In-depth Reviews

Skoda Scala hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Not particularly exciting, but the Scala is reasonably good to drive

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Used car deals
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

If you have a real passion for driving, the Skoda Scala’s driving experience and performance may not excite you. You might want to overlook it for a car with more precise handling, such as the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon or Honda Civic. However, that shouldn’t mean the Scala should be dismissed entirely; we expect that most people will enjoy its composed drive and its accurate steering, despite a relative lack of feel.

The six-speed manual gearbox is pleasant to use, with slick changes and a short-ish action. You won’t find it an effort or a chore to change gear, but a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox is also available for extra cost. We didn’t find it to be as impressive as the same gearbox in the Volkswagen Golf, perhaps suggesting it has been configured differently. Unless you need an automatic, we’d recommend sticking with the manual gearbox.

While the Scala won’t necessarily provide excitement, everything works as it should and the driving experience feels mature and secure. It’s certainly not the worst-driving hatchback, by any stretch of the imagination, and will be fine for most buyers.

Skoda Scala petrol engines

Two petrol engines are available for the Scala, and they’re expected to account for the majority of sales. The entry-level three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 94bhp and a more powerful version produces 113bhp. There’s also a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 148bhp that manages 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, while the 113bhp version of the 1.0-litre manages the sprint in a reasonable 9.8 seconds. This is our favourite Scala engine for now, feeling plenty quick enough in the middle of the rev range.

The 94bhp entry-level turbocharged 1.0-litre engine is the only unit available with a five-speed manual gearbox. With only 94bhp, it records the slowest 0-62mph time of the range taking 10.9 seconds. All other petrol engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

Diesel engines

There’s just one diesel engine available, and it’s also been used extensively throughout the VW Group range. It’s a 1.6-litre with 113bhp, and buyers are likely to be high-mileage drivers who need the slightly better fuel economy. You’ll notice the diesel engine far more than the petrol engines from inside the car, as it’s louder and slightly more harsh. While the sound isn’t overbearing, it could get tiresome over long journeys. We’d recommend the petrol engines to most buyers.

Hybrid engines

No hybrid model is available from launch, but Skoda is aiming to electrify most of its line-up in the next few years. We’ve heard that a faster vRS model is in the pipeline, and this is highly likely to use a petrol engine and an electric motor - boosting both performance and efficiency.

Most Popular

Updated Peugeot 5008 starts at £29,585
Peugeot 5008 SUV
9 Oct 2020

Updated Peugeot 5008 starts at £29,585

Cupra Formentor SUV review
Cupra Formentor SUV front 3/4 cornering
Cupra Formentor
13 Oct 2020

Cupra Formentor SUV review

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k
Volkswagen ID.3 - front 3/4 view - 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
Volkswagen ID.3
14 Oct 2020

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k