Skoda Scala (2019) Review

Skoda Scala (2019) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Skoda Scala does exactly what Skoda does best: gives buyers as much car as possible for as little cash as possible.

+Comfortable and secure on the road, roomy cabin and a big boot, more affordable than most of the competition.

-Unexciting to drive, lots of road and wind noise on the motorway, interior feels rather low on quality, some items of standard kit are missing, very basic infotainment on entry-level car.

New prices start from £16,370, brokers can source from £13,386
Insurance Groups are between 10–14
On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure

The Scala is one of the roomiest cars in the class, and also one of the most affordable. You might have to forgive a few iffy interior plastics, and forego some items of luxury kit, but the Scala is a really well-rounded performer in every other area. There is no shortage of excellent competition in the affordable family hatch sector - examples including the Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus, but the Scala offers buyers something rather different in terms of value.

Skoda is already represented in the compact family hatchback market by the excellent Octavia, so why introduce the Scala as well?

Well, this isn’t a car that’s trying to be a carbon-copy of its outstanding elder sibling. It has its own character, and it’s designed to offer something different. While the Octavia is - and continues to be - popular for providing limousine space for hatchback money, along with loads of luxury kit and a posh-feeling cabin, the Scala caters for different buyers.

Not everyone needs as much space as the Octavia provides, and not everyone cares as much about quality and kit as they do about the pricetag. With that in mind, the Scala is a smaller, more budget-focused offering to satisfy those people who might otherwise be drawn to a Kia Ceed or Vauxhall Astra.

Of course, when we say ‘smaller’, everything is relative. The Octavia is huge inside by class standards, and so the smaller Scala is still one of the roomiest cars in the class, both in the passenger compartment and in the boot.

Yes, you will see evidence of cost-cutting in a few other areas: the interior is trimmed with fairly dull-looking grey plastics, and while lots of equipment is offered, not all that much of it is standard. Still, what do you expect when the pricetag undercuts that of pretty much every rival?

Importantly, you won’t detect any signs of cost-cutting on the road. The Scala is an impressively comfortable and easy-going car to drive, with a comfortable ride, controlled handling and perky and efficient engines.

You’ll also enjoy the fantastic all-round visibility it gives you, the user-friendly nature of all the various controls and the peace-of-mind you get from its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. In fact, quality and kit list aside, the Scala is an exceptionally good all-rounder. And all for a bargain-basement price. If you like the finer things in life, it might not be for you, but when you stand to save thousands, surely it’s worth a look, right?


Ask Honest John

Should a car with start-stop still be put into neutral when stopped?
"I test drove a Skoda Scala 1.0 DSG and noticed the car switched off the engine at the lights with the car still in Drive because of start-stop. Does this mean that you do not have to put the gear selector in neutral when stopped?"
This is perfect normal for this model of vehicle. However, if stopped at lights or heavy traffic, I recommend putting it in N and applying the handbrake to avoid blinding the driver behind with the vehicle's brake lights.
Answered by Dan Powell
What small/medium size cars come with heated seats and a heated steering wheel?
"What small/medium size cars come with heated seats, screens, and steering wheels either as standard or as extra winter packs? My daughter suffers from a mobility condition and needs to be kept warm. Does Kia offer such a pack?"
Kia doesn't offer packs like this, but its models are generally well-equipped. The Ceed comes with heated seats and a heated steering wheel on GT-Line trim as standard. Consider a Skoda Scala - that's available with a Winter Pack, including heated seats and washer nozzles, while a heated steering wheel can be fitted as an optional extra. Also look at the Ford Focus. A heated windscreen is standard across the range, while a heated steering wheel and seats are available on higher-spec models.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Skoda Scala (2019) cost?

Buy new from £13,386 (list price from £17,265)