4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Another capable addition to the family hatchback class

Skoda Scala Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £20,655 - £25,720
Lease from new From £247 p/m View lease deals
Used price £10,785 - £18,730
Used monthly cost From £269 per month
Fuel Economy 41.5 - 60.1 mpg
Road tax cost £150
Insurance group 10 - 19 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • It offers Golf space for Polo money
  • Plenty of safety equipment
  • Refined petrol engines
  • Swish new cabin

CONS

  • Not that fun to drive
  • Front of the cabin feels narrower than some rivals
  • No alarm or lumbar support on base-spec models
  • Slightly unsettled low-speed ride

Skoda Scala Hatchback rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

Skoda has a history of stretching its cars out to the largest extremes it can manage – which is why even though the Scala is based on the same platform as the SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo it's far closer to a Golf in size. As usual, Skoda is going for the maximum value for money for its small family car, but doing it by offering all the space for the money – and not just aiming for the cheapest price.

Thanks to its larger dimensions, it counts cars such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Hyundai i30 and Peugeot 308 as rivals. It’s cheaper than these rivals, though, so the big question is whether its more humble underpinnings allow it to hold its own against what we know to be some seriously well-rounded opposition.

Impressive amounts of space

The Scala’s main draw, especially for demanding family motorists, is the amount of space on offer. While the front of the cabin can feel a little narrow – a product of that supermini platform – rear passenger space is absolutely superb with legroom and headroom in abundance, even with the optional panoramic glass roof. Adults will be more than happy to ride back here even for long journeys, which isn’t something you can always say about cars of this size.

Luggage capacity is also excellent with a huge, wide and deep space. There’s 467 litres on offer, compared with just 381 litres in the Volkswagen Golf. An optional adjustable boot floor allows for a minimal load lip and a hidden compartment beneath the floor.

Upgraded interior over the Rapid

The Scala’s interior quality is a major improvement on the Rapid that went before it, with plusher material quality and a more modern design. It’s not on a par with the Volkswagen Golf, but sits close to where the Ford Focus is at for sheer desirability.

Taking centre stage is the main infotainment screen (up to 9.2-inches on SE L trim) and Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard (also standard on SE L trim). The former is the usual Skoda fare, boasting functional, easy to use software and decent graphics, while the latter improves on the equivalent system seen on the Volkswagen Golf and displays sat-nav, media, phone and trip computer information. 

Wide array of available safety equipment

As well as offering up to nine airbags, the Scala comes with a raft of safety technology (either standard or optional) designed to help the driver avoid accidents or reduce the risk of injury in the event of one. This includes standard-fit Lane Assist and Front Assist (including pedestrian detection), as well as optional features such as adaptive cruise control, Side Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Park Assist automatic parking and Crew Protect Assist.

Unsurprisingly, when tested by Euro NCAP, the Scala was awarded the full five-star crash-test rating.

Comfort-oriented driving experience

Like almost every other Skoda on sale, the Scala is focused towards delivering a comfortable, rather than sporty drive. As such, the ride quality is soft and forgiving – although it’s not immune to repeated surface imperfections at low speed. Rather, it’s at its best at higher speed where the Scala proves itself to be a capable cruiser, thanks partly to excellent engine refinement.

Skoda offers a Sport Chassis Control option with the Scala, that essentially lowers the chassis by 15mm and gives the driver the option of two damper settings – Normal and a firmer Sport mode. We’ve only driven the Scala with the Sport Chassis Control fitted and we weren’t overly impressed. While fine in Normal mode, the ride becomes far more uncomfortable when switched to Sport, yet the handling isn’t appreciably different. 

Mix of petrol and diesel engines, plus rumoured vRS version

The Scala is available with three petrol engines and one diesel, with the main transmission options being a five- or six-speed manual and a seven-speed DSG automatic. If you want a petrol Scala, the choices are 95hp 1.0-litre TSI, 115hp 1.0-litre TSI (both three-cylinder engines) and a range topping 150hp 1.5-litre TSI. The sole diesel option meanwhile is a 115hp 1.6-litre TDI unit. 

Opt for the mid-range 115hp petrol and you can expect a superbly refined engine with just enough punch to adequately pull the Scala along. It’s the same engine as you can get in a small Ibiza or Polo, so it has to be worked relatively hard in the heavier Scala. Going for the optional DSG could well be worth the extra outlay.

A performance vRS version with a hybrid powertrain has been rumoured, but as yet there's no official confirmation from Skoda on a possible release date.

Read on to find out what we think of the Skoda Scala's practicality, interior, running costs and driving experience - or click here to skip to the full verdict.

Skoda Scala Hatchback rivals