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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

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

While the Skoda Scala isn’t the most involving and fun-to-drive car, it does offer a particularly comfortable ride and its quiet cabin makes it a great car to drive on the motorway, especially with the 1.5-litre engine. The Scala doesn’t offer the most precise handling or much feedback through the steering, though – for that, you’d be best served by a Ford Focus or the SEAT Leon. That said, it offers a great balance thanks to its composed drive, so it’s perfectly suitable for most drivers.

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We drove the 114bhp 1.0-litre model with a six-speed manual gearbox and found it offered plenty of grunt low down in the rev range. This, combined with its light clutch means it’s relatively easy to drive in stop-start traffic, and while the DSG automatic model means you can rest your left foot, we found it slightly jerky in low-speed stop-start conditions. Unless you really want or have to get an automatic, we’d recommend sticking with the manual option.

Diesel models

At launch, the Scala was available with a 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 113bhp. It offered reasonable acceleration, although sounded a little gruff, and was at its best on the motorway. This engine was discontinued in late 2020.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Scala 1.6 TDI 113bhp

113bhp

10.1s

125mph

Petrol models

Two petrol engines are available for the Scala. The entry-level three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged engine is available in two power outputs, producing either 94bhp or 114bhp. The 94bhp model is only available with a five-speed gearbox, taking 10.8 seconds to get from 0 to 62mph. The more powerful 114bhp version of the 1.0-litre delivers the sprint in a reasonable 9.5 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox (10.1 seconds with the DSG automatic). This is our favourite Scala engine, feeling plenty quick enough in the middle of the rev range. 

There’s also a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that manages 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds in manual or automatic guise. With 148bhp, the range-topper is certainly fast enough, pulling well from very low down in the rev range, yet also remaining smooth if it's exercised more vigorously. It's also virtually impossible to tell when the cylinder deactivation is functioning because the transition is seamless.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Scala 1.0 TSI 94bhp

94bhp

10.8s

119mph

Scala 1.0 TSI 114bhp

114bhp

9.5s

125mph

Scala 1.5 TSI 148bhp

148bhp

8.2s

137mph

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £17,225

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 TSI S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £17,225

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £24,205

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.

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