If you’re looking for a competent, reasonably efficient, spacious and good value hatchback, then the Skoda Scala could be your answer.
The Scala is a Skoda, so you can expect it to be sensible and competent. Anything else to report…?
The Scala shares a Volkswagen Group platform, which means that it should be well engineered. Our test car had a 115PS 1.0 TSI petrol engine, a 6-speed manual gearbox, and front-wheel drive.
The sensible approach is evident in the interior and the exterior, although the Scala does appear to be half hatchback and half estate – both from a visual and an interior space point of view.
If you’re expecting surprises then you’re going to be disappointed. The summary is that the Scala is competent in just about every area. The overall driving experience is refined, performance is sufficient, the ride is comfortable and the handling is safe. There’s a small amount of wind noise on the motorway, otherwise it’s a quiet place to be.
One refreshing thing is that this is quite a light car, with a kerb weight of just 1,135 kg – which contributes to its reasonably agile driving experience and its efficiency.
The infomedia works perfectly well, although there was no satnav in our test car – but you can use the satnav from a phone that’s connected to the screen.
As with most Volkswagen Group cars, the Lane Departure Warning system is a pain. It tugs at the steering if you cross a white line, and it’s a painful process to disengage it through various menus on the touchscreen.
The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the Skoda Scala is 49.6 – 44.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 113 g/km. After a week of mixed driving we averaged 51.0mpg – which is slightly better than the WLTP figure. We managed 57mpg at journeys of 50-70mph. The projected driving range on a full tank was around 500 miles.
The Skoda Scala SE 1.0 TSI 115PS costs £18,585. Our test car had options including 16-inch alloy wheels (£415), ambient lighting (£250), boot pack (£80), front centre armrest with two rear USB ports (£85), metallic paint (£595), park assist (£600) and tailgate design pack £425, taking the total price to £21,085.
Trim levels are S, SE and SE L. Petrol engine options include the 1.0 TSI with 95PS or 115PS, and the 1.5 TSI with 150PS. The 95PS engine is under-powered in our view; the 150PS unit should add some fun factor to the driving experience. There’s also a diesel 1.6 TDI with 115PS – which is probably the one to go for if the car is due to spend most of its time on motorways. Manual or DSG transmissions are also available.
As we reach the point when there’s going to be a major shift to electric vehicles, the Scala is a demonstration of where the Volkswagen Group has got to with conventional internal combustion-engined cars. The Scala appears to be an exercise in manufacturing the ultimate all-round competent car at a competitive price. There’s not really anything wrong with the Scala, it does pretty much everything in a way that’s fine: it’s refined and decent to drive, reasonably spacious, especially in the boot department, and relatively efficient. However, like the grey colour of our test car, it doesn’t do much to excite you; but we assume that the Volkswagen Group believes there’s a market for such a product. It’s perhaps no surprise that the Skoda Scala SE 1.0 TSI 115PS is awarded a ‘competent’ Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.