Review: Skoda Scala (2019)


Generously equipped. Easy to drive. Large and comfortable interior. Huge boot.

Unexciting to drive. Lots of road and wind noise on the motorway. Hit and miss cabin quality.

Skoda Scala (2019): At A Glance

The Skoda Scala is an affordable family hatchback that provides decent levels of comfort and space at a price most car buyers can afford. However, while the Scala is practical and generously equipped, it doesn't excel in any particular area and this means it always feels a step or two behind key rivals, like the Ford Focus and Kia Ceed. 

The Scala make a strong case for itself when it comes to value and practicality. Equipment levels are impressively high across the board and entry-level models get LED headlights, a leather steering wheel and a space saver spare as standard. Skoda has packed a huge amount of space into the Scala too, with its 467-litre boot being one of the largest in the compact family car class. 

Ride comfort is generally fine and most versions get 16-inch wheels as standard. However, on rough roads, the Scala has the occasionally tendency to become unsettled as the suspension recoils as it covers pot holes and speed bumps. 

The Scala can't match the Focus or Civic for driver reward, with the overpowered steering and soft-set suspension giving the handling a distinctly vague feel. Refinement is also below par in a few areas, with with the Scala generating lots of wind and road noise on the motorway.

Buyers are given the choice of three engines, made up of two petrols and one diesel with power outputs ranging from 95PS to 150PS. All engines, with the exception of the entry-level 95PS unit, are available with a seven-speed DSG transmission.

Most drivers will opt for the 115PS 1.0-litre TSI petrol, which returns an advertised 49mpg - 44mpg (manual) or 45mpg - 40mpg (automatic). The 1.0 TSI can feel a little breathless when fully laden with four adults (0-62mph takes 10 seconds) but for the most part if feels at home in the Scala with lots of low-gear pull and hished levels of engine noise and vibration. 

Some might argue that Skoda has perhaps played it a little too safe with the Scala, by producing a decent family hatchback that doesn't excel or falter in any particular area. However, with the Focus being better to drive, and the Ceed getting the better warranty deal, the Scala feels a little too short on quality to trouble the best in the compact family class.  

Skoda Scala 1.5 TSI 150 SE L DSG Road Test

What does a Skoda Scala (2019) cost?

List Price from £16,940
Buy new from £13,507
Contract hire from £213.90 per month

Skoda Scala (2019): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4362 mm
Width 1988 mm
Height 1471 mm
Wheelbase 2649 mm

Full specifications

There are not many compact family hatchbacks that match the Scala for space or equipment. All models get alloy wheels, touchscreen infotainment and a leather steering wheel as standard, while the 467-litre boot provides the same sort of practicality you would expect from a much larger vehicle. 

The Scala's everyday usability is aided by the fact the boot opening is large and wide, while the load width spans one metre (990mm) at the widest part of the boot. The 60/40 split rear seats make it easy to maximise the vehicle's 1410 litres, while the load length to the front seats is a useful 1550mm.

The cabin feels well-made and has some nice soft-touch materials on the dashboard and door, but you don't have to look very far to find scratchy and cheap hard plastics. Many buyers will not care about the harsh surfaces that cover the lower parts of the cabin, but the Scala does not have the same premium feel as the larger Octavia. 

Passengers will not complain about a lack of space, however, with the Scala providing excellent levels of head and legroom. The Scala's 73mm of knee room in the rear seats is identical to that of the Octavia. 

Mood lighting and a panoramic glass roof can be added as optional extras, while high-spec SE L models get a rear centre armrest and climate control as standard. All models get two Isofix child seat mounts for the rear seats as standard. 

The Scala loses points when it comes to general refinement, with the exterior of the car generating a lot of wind noise above 50mph. Road noise is also something of an issue, with even the smallest 16-inch wheels creating high levels of road roar.  

Standard Equipment:

S models come with LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, space-saver spare wheel, leather steering wheel, height adjustable driver's seat, speed limiter, electric and heated door mirrors, lane assist, front assist, 6.5-inch colour touchscreen with DAB audio, 60/40 split folding rear seats, front and rear electric windows, manual air con, hill hold control and glovebox with cooling system. 

SE trim adds front fog lights, 8.0 colour touchscreen with Smartlink, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, rear parking sensors, cruise control, auto headlights, auto dimming rear view mirror, leather multifunction steering wheel and front centre arm rest. 

SE L adds 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights with corner function, privacy glass, electric folding door mirrors, LED rear lights, animated indicators, keyless entry, climate control, rear centre arm rest, 9.2-inch colour touchscreen with navigation and virtual cockpit.  

Child seats that fit a Skoda Scala (2019)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Skoda Scala (2019) like to drive?

The Scala is built on the same mechanical platform as the Volkswagen Polo, which means it’s agile at low speeds but predictable and safe at 70mph on the motorway. The suspension and steering is clearly set-up with comfort and practicality in mind, which means the Scala is nowhere near as sharp or as rewarding to drive as the Focus or Civic.

The ride quality is generally fine, with most models running on 16-inch wheels and coping well with A and B roads. That said, the Scala does have a tendency to transfer moderate levels of vibration into the cabin when travelling over harsh surfaces and pot holes.

Engine choices are split between two petrols and single diesel, with outputs ranging from 95PS - 150PS. With the exception of the entry-level 95PS unit (which gets a five-speed manual) most engines are paired to a six-speed manual gearbox with the option of a seven-speed DSG automatic.

Most buyers will opt for the turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0 TSI petrol and this engine is identical to the version found in the Polo and Ibiza. Available with 95PS or 115PS, the 1.0 TSI provides the best balance between performance and running costs, with our recommendation being the 115PS that's advertised with a maximum of 49mpg. 

Buyers who want more power can opt for the four-cylinder 1.5 TSI, which lowers the 0-62mph from 10 to 8.2 seconds. The 1.5-litre engine is limited to 150PS only and returns up to 45mpg, according to the official figures. It's a willing unit and works well with the DSG automatic gearbox, happy to cruise along at motorway speeds without too much noise filtering through into the cabin.

Long distance drivers get a single diesel choice - 115PS 1.6 TDI - which officially returns a maximum of 57mpg. The diesel provides the same torque as the 1.5 petrol (250Nm) and will tow up to 660kg when hooked to a braked trailer. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 TSI 115 57–58 mpg 9.8 s 113 g/km
1.0 TSI 115 DSG 55–57 mpg 9.8 s 116 g/km
1.0 TSI 95 57 mpg 10.9 s 114 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 DSG 55–57 mpg 8.2 s 113 g/km
1.6 TDI 115 69 mpg 10.1 s 108 g/km
1.6 TDI 115 DSG 57–71 mpg 10.1 s 108 g/km

What have we been asked about the Skoda Scala (2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

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
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