We expected more from the Skoda Scala. The 5-door hatchback checks off many, if not all, of the requirements that consumers expect from an affordable family car. We even go so far as to call it, with a wink, the best affordable family car in the world. Yet you don't come across the Skoda Scala very often. Will a facelift help him recover?
What is striking about the Skoda Scala (2024)?
The Skoda Scala was the second least popular last year with 1299 registrations Skoda from The Netherlands. Only the Skoda Superb could count on even less interest. But it is much larger and more expensive. Moreover, Skoda had already announced the successor to the Superb.
The Skoda Scala is not yet being replaced. A facelift should bring it back into the spotlight. Incidentally, the Scala sells a lot better elsewhere in Europe, especially east of the former Iron Curtain. Here and there it is even the best-selling car in its class.
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If you place the previous Scala next to the new one, a number of things stand out. The grille has a refreshed design, as do the bumpers. The fog lights are now LEDs and the headlights and taillights are also equipped with this light technology. You really make a splash with the optional LED matrix headlights (standard on the Monte Carlo). This means you can actually always drive with high beam. The car itself ensures that other road users are not dazzled.
What is new is that every Scala will now be equipped with digital instruments, including the basic version. You can tailor it to your own taste. But fortunately not everything is digital. You activate the lighting with an old-fashioned large rotary button to the left of the steering wheel. You never go wrong. The larger 8.25-inch central screen is now also always standard. The new digital instruments look good and the central screen is quick and easy to operate.
What is good about the Skoda Scala?
The Scala is perhaps the most Skoda of all Skoda models. Affordable, spacious inside, a large luggage compartment (467-1410 litres) and equipment that leaves you wanting for nothing. Adults sit excellently on the back seat with plenty of knee and head room. And thanks to the large door opening, you can get in and out comfortably.
The luggage compartment is neatly finished and has a double loading floor. It is easily accessible due to the large opening and the low lifting threshold, especially compared to a higher SUV. Thanks to the large size of the third side window, you have a good view diagonally to the rear. A blind spot warning system is available, but is part of an option package with adaptive cruise control and costs 1490 euros.
The chassis of the Scala is primarily designed for comfort. We first drove one with 18-inch wheels and then one with 17-inch wheels. We notice a small difference in comfort, which works out in favor of the smaller wheel size. But 18-inch looks better. It just depends on what you prefer.
The driving characteristics are all-round and match what most consumers like. Comfortable without being too softly cushioned. You steer with sufficient feeling and the car is nice and stable on the road. What is also striking is how quiet the Scala is. Engine, wind, and tire noise remain neatly in the background. Just a pleasant car to travel with.
In our newsletter you will find more driving impressions of new cars with a petrol engine.
What could be improved about the Skoda Scala?
Only one engine is available. This 1.0 TSI petrol engine has 3 cylinders and 115 hp. That will be sufficient for most people, but for a car that weighs 1274 kg plus occupants it is just about right. Although the engine makes a lively impression and picks up speed from low speeds without any complaints.
Skoda also supplies a version with 95 hp and a 5-speed gearbox, but we would skip that. The 115 hp version has 6 gears, which provides a little more peace of mind on the highway.
The Scala is not fully electric and it is not even a mild hybrid. But the engine is of the latest generation. This means: a small capacity (999 cc), a turbo and modest CO2 emissions (118 g/km). The chance that climate activists will stick to your driveway or puncture the tires of your Scala is, therefore, small.
How much does the Skoda Scala cost?
We first drove the Monte Carlo version with wonderful sports seats that keep you firmly in place and a 7-speed automatic transmission. Then you immediately get the most expensive version, namely from 34,490 euros. That is still cheaper than the basic version of the Volkswagen Golf, which must cost at least 36,990 euros. The Scala Monte Carlo is equipped with the aforementioned LED matrix headlights and also has a panoramic roof and black 17-inch alloy wheels.
As much as we like the Monte Carlo, with such rational cars as the Scala we find it a sport to take the basic version. As mentioned, it has a 5-speed gearbox and 95 hp. The price is 26,490 euros. There are few other C-segmenters for that in the Netherlands. The Dacia Sandero and the Kia Ceed, for example.
Still, we would spend 2000 euros more for the second equipment level and the 115 hp engine. Then you get a 6-speed gearbox, alloy wheels, and climate control instead of manual air conditioning.
What do I think of the Skoda Scala?
I'm surprised you don't see the Skoda Scala on the road more often. Because it comes awfully close to the perfect family car. The Scala is affordable, spacious, drives well, and doesn't look bad. Although the design cannot be called exciting or sexy.
I would like a bit more power, but I can live well with 115 hp. The advantage of less power is less consumption. We easily achieved more than 1 in 16, so the Scala is also economical.