Skoda Scala Review & Prices
The Skoda Scala offers loads of space and standard equipment for a keen price. If you value a fun drive there are better options, though
Find out more about the Skoda Scala
Before you join the SUV herd, take a moment to think of something different – the Skoda Scala. This is a five-door hatchback that’s giving the likes of the Ford Focus, Kia Ceed and Volkswagen Golf plenty to think about, with its classy interior, space and keen pricing.
It’s a little bit like the middle one of a three-tier Russian doll - slotting in between Skoda’s bigger Octavia and smaller Fabia models to make sure there’s a model close together to suit every requirement.
It’s a decently interesting thing to look at on the outside, especially in sporty Monte Carlo trim, and inside it’s classy, not brassy. There are soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and doors, piano black and chrome accents and switches that feel substantial. It’s not quite VW Golf-good, but it easily rivals a Focus or Ceed.
Where it’s better than all three is infotainment. Entry-level SE cars come with an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen. It sits atop the dashboard so you don’t need to crane your neck to see it and the logical menus with shortcut buttons and bright, crisp graphics are impressive. There is an even larger 9.2-inch screen on SE L and Monte Carlo models with built-in sat nav and Virtual Cockpit digital dials, but the 8.0-inch system will be enough for most.
Both systems come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so having built-in sat nav isn’t a necessity, while remote access via an app is standard across the range. However, it’s worth adding those digital dials as an option to SE trim if you can stretch to it – they look superb, are really easy to read and lift the cabin even further.
The Scala also has space on its side. The driver gets a generous amount of manual seat and wheel adjustment as standard (electric adjustment can be added as an option on SE L and Monte Carlo spec) while head and leg room around the front seats is also plentiful. More impressive is the space in the back, where three adults can sit side-by-side in relative comfort. Two will have loads of room to stay comfortable on long journeys.
The good news continues in the boot, which at 467 litres dwarfs its alternatives’ efforts. It isn’t just big – it also has a low load lip, great access and loads of Skoda’s traditional ‘Simply Clever’ touches such as an adjustable boot floor, nets, hooks and a 12v socket. If you need more room, the rear seats split 60:40 and fold almost flat.
The Skoda Scala is a thoroughly convincing family hatch; keep your engine and trim choices sensible and it’s also a bit of a bargain compared to other hatchbacks
Where the Scala is a little more ordinary versus alternatives is its drive. That’s not to say it’s bad – a Ford Focus is more fun and a VW Golf slightly more comfortable – but the Scala’s uncommunicative though precise steering, decent grip and solid body control all inspire plenty of confidence, but no raised pulse.
As for engines, the 1.5-litre 150hp petrol is smooth and quick but pushes up the price a little too far. The 95hp 1.0-litre petrol is certainly cheap to buy and run but is quite lackadaisical in the way it performs. As such, the engine to go for is the 110hp 1.0-litre petrol, which offers the best blend of performance, economy and smoothness.
And between Skoda’s six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearbox options, it’s best to stick to the cheaper manual. The auto is great when cruising, but costs more and tends to dither when you’re pulling away from junctions and jump around a bit when asked for quick bursts of acceleration.
But those minor points aside, the Skoda Scala is a thoroughly convincing family hatch. Keep your engine and trim choices sensible and it also undercuts all its rivals on price.
The Skoda Scala has a RRP range of £18,735 to £28,415. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,616. Prices start at £17,485 if paying cash. The price of a used Skoda Scala on carwow starts at £11,053.
Our most popular versions of the Skoda Scala are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.0 TSI 95 SE 5dr||£19,406||Compare offers|
Whichever model you choose, the Scala is good value compared with other hatchbacks offering similar space. If you’re keeping a close eye on what you spend, there’s no need to go beyond SE spec which is well equipped as standard. Spending more for SE L spec adds some luxury and tech, but it’s certainly not essential. Likewise the Monte Carlo looks more sporty inside and out, but you’re not missing out if you stay with the entry-level SE.
Engine-wise, although the 95hp 1.0-litre is cheapest we’d pay the modest premium for the punchier 110hp version. It’s better value and more fuel-efficient than the 150hp 1.5.
The Skoda Scala’s good grip and predictable steering inspire plenty of confidence but it isn’t at all entertaining. For more fun and the best comfort, look elsewhere
There are three engine choices when buying a Skoda Scala. They’re all fine for town driving, although we certainly have a favourite.
The 1.5-litre 150hp petrol is smooth and quick but pushes up the price a little too far. The 95hp 1.0-litre petrol is certainly cheap to buy and run but is quite lethargic. It’s okay for urban driving if you’re not in a hurry, though.
As such, the engine to go for is the 110hp 1.0-litre petrol, which offers the best blend of performance, economy and smoothness.
Standard suspension is the way to go for comfort around town. The optional sportier adaptive set up isn’t really worth the money for city-based driving. SE cars have smaller alloy wheels than the other models, and are just a little more settled over bumpy roads.
Both a Focus and Golf are slightly more comfortable over lumps and bumps in town, but the margins aren’t huge.
All-round visibility is generally good, with slim pillars at the front of the car. The thicker rear pillars do get in the way a little when you look over your shoulder, though.
One thing worth noting is that you don’t get rear parking sensors with the entry S trim level, while they are standard on the SE, Se L and Monte Carol models. They are an option, while front sensors are optional on all trims, as is a rear camera.
On the motorway
The 95hp engine is a bit sluggish at motorway speeds, so it’s worth choosing the more powerful 110hp engine if you are expecting to cover a lot of miles.
The 150hp is punchier, and you can make a case for it if you want strong performance. Even so, we’d stick with the 110hp engine as it’s certainly not out of its depth covering motorway miles. The Scala manages to keep most wind and road noise outside at a cruise on the motorway.
Whichever engine you choose, the Scala manages to keep most wind and road noise outside at a cruise. Although that cruise won’t be using cruise control on the entry S trim unless you tick the options box, while the basic cruise is standard on the rest of the range, with adaptive as an optional extra.
Skoda offers its Lane Change Assist feature as a reasonably cheap option; it uses a camera to read the lane you’re in and will steer you back into that lane if you stray out of it, and blind spot and high-beam tech are also optional on all but the base car.
On a twisty road
The Scala’s sensible nature is obvious when the road goes twisty, where a Ford Focus is more fun and a VW Golf slightly more comfortable, the Scala will take you down a country road sensibly enough, but without any danger of a raised pulse.
Lower sports suspension can be added as an option on the SE L and Monte Carlo, giving you the choice of firmer or softer settings, but given the standard suspension is comfy enough and the Scala’s vanilla driving experience, you’re best off saving your cash.
The Skoda Scala has loads of room for four adults and a boot that’ll easily swallow a family’s luggage for a week away, but there’s a big difference in specifications and the entry car is best avoided
Everybody will be happy on board a Scala. The driver gets a generous amount of manual seat and wheel adjustment as standard (electric adjustment can be added as an option) while head- and legroom around the front seats is also plentiful. Tall and short drivers alike should be able to find a sound and comfy driving position.
If you choose the SE, then the car comes with conventional dials. The two higher-spec cars have a Virtual Cockpit, replacing the dials with a configurable digital screen. It looks great and being able to tweak the information on show is genuinely useful. The digital display is an option on the entry-level car, and we’d be very tempted to upgrade.
You'll find that the air-con controls are separate from the touchscreen, which is a good call. Physical buttons are a lot easier to use than a touchscreen menu when you’re trying to concentrate on driving.
Skoda is all about practical touches and that’s absolutely true in the Scala. In fact, Skoda’s so proud of the Scala’s versatility that it even lists exactly how many litres of storage space you’ll find inside – 26 litres.
That starts with the generous glovebox, then there’s the two front door bins that’ll take a 1.5-litre bottle of water.
Space in the back seats
Space in the front is plentiful, but if anything the back of the Scala’s cabin is even more impressive. Three adults can sit side-by-side in relative comfort, but two will have loads of room to stay comfortable on long journeys. The panoramic glass sunroof fitted to Monte Carlo models does steal a little headroom, though.
There’s a small hump in the middle of the floor, but it doesn’t get in the way too much. Air vents between the front seats keep rear-seat passengers at a pleasant temperature.
Storage hasn’t been forgotten, with map pockets on the back of the front seats and rear door bins which will easily take 500ml bottles.
At 467 litres, the Skoda Scala’s boot dwarfs its alternatives’ efforts. Indeed, that’s way bigger than the boot of a Golf (380 litres) or Focus (358 litres), although strictly speaking Skoda’s own Octavia’s boot is even bigger again at a monster 600 litres.
But it isn’t just big – it also has a low load lip, great access and loads of Skoda’s traditional ‘Simply Clever’ touches such an adjustable boot floor, nets, hooks and a 12v socket. And, if you need more room, the rear seats split 60:40 and fold almost flat. With the seats lowered, luggage space increases to 1410 litres. Again, you’ll struggle to find a hatchback of similar size and price that matches that kind of boot room.
The Skoda Scala has infotainment systems that are all extremely easy to use, even if it’s all a little bland
The Skoda Scala is sensible rather than stylish inside, albeit with enough quality and solidity to rival a Skoda Octavia – which sits above it in terms of size and price in Skoda’s range.
There are soft-touch plastics on the Scala’s dashboard and doors, piano black and chrome accents and switches that feel substantial to use. It’s not quite VW Golf-good, but it easily rivals a Ford Focus or Kia Ceed.
The standard cloth seats don’t look too dowdy, but upgrading them to leather, unsurprisingly, lifts the feel of quality even further. There’s a choice of different trim inserts for the dashboard and doors, too, although some are more tasteful than others.
Entry-level SE cars have an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen. It sits atop the dashboard so you don’t need to crane your neck to see it. Plus, its logical menus with shortcut buttons and bright, crisp graphics are impressive.
Then there’s an even larger 9.2-inch screen on SE L and Monte Carlo models with built-in sat nav and Virtual Cockpit digital dials, but there’s nothing wrong with the basic system.
Indeed, the SE comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so having built-in sat nav isn’t a necessity, although it’s worth adding those digital dials as an option to SE trim if you can stretch to it – they look superb, are really easy to read and lift the cabin even further.
An eight-speaker stereo is standard, even on the SE model. Web radio is standard on the two higher-spec models.
All Skoda Scalas are connected to the internet at all times, so can relay info such as weather and traffic reports. You can also download a smartphone app and control various functions remotely, such as locking and unlocking, as well as monitor the car’s fuel levels.
There are no hybrid models in the Scala range, so there’s no version with headline-grabbing fuel efficiency and low emissions.
However, for a conventional petrol-powered hatchback the Skoda has competitive economy figures.
The 95hp and 110hp 1.0-litre engines have very similar fuel efficiency. SE-spec models return 54.2mpg if you choose the 95hp engine, dropping by fractions of a mile per gallon with the 110hp petrol.
Manual cars have the best fuel figures. The DSG auto models are a little thirstier, although we’re only talking about 3mpg or so.
Considering the 150hp 1.5-litre engine’s extra performance, there’s not a huge penalty to pay at the pumps. SE-spec cars officially return up to 50.4mpg.
Carbon dioxide emissions range from a minimum of 118g/km to a maximum of 136g/km.
The first year’s Vehicle Excise duty varies depending on emissions. From then on, the tax rate is identical for all models in the range (at the time of writing, it’s £180).
Even the highest spec Scala costs less than £40,000, so there’s no need to worry about the annual Vehicle Excise Duty surcharge for cars costing more than this figure.
If you’re a company car driver, the lack of a tax-busting plug-in hybrid with very low emissions counts against the Scala.
The safety experts at Euro NCAP tested the Scala in 2019 and awarded the maximum five-star rating. It scored 97% for adult occupant protection, 87% for child occupants, 81% for vulnerable road users and 76% for its safety assistance technologies. That’s a strong set of scores which can stand comparison with similar family hatchbacks.
Every model comes with Front Assist, which is Skoda’s name for its autonomous emergency braking system. An emergency call system is also standard.
Optional safety equipment includes a driver’s knee airbag, a driver fatigue sensor, and rear side airbags.
All Skoda Scala models come with an alarm.
As a brand, Skoda usually performs well in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys. There’s no sign of the Scala doing anything to undermine that reputation.
It’s been around long enough for any teething troubles to have been ironed out, and the mechanical parts are generally well proven.
Any fault should be covered under the three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, although if you buy a Hyundai, Kia or Toyota the cover will last a few years longer.