Skoda’s family hatch offers a class-leading combination of space, quality, comfort and value

The Skoda Scala is our favourite family hatchback. It’s one of the most practical cars in its class, with a huge boot at lots of passenger space, and gives the Volkswagen Golf a run for its money when it comes to ride, handling and build quality. It’s almost as good to drive as a Golf too, making great use of the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform. Standard equipment is good across the range, with impressive infotainment and the option of digital dials on higher-spec models.

Value is what impresses most with the Scala, though – all of this ability comes at a price that undercuts every version of the Golf and matches most of its nearest rivals. It’s hard to recommend the Volkswagen Golf over the Skoda Scala unless you really want a little extra quality, polish and prestige; the Scala is so good it’s more than just a viable alternative.

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Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI 115 SE manual

The Skoda Scala joined the Czech manufacturer’s range in 2019, sitting alongside the slightly larger Octavia in the hotly contested family car market as a more direct rival for the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, among others.

While the Skoda Octavia features a saloon-like body (albeit with a large hatchback), the Scala takes a more practical shape that allows for lots of boot and passenger space.

There are two trim levels to choose from for now, with a choice of four powertrains. All engines are familiar Volkswagen Group units: a 1.0-litre TSI with 115PS (113bhp) and a six-speed manual gearbox, a 150PS (148bhp) 1.5-litre TSI petrol with a DSG automatic and a 1.6-litre TDI diesel with a choice of either gearbox option.

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SE trim is the entry point to the range and comes well equipped. 16-inch alloys, an eight-inch infotainment system, cruise control and rear parking sensors are all standard, along with an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

A small but tried-and-tested engine range meets confident handling and a plush ride
The lightweight Skoda Scala is an efficient car that won’t cost the earth to run, regardless of engine choice
It’s not the most exciting car to look at or travel in, but practicality and quality have been given top priority
The Scala upholds Skoda’s reputation for practicality, with a huge boot and lots of room for occupants
Skoda’s reputation for reliability bodes well and there’s lots of standard safety kit

SE L spec adds more goodies, including 17-inch alloys, front cornering lights, LED rear lights with animated indicators, extra interior chrome trim, climate control, a colour trip computer, keyless entry and go, a rear centre armrest and an uprated 9.2-inch infotainment system with sat nav and online services. Skoda’s virtual cockpit digital dials are also included.

Whichever trim level you choose, value for money is impressive versus the Scala’s nearest rivals, not least more expensive options like the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda 3 and Kia Ceed. Besides its Octavia sibling, the closest rival in terms of practicality versus cost is probably the Peugeot 308, a car that can’t quite match the rest of the Scala’s excellent skillset.

Last updated: 
5 Jul, 2019