New car review

Skoda Scala test drive

The Skoda Scala is the mid-sized family hatchback the firm has been craving

The Volkswagen Group is pretty good at churning out some of the best family hatchbacks in the business. Volkswagen has its Golf, SEAT its Leon and Audi its A3. But where does Skoda fit into all of this?

Well, now we have this – the all-new Skoda Scala. Offering class-leading practicality, a well-built interior, loads of standard equipment and an affordable price tag, it could help to get Skoda back into the minds of family hatchback buyers.

What’s new about the Skoda Scala?

All of it. The Scala takes advantage of Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform used across a number of models in the family of brands, like the Golf and A3. So although it shares components with Volkswagens, SEATs and Audis, it’s essentially an all-new model and a vast distance apart from the Rapid – even if Skoda is clear to say that it doesn’t “replace” that model (although it obviously does).

2019 Skoda Scala review - green | The Car Expert

As well as introducing a new design language for the brand, the Scala’s key improvement over the Rapid is the cabin, where a touchscreen of up to nine inches is offered alongside a ten-inch digital virtual cockpit, which are both some of the largest screens in its class.

The VW Group’s latest infotainment package is also offered, which boasts a host of new connectivity services, with scope for services such as door unlocking and parcel deliveries when using a Skoda app.

How does it look?

Skoda has gone down a slightly different path with the Scala’s styling, and it’s a direction that’s worked. But sure, it’s still immediately recognisable as a Skoda with its high bonnet line, flowing lines and hexagonal-shaped grille.

Based on the styling of the Vision RS Concept shown at the 2018 Paris motor show, the Scala offers a sportier look than the Rapid it replaces. The Scala also offers some ‘firsts’ for Skoda, as the hatchback is the Czech manufacturer’s initial model to have the brand’s letters spelt out at the rear as opposed to a traditional Skoda badge.

Our only real gripe about the way the Scala looks, as with many new models, is that the radar sensors for the suite of safety features are poorly integrated into the design behind the front grille. It looks untidy and almost like an afterthought, despite it being fundamental to the overall design.

What’s the spec like?

Value has always been a selling point of Skodas, and the same is true of the Scala. The range kicks off at £16,595, or roughly the same as a mid-spec supermini these days. And despite its cheap price, plenty of kit is still offered as standard.

Gone are the plastic wheel trims you would typically find on the entry-level ‘S’ version, and instead it comes with 16-inch alloys, as well as a six-inch touchscreen, LED headlights and autonomous emergency braking.

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Splashing out an extra £1,185 pays for the SE, which adds even more kit.

Rounding off the range is the SE L, which costs from £19,580. This brings treats such as keyless entry, climate control, the digital cockpit and a large nine-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and connected services.

The Skoda Scala has not yet been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but other models in the family, and other models built on the MQB platform, have had good scores so we’d expect the Scala to be no different.

Continued on next page: Interior, driving experience and our verdict

Ted Welford
Ted Welford
Articles by Ted Welford are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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