Skoda Scala hatchback - Interior & comfort
Good quality materials and a slick touchscreen impress
The cabin is one of the most appealing aspects of the Scala. All models offer an infotainment screen, but high-spec models offer a super crisp Amundsen touchscreen. Skoda has sensibly decided to keep buttons for the touchscreen shortcuts and the climate controls, so you don’t have to navigate through menus just to change the temperature, like you need to in a Citroen C4 Cactus.
Overall, the interior isn’t quite as plush as a Volkswagen Golf, but its lower price means you don’t feel short-changed and it also rides well. In fact, despite a more basic suspension setup than the Golf, 16-inch wheels with high-profile tyres ensure it feels equally as comfortable, even if it isn't quite as refined. Meanwhile, interior quality is markedly better than the outgoing Rapid because Skoda has placed cheaper materials lower down, so you don’t notice them as much. The main touchpoints, like the door armrests, are made of a more luxurious soft-touch material.
Skoda Scala dashboard
The Scala’s dashboard is also a real step up over the Rapid’s slightly bland interior. There’s a lovely strip of trim that spans the whole width of the dashboard, and in our test car it was finished in a light brushed metal effect. The ‘floating’ touchscreen gives the interior a more modern look, and all the controls are exactly where you want them. They’re instantly familiar if you’ve ever sat in another VW Group car and all operate with a satisfying solidness.
When the Scala was launched, the 9.2-inch touchscreen fitted to more expensive models was one of the largest available in the family hatchback class - although now Volkswagen and SEAT offer 10-inch units.
In terms of equipment, the Scala performs strongly. Choosing the entry-level S model doesn't leave you bereft of kit because you’ll still enjoy a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, air conditioning and electric windows, plus alloy wheels and LED headlights. SE, likely to be the most popular model, offers extras like cruise control, rear parking sensors and an eight-inch screen with smartphone mirroring.
Upgrade to the SE L spec and Skoda will include front parking sensors, a rear-view camera, rear privacy glass, two-zone climate control, larger alloys and a digital instrument cluster. In 2020, Skoda added a sporty-looking Monte Carlo trim, along the same lines of SEAT’s FR or Ford’s ST-Line models. There’s lots of black exterior trim, a few red accents inside and a smart exterior styling pack (including a panoramic sunroof and the extended tailgate glass), which is a £1,500 option on other trims.
There's a wide range of colours and alloy wheels to choose from, plus a selection of Skoda lifestyle accessories like roof racks, a reversible boot floor and pet guards. Wireless phone charging and a panoramic sunroof are options, and you can choose the virtual cockpit on SE models for an additional cost. Extra safety kit, like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, are also available in the options list.
Skoda’s latest model does fairly well on the tech front. Its digital dashboard wasn’t even an option in the outgoing Octavia, and the mid-range screen is the same size as the largest available in the bigger car - although the new Octavia does follow the Scala’s lead with bigger screens and a Virtual Cockpit. SE models and above get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, so you can use your phone’s apps for music and navigation if you wish.
It does quite well in terms of safety technology, offering now essential items like auto emergency braking, pedestrian airbags and automatic connection to the emergency services in the event of an accident.