New ŠKODA SCALA Steps Up To The Mark.

ŠKODA has recently launched its new compact hatchback, the ‘SCALA’. The name ‘SCALA’ is derived from the Latin word for steps and represents ŠKODA’s recent progress and success. The SCALA is a spiritual successor to the ŠKODA Rapid that concluded production earlier this year. While the Rapid was offered in saloon and hatchback body styles, the SCALA is exclusively offered as a hatchback. The vehicles share very little in common with the SCALA showcasing some of the most advanced technologies available in the Volkswagen Group (ŠKODA’s parent company since 1994).

Unrivalled Spaciousness;

The wide and low stance, and protruding front grille hide the fact that the SCALA is one of the largest cars in its segment measuring 4.4 metres in length. These dimensions deliver unrivalled interior spaciousness, particularly for rear seat passengers. Low fuel consumption is assured with a turbocharged line up of TSI petrol engines including a 1.0 TSI 115bhp and a 1.5 TSI 150bhp, a frugal 1.6 TDI 115bhp diesel is also available with both manual and DSG 7-speed automatic transmissions. A lower powered 1.0 TSI 95bhp petrol unit will be offered at a later date.

Advanced Infotainment;

The ŠKODA brand has been leading the way, for some time, in terms of infotainment and connectivity. The SCALA will be the first brand in the Volkswagen Group to receive the third and most advanced generation of infotainment systems known internally as MIB3. The benefits of the new MIB3 units include a much cleaner cockpit, as former infotainment and air-conditioning buttons move to controls operating from 6.5”, 8.0” or 9.2” colour touch screens. Other benefits include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as wireless phone charging capability. USB-c ports are only starting to come on stream. The SCALA is future proofed with the use of USB-c ports for superior phone charging and data transfer capabilities. The SCALA is the most connected car ever launched by ŠKODA with built-in SIM cards offerings access to ŠKODA Connected Services. Emergency Call functionality is offered as standard equipment too.

Trim Levels;

The SCALA is being offered initially with Ambition and Style specifications, with an Active entry version to be added by year-end. The Ambition equipment includes 16” alloy wheels, Dynamic rear LED indicators, air-conditioning and a 6.5” colour touch screen unit. The Image Package, which consists of the glass rear tailgate will be provided as standard from Ambition trim level.

Test Car;

My test car was a ŠKODA SCALA ‘Style’ 1.5TSI 150bhp 7-speed DSG (automatic) finished in striking Race Blue metallic paintwork. Standard equipment includes key items such as 17” ‘Stratos’ alloy wheels, full LED headlights with AFS technology, full LED tail lights with dynamic indicators, Climatronic dual-zone air-conditioning, ‘Sunset’ dark tinted privacy glass, rear parking sensors & rear view camera, ‘BOLERO’ infotainment system with an 8” display & Smartlink connectivity, front & rear USB-C ports x 4, copper-brushed decorative inserts & chrome interior surrounds, ‘KESSY Go’ keyless start system, cruise control with speed limiter, power-folding door mirrors, leather multi-function steering wheel, gearstick & handbrake, automatic lights & wipers, Front Assist – forward collision warning with emergency brake function, Lane Assist, extended rear glass panel with body colour spoiler, and Care Connect with a 1 year subscription included. With 150bhp and 250Nm of torque, the 1.5-litre petrol engine in my test car can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in just 8.2-seconds, and can hit a top speed of 219km/h (where permitted). Annual road tax is just €200, while fuel consumption from 5.0-6.0l/100km is possible on a combined driving cycle – making the new SCALA a sound financial proposition. Optional extras on my test car included 18” ‘Vega’ Silver Alloys (€409), a Panoramic Sunroof (€918), Wireless Charging (€329), Adaptive Cruise Control (€477), Sports Steering Wheel (€241) , Side Assist with Active Steering (€521), Black Leather/Suedia Pack (€1,145), a Comfort Pack (€714), which includes Keyless Entry, Electric Tailgate and Electric Drivers Seat, and Metallic Paint (€617).

Engaging Driving Dynamics;

The SCALA’s talents really shine on the road, with VW Golf-like levels of refinement and ride quality, while the large, soft sidewalls of the car’s tyres absorb even the most rutted of road surfaces extremely well. The car is very comfortable on the move, while accurate steering and excellent levels of grip ensure an engaging drive every time. The SCALA’s seven-speed DSG gearbox is slick, satisfying, and easy to use, which makes the SCALA feel like a car from at least a class, or two, above. The SCALA has similar mechanicals to the VW Golf and the ŠKODA Octavia, because all three models are based on the VW Group’s MQB architecture, and the SCALA is as good to drive as both.

A Marvel of Packaging;

The SCALA also scores well in terms of interior quality, with a logically laid-out dashboard, and comfortable seats taking centre stage, and it is a marvel of packaging that a car of this size can be so practical. The interior of the SCALA has taken inspiration from the exterior design. It combines ŠKODA’s trademark ergonomics, and an emotionally-charged design brimming with graceful curves, with soft materials, a largest-in-class infotainment display, and ample space in all directions. Boot space is an impressive 467-litres with the rear seats in place, but up to 1,410-litres of space is avaialble with the rear seats folded flat.

Verdict & Pricing;

Overall, the new ŠKODA SCALA is a genuinely impressive car with generous equipment levels, and a full helping of practicality, versatility, and functionality. With ex-works pricing starting from just €23,650 (ex-works) for the 1.0 TSI 115bhp Ambition model, the SCALA is sure to attract a younger and more affluent demographic to the ŠKODA brand. My test car specification is priced at €34,696 (ex-works) including all of the optional extras outlined. An introductory 1.9% PCP finance deal makes the SCALA even more appealing (T’s & C’s apply).

Visit www.skoda.ie for further information.