Skoda Scala Review 2023

Skoda Scala 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. It's pretty comfortable, has a strong engine range, offers loads of space for the cash and should be as cheap to run as it is to buy. It's pretty bland, while the cabin lacks the posh finishes of pricier rivals, but that's an acceptable trade-off for many.

+Comfortable and secure on the road, roomy cabin and a big boot, more affordable than the competition and even many smaller cars.

-Unexciting to drive, fair bit of road and wind noise at speed, some cheap cabin materials, some items of standard kit are missing, very basic infotainment on entry-level car.

New prices start from £17,560
Insurance Group 14
On average it achieves 97% of the official MPG figure

The Skoda Scala is one of the roomiest cars in the class, yet also one of the most affordable. As a general rule you usually get what you pay for, so what's the catch? In this review we'll show you what compromises you have to make to get an otherwise excellent family hatchback. 

Skoda is already very well-represented in the family hatchback market by the excellent Octavia, while family SUV buyers are also nicely catered for by the Karoq. So what's the reasoning behind launching the Scala?

Well, this isn’t a car that’s trying to directly steal sales from its established siblings. It has its own appeal, and it’s designed to offer something back-to-basics. While the Octavia is - and continues to be - popular for providing limo-like space for hatchback money, along with loads of luxury kit and a (relatively) 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 price tag. With that in mind, the Scala is a smaller, more budget-focused offering to satisfy those people who might otherwise be drawn to rivals such as the Kia Ceed, Vauxhall Astra and Citroen C4

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 terms of lugging passengers about or swallowing luggage. 

Yes, you will see evidence of cost-cutting in a few other areas: the interior is trimmed with fairly dull-looking and hard, and while lots of equipment is offered, not all that much of it is standard at the lower end of the range. Still, what do you expect when the price 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 smooth ride, controlled handling and perky yet 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 finish 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 (or a healthy chunk of monthly payment cost), surely it’s worth a look, right?


Ask Honest John

Does the Skoda Scala have a higher ground clearance than most other cars?

"I've just received my new Skoda Scala and the ground clearance looks high. It has 17-inch wheels, yet the distance between the tyre and wheel arch looks quite big. I feel as though the car is on stilts. It's a factory order so I'm sure there's no error. But does the Scala have a larger ground clearance than most other cars?"
The Skoda Scala has a ground clearance of 149mm so only marginally more than something like a Volkswagen Golf. This is probably deliberate – Skodas are known to be comfortable rather than sporty, and an increased ground clearance would help this. You might find that the suspension settles over time.
Answered by Andrew Brady

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
More Questions

What does a Skoda Scala cost?