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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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PROS

  • Superb practicality
  • Plenty of safety kit on offer
  • Refined three-cylinder 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

At a glance

New price £16,595 - £23,315
Lease from new From £207 per month
Used price £11,490 - £17,405
Used monthly cost £283 - £429
Fuel economy 55 - 68 mpg
Road tax cost £145
Insurance group 10 - 14 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Superb practicality
  • Plenty of safety kit on offer
  • Refined three-cylinder 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

Replacing the now discontinued Rapid Spaceback in the Czech brand’s model line-up is the Skoda Scala, slotting in between the Fabia and Octavia. It shares the same platform as the SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo, yet – thanks to its larger dimensions – counts cars such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308 and even the Volkswagen Golf, as rivals. 

What’s more, the Scala’s starting list price is cheaper than all of the cars mentioned above, so the big question is whether it really can hold its own against what we know to be some seriously well-rounded opposition. Read on to find out. 

Impressive amounts of space

One of the Scala’s main draws is the level of space on offer. Aside from the front of the cabin (which does feel a touch narrow), rear passenger space is superb, affording generous leg and head room – even with the optional panoramic sunroof in place. There is a chunky central tunnel – which robs foot room for those sitting in the middle – but it’s not enough to spoil the Scala’s excellent mark for practicality.

Green 2019 Skoda Scala front three-quarter

Luggage capacity is also excellent at 467 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,410 litres with them folded down. By comparison, the Volkswagen Golf manages just 380 and 1,270 litres. The boot floor can also be adjusted – allowing a hidden storage compartment should you need it – plus the lip at boot entry is minimal, making it easier to slide heavy items in. 

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.

2019 Skoda Scala SE dashboard

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.

Need something bigger? Read our Skoda Octavia review

Secondhand Skoda Rapids for sale

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.

Skoda Scala Hatchback rivals