Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Skoda Scala review – a practical hatchback at a supermini price

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

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£22,105 - £30,455

Pros

  • Practical
  • Well-equipped
  • Good value

Cons

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

Verdict - Is the Skoda Scala a good car?

In a market increasingly obsessed with SUVs and electrification, it would be easy to overlook the Skoda Scala. It is, after all, little more than a five-door hatchback powered by a range of petrol engines (the diesel version was axed in 2020). But the Scala adds up to far more than the sum of its parts. For a start, it’s one of the most practical cars in its class, with a huge boot and space for five adults. It’s also comfortable, quiet and much better value than the Volkswagen Golf. It’s not exciting or remotely fun to drive, but if you’re after a winning combination of space, practicality and low running costs, the Scala is hard to beat.

Skoda Scala models, specs and alternatives

The Skoda Scala arrived in 2019 as a replacement for the forgettable Rapid. It’s a small hatchback sitting between the Fabia supermini and Octavia in the Czech company’s family car range. Don’t let the ‘small’ tag fool you, though, because the Scala offers the space and practicality of a Volkswagen Golf for the price of a Polo. It’s a welcome alternative to the glut of SUVs we’ve seen in recent years.

The Scala is essentially a stretched version of the Fabia hatchback, itself based on the current Volkswagen Polo, which helps keep the price down. The Scala is a tad longer than a Volkswagen Golf, but offers a much bigger boot, which is really its biggest selling point – at 467 litres, it’s almost 90 litres larger with the seats up, or 140 litres larger with them folded down.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Skoda has given the Scala much bolder styling than its spiritual predecessor, the Rapid, with pointed headlights, a wide grille and rear lights stretching across the tailgate to differentiate it further from the Fabia on which it’s based. The Scala was facelifted towards the end of 2023 with subtly updated styling that gives it a slightly sportier look, with new thinner headlights, a revised octagonal front grille and redesigned front and rear bumpers. Upgrades also include the option of matrix LED headlights and improved interior tech such as a larger infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard.

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. Prices start from around £22,000 for a 1.0 TSI SE, while sporty top-spec Monte Carlo models with the same engine cost just under £28,000 (or around £30,000 for the 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine with a DSG automatic gearbox). Few new cars offer better value for money.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Despite the competitive pricing, no Scala is sparsely equipped. The range kicks off with SE trim, featuring 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an eight-inch digital instrument cluster with traffic sign recognition, 8.25-inch infotainment system, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and go, cruise control, lane assist and lots more kit that you wouldn’t expect at this price point.

SE L trim is just under £2,000 more and offers larger alloys and a larger 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster and 9.2-inch infotainment screen with sat nav, and is likely to be a popular choice with buyers. If you think the Scala looks a little dowdy, then there’s even a Monte Carlo trim that brings a host of sporty styling upgrades to give it a bit more presence.

The engine range is shared with 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 114bhp version of the 1.0-litre and a punchier 1.5-litre engine with 148bhp. Although originally launched with a diesel engine, this was discontinued in 2020. 

As you might expect given the lower price, the Scala’s interior isn’t as plush as the VW Golf’s – the facelift in 2023 did improve the interior slightly and it does feel well built, but there are still some cheap scratchy plastics on the doors and centre console.

While it might feature some lower-quality fixtures and fittings, the Scala makes up for it by offering plenty of space for four six-footers. Skoda has added to the appeal of the Scala 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.

Trim levels

Power options

  • SE
  • SE L
  • Monte Carlo
  • 1.0 TSI 94bhp
  • 1.0 TSI 114bhp
  • 1.5 TSI 148bhp

Skoda Scala alternatives

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.

Family hatchbacks

 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI 95 SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,105

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 TSI 95 SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,105

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £24,380

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

The best family cars 2024
The top 10 best family cars
Best cars
19 Jul 2024

The best family cars 2024

Kia Sorento review – a great SUV now made even better
2024 Kia Sorento UK drive
In-depth reviews
19 Jul 2024

Kia Sorento review – a great SUV now made even better

Kia Picanto review – facelifted city car with lots to offer
Kia Picanto facelift review
In-depth reviews
19 Jul 2024

Kia Picanto review – facelifted city car with lots to offer

Tesla Model Y review – clever tech and practical, top charging access
Best Company Car: Tesla Model Y
In-depth reviews
18 Jul 2024

Tesla Model Y review – clever tech and practical, top charging access

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
19 Jul 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

EU introduces new tyre rules potentially saving consumers £5.9 billion a year
Michelin tyres
News
19 Jul 2024

EU introduces new tyre rules potentially saving consumers £5.9 billion a year

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5: updated EV is now even cheaper
Hyundai Ioniq 5 2024 front quarter
News
18 Jul 2024

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5: updated EV is now even cheaper

More on Scala

Facelifted Skoda Scala hits the UK with budget-friendly starting price
2024 Skoda Scala front quarter
News
25 Jan 2024

Facelifted Skoda Scala hits the UK with budget-friendly starting price

The small hatchback receives a facelift for 2024, bringing new looks and tech at an affordable price
Top 10 best new cars under £20,000
Best new cars under £20k
Best cars
20 Sep 2023

Top 10 best new cars under £20,000

With a budget of up to £20,000 you can get into some of the most impressive small cars on the market
Skoda Scala SE Technology gets extra petrol engines
News
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
News
29 Jan 2020

New SEAT Leon vs Skoda Scala & Volkswagen Golf: specs

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
News
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
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

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
17 May 2022

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
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

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

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024