like driving SUVs which are as impressive on the road, as off it, then this might just be what you are looking for. It is perhaps George Clooney of SUVs - sharp and elegant, and yet highly versatile.