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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.

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wowscore
8/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Keenly priced
  • Great space
  • High levels of equipment

What's not so good

  • Alternatives more fun to drive
  • 95hp engine is a bit slow
  • Hesitant automatic gearbox

Skoda Scala: what would you like to read next?

Is the Skoda Scala a good car?

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 and keen pricing.

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 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.

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.

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 that 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
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.

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.

Nevertheless, why don’t you check out our deals pages to see just how low that price will go?

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
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.

What's it like to drive?

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.

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. As 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 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; 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. 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 in the way it drives. 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 has infotainment systems that are all extremely easy to use, even if it’s all a little bland.

Skoda Scala colours

Solid - Energy blue
Free
Metallic - Brilliant silver
From £595
Metallic - Moon white
From £595
Metallic - Quartz grey
From £595
Metallic - Race blue
From £595
Metallic - Titan blue
From £595
Pearl - Black magic
From £595
Special paint - Candy white
From £595
Special paint - Meteor grey
From £595
Exclusive paint - Velvet red
From £975
Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used Skoda Scala at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £17,270 - £25,950 Avg. carwow saving £3,057 off RRP
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