In-depth reviews

Skoda Scala hatchback review

“The Skoda Scala is more practical and less expensive than the similarly sized Volkswagen Golf”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Price
£16,740 - £25,380

Pros

  • Practical
  • Well-equipped
  • Keenly priced

Cons

  • No diesel option
  • Rivals better to drive
  • Average warranty

The Skoda Scala is the Czech company’s replacement for the forgettable Skoda Rapid, slotting into the range between the Skoda Fabia supermini and the larger Skoda Octavia hatchback. With SUV sales booming, the Scala shows that Skoda still views the conventional family hatchback market section of the market as important.

The Scala goes up against a broad range of rivals, including the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and the SEAT Leon. Its price means that it’s also an alternative to the Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3, plus smaller models like the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza.

Few, if any, other car companies sell so many different hatchbacks but Skoda has realised that some customers find the VW Golf-based Octavia too large, and that it’s not as easy to park as the Golf, which is where the Scala fits in. It’s made more attractive because of a lower price and similar specifications to some of its more expensive rivals.

The Scala doesn’t use the Golf’s platform; instead, it sits on a stretched version of the underpinnings of the less expensive Polo and Fabia, which helps keep the price down. The Scala is a tad longer than the Golf, but offers a much bigger boot - at 467 litres, it’s almost 90 litres larger with the seats up, or 140 litres larger with them folded down.

Skoda has given the Scala much bolder styling than the Rapid. The front end features a wide grille and pointy headlights - which are LED units even on the entry-level model - and, in the side profile, there’s a nice chrome kink that follows the windowline. At the rear, the tail-lights spread across the width of the tailgate, and the top half can be a full glass panel if you wish.

Despite the competitive pricing, no Scala is sparsely equipped. The range kicks off with the S trim, which features all-round electric windows, air conditioning, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with DAB radio and Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights. Step up to SE, which is likely to be the most popular spec, and Skoda will add cruise control, rear parking sensors and a larger eight-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

SE L adds a few extra luxuries like larger alloys, tinted rear windows, digital dials and full LED tail lights. A sporty-looking Monte Carlo trim now sits at the top of the range, with black exterior trim, red interior detailing, the odd bit of leather upholstery and a panoramic glass sunroof.

The engine range is familiar from other VW Group cars. Three petrols are available, starting with an entry-level 94bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. Above that, there’s a 108bhp version of the 1.0-litre and a punchier 1.5-litre engine with 148bhp. In late 2020, the diesel version of the Scala was discontinued.

As you might expect given the lower price, the Scala’s interior isn’t as plush as the VW Golf’s but it makes up for that by offering plenty of space for four six-footers. Plus, Skoda has topped the Scala up with all the thoughtful touches of the Octavia - there’s an ice-scraper with an integrated tyre gauge stowed away in the fuel filler cap, a parking ticket holder on the windscreen, and an umbrella in the doors (on higher-spec models), while the screenwash reservoir has a built-in funnel so you don’t slosh fluid all over the engine bay.

Like Skoda’s other cars, it’s clear that the Scala has been meticulously thought out. It’s an affordable all-rounder that is likely to appeal, even in a highly competitive class. It's less sophisticated than the Octavia - owing to the cars’ different platforms and the Octavia’s nicer interior - so anyone weighing up both models could find the bigger car is worth the extra money.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI 95 S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £16,740

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 TSI 95 S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £16,740

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,130

Recommended

Ford Focus hatchback review
Ford Focus hatchback
Ford Focus
27 Sep 2021

Ford Focus hatchback review

BMW Z4 roadster review
BMW Z4 Roadster
BMW Z4
27 Sep 2021

BMW Z4 roadster review

Vauxhall Grandland X SUV review
Vauxhall Grandland X SUV
Vauxhall Grandland X
24 Sep 2021

Vauxhall Grandland X SUV review

Audi Q3 SUV review
Audi Q3 SUV
Audi Q3
24 Sep 2021

Audi Q3 SUV review

Most Popular

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year
2022 Citroen Ami
Citroen Ami
21 Sep 2021

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year

Top 10 best small estates 2021
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
22 Sep 2021

Top 10 best small estates 2021

Genesis G70 saloon review
 Genesis G70 saloon
Genesis G70 saloon
24 Sep 2021

Genesis G70 saloon review

More on Scala

Skoda Scala SE Technology gets extra petrol engines
Skoda Scala
26 Nov 2020

Skoda Scala SE Technology gets extra petrol engines

Business-focused Scala SE Technology offers lots of equipment and good value for money
New SEAT Leon vs Skoda Scala & Volkswagen Golf: specs comparison
SEAT
29 Jan 2020

New SEAT Leon vs Skoda Scala & Volkswagen Golf: specs comparison

How does the 2020 SEAT Leon compare to the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf and our favourite family hatchback, the Skoda Scala?
2020 Skoda Scala Monte Carlo on sale now
Skoda Scala
29 Jan 2020

2020 Skoda Scala Monte Carlo on sale now

Skoda Scala Monte Carlo will be sportiest-looking model in range

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks