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Scout 4X4 is all things to all countrymen, writes Ian Mallon

THIS is no ordinary Skoda car review.

There will be no more comedic references to the Skoda of today being as far removed from the old Czechoslovakian imports of the past.

Gone are the stand-up style routines where the car reviewer winks and smirks at his audience and bangs out the classic one-liners.

"Ah sure we can all remember when they were a big pile of plop," regales the reviewer without a hint of irony.

"Now they're great altogether, sure all the taxi drivers are driving them."

You get the picture.

By now the reader is more than aware that Skoda today is not the prehistoric Czechoslovakian rust bucket that was almost certainly a by-product of the Cold War.

Skoda now has German engineering and is about as far removed from the old Soviet-style Czechoslovakia as Martina Navratilova's American wife.


Skoda are now one of the most diverse and complete car ranges, a host of different specs and models, one that is growing in appeal and stature with each passing month.

The range is stylish and sophisticated, and one that is gathering more and more affection amongst buyers.

Yes, Skodas were once the preserve of the Dublin taxi driver, a reliable and economic car, with very few whistles.

Now it is all whistles and bells, with as much substance as its once more refined competitors.

The latest models to have been wheeled out by the brand includes a rather dinky looking Fabia, with blackened wheels and boy racer chic, right up to a Combi Superb for a very grown up kind of driver.

But it's the brand's arrival as the newest four wheel driver provider that makes the real headlines here.

Already the Yeti, the Superb, Superb Combi and Octavia Combi have become recently available in 4X4.

This is the stuff of revolution in the all-wheel drive sector where a manufacture is now churning out great models at agreeable prices.

Continuing the journey into grand maturity comes the Octavia Combi, or the Scout 4x4 to give it its preferred handle.

A true judge of any car I ever drive is, 'would I buy this?' and the answer is almost always no.

But this was one of those rare moments where I thought to myself, that 'yes, I certainly would'. That's because the Scout 4x4, to give it its official handle is a proper wagon, and I'm becoming a proper middle-aged old tosser.

I now need wagon-sized cars, with room for golf clubs, children, wives and occasional livestock -- a car that is all things to all country men. It's the sort of auto that could happily sit side-by-side with a Subaru Legacy or an Audi Avant in the posh country motor stakes.

Inside the Scout and there is plenty of room, wife and kids were all happy (and all at the same time), so that says something and comfort is as key as performance nowadays.

There are very few cars these days that aren't comfortable any more, and nowadays off roaders have come a long way from the time where you'd get whip lash at the mere sight of a seat.

The Skoda Octavia Scout 4x4 comes in 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDI and prices start at €28,685.

The Scout is a true mark of where Skoda is heading and one of the most complete cars I've driven this year.