Skoda Scala Review

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, and its diesel engine is noisy

8/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Keenly priced
  • Great space
  • Level of kit

What's not so good

  • Alternatives more fun to drive
  • Noisy diesel
  • Hesitant automatic gearbox

Skoda Scala Review

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, and its diesel engine is noisy

8/10
wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Keenly priced
  • Great space
  • Level of kit

What's not so good

  • Alternatives more fun to drive
  • Noisy diesel
  • Hesitant automatic gearbox
Skoda Scala
RRP £16,940 Avg. carwow saving £3,127 Discover your best deals upfront Build your car

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Review contents

Overall verdict

Before you go and buy that small SUV, it’s well worth taking a moment to consider the Skoda Scala. It’s a five-door family hatchback that replaces Skoda’s old Rapid, but improves quality inside as well as space and tech. However, it remains very keenly priced – enough, in fact, to tempt you away from a Ford Focus, Kia Ceed or Volkswagen Golf.

It’s a far more interesting thing to look at on the outside than the Rapid, too, but inside is where it’s now noticeably more Waitrose than Wilko. 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 cars get a small 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, but it’s worth upgrading to mid-level SE trim for its 8-inch version. It sits atop the dashboard so you don’t need to crane your neck to see it and it’s logical menus with shortcut buttons and bright, crisp graphics are impressive. There is an even larger 9-inch screen on range-topping SE L models with built-in sat-nav and Virtual Cockpit digital dials, but the 8-inch system will be enough for most.

Indeed, the mid-level system also comes 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) 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, but two will have loads of room to stay comfortable on long journeys. Storage space around the cabin is great, too, with no less than 26 litres of cubby space.

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 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.

You can add a system which will accelerate, brake and steer to keep you in your lane. It works well, but it isn’t quite as sophisticated as the best systems on sale

Mat Watson
carwow expert

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 but precise steering, decent grip and solid body control all inspire plenty of confidence, if not a raised pulse. Lower sports suspension can be added as an option, giving you the choice of firmer or softer settings, but given the standard suspension is comfy enough and the Scala’s vanilla drive, you’re best off saving your cash.

Engines-wise, avoid the 115hp 1.6-litre diesel, unless you’re doing lots of miles and want to benefit from its good fuel economy. The 1.5-litre 150hp petrol is much smoother, not to mention quicker, but pushes up the price a little too far. A such, the engine to go for is the 115hp 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. The old Rapid was spartan inside and miserable to drive, but the Scala is hugely improved in every area. Keep your engine and trim choices sensible and it also undercuts all its rivals on price. Nevertheless, why don’t you check out our deals pages to see just how low that price will go?

What's it like inside?

The Skoda Scala is a huge step-up inside versus its predecessor, the Rapid, while its infotainment systems are all easy to use, even if it’s all a little bland.

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

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.

Skoda has remained true to its company ethos with the Scala - provide class-leading space for a keen price.

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
467 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,410 litres

Everybody will be happy onboard 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.

It’s even more impressive in the back, though, where three adults can sit side-by-side in relative comfort, but two will have loads of room to stay comfortable on long journeys.

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, the rear door bins which will take 0.5-litre bottles, a cubby beneath the front armrest, another in front of the gear lever and three cupholders one in the front, two in the rear.

At 467 litres, the Skoda Scala’s boot dwarfs its alternatives’ efforts. Indeed, that’s way bigger than the boot of a Golf or Focus, although strictly speak Skoda’s own Octavia’s boot is even bigger again.

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.

How practical is it?

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.

Skoda has remained true to its company ethos with the Scala - provide class-leading space for a keen price.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Dimensions

Boot (seats up)
467 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,410 litres

Passenger space

Everybody will be happy onboard 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.

It’s even more impressive in the back, though, where three adults can sit side-by-side in relative comfort, but two will have loads of room to stay comfortable on long journeys.

Storage space

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, the rear door bins which will take 0.5-litre bottles, a cubby beneath the front armrest, another in front of the gear lever and three cupholders one in the front, two in the rear.

Boot space

At 467 litres, the Skoda Scala’s boot dwarfs its alternatives’ efforts. Indeed, that’s way bigger than the boot of a Golf or Focus, although strictly speak Skoda’s own Octavia’s boot is even bigger again.

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.

What's it like to drive?

The Skoda Scala won’t set your hair on fire, but its good grip and predictable steering inspire plenty of confidence. For more fun and the best comfort, look elsewhere.

If you want fun, buy a Ford Focus, but if you’re less fussed by that, then the Skoda Scala’s grip and predictability will please you.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

There are four engine choices when buying a Skoda Scala. It’s best to avoid the 115hp 1.6-litre diesel engine, unless you’re doing lots of miles and want to benefit from its good fuel economy. Ultimately, it’s noisy and sends lots of vibration through the pedals and wheels.

The 1.5-litre 150hp petrol is much smoother, not to mention quicker, but pushes up the price a little too far. A such, the engine to go for is the 115hp 1.0-litre petrol, which offers the best blend of performance, economy and smoothness. There’s also a 95hp 1.0-litre petrol, but the price difference is huge and you’ll be glad of the 115hp version’s better performance.

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 tends to dither when pulling away from junctions and jump around a bit when asked for quick bursts of acceleration.

Skoda offers its Lane Change Assist feature as a reasonably cheap option, which via a camera reads the lane you’re in and will steer you back into your lane if you stray out of it. Adaptive cruise control is optional too – together the Scala will accelerate, brake and steer itself down the road as long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel.

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 but precise steering, decent grip and solid body control all inspire plenty of confidence, if not a raised pulse.

Lower sports suspension can be added as an option, 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.

Both a Focus and Golf are slightly more comfortable over lumps and bumps in town, but the margins aren’t huge, while the Scala manages to keep most wind and road noise outside at a cruise on the motorway too.

Read about prices & specifications

What's it like to drive?

The Skoda Scala won’t set your hair on fire, but its good grip and predictable steering inspire plenty of confidence. For more fun and the best comfort, look elsewhere.

If you want fun, buy a Ford Focus, but if you’re less fussed by that, then the Skoda Scala’s grip and predictability will please you.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Performance and Economy

There are four engine choices when buying a Skoda Scala. It’s best to avoid the 115hp 1.6-litre diesel engine, unless you’re doing lots of miles and want to benefit from its good fuel economy. Ultimately, it’s noisy and sends lots of vibration through the pedals and wheels.

The 1.5-litre 150hp petrol is much smoother, not to mention quicker, but pushes up the price a little too far. A such, the engine to go for is the 115hp 1.0-litre petrol, which offers the best blend of performance, economy and smoothness. There’s also a 95hp 1.0-litre petrol, but the price difference is huge and you’ll be glad of the 115hp version’s better performance.

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 tends to dither when pulling away from junctions and jump around a bit when asked for quick bursts of acceleration.

Skoda offers its Lane Change Assist feature as a reasonably cheap option, which via a camera reads the lane you’re in and will steer you back into your lane if you stray out of it. Adaptive cruise control is optional too – together the Scala will accelerate, brake and steer itself down the road as long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Driving

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 but precise steering, decent grip and solid body control all inspire plenty of confidence, if not a raised pulse.

Lower sports suspension can be added as an option, 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.

Both a Focus and Golf are slightly more comfortable over lumps and bumps in town, but the margins aren’t huge, while the Scala manages to keep most wind and road noise outside at a cruise on the motorway too.

What's it like inside?

The Skoda Scala is a huge step-up inside versus its predecessor, the Rapid, while its infotainment systems are all easy to use, even if it’s all a little bland.

Next Read full interior review
Skoda Scala
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