The Skoda Scala is the Czech brand's best attempt yet at a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra sized family hatchback. It's easy to see that the Scala is a car built by the Volkswagen group, with design cues and technology that can be seen on many other models in the VW family. This car is bound to tick many boxes for Motability customers thanks to its good looks, smooth handling, amazing connectivity, huge boot space and its competitive Motability Advance Payment offers.
The Skoda Scala is back on the Motability Scheme (section updated November 2023).
Skoda has yet to really crack the family hatchback market in the UK, which in some ways is strange given the considerable success that various generations of its Fabia supermini have enjoyed. The last time the Czech brand attacked this segment, it was so desperate to succeed that it brought us not one family hatch design but two, the very Skoda-like Rapid and the more conventional Rapid Spaceback. Now, all efforts have been concentrated on just one design, just one body shape and just one name: Scala.
The name comes from the Latin meaning 'stairs' or 'ladder', reflecting the fact that this model will be 'a leap forward in design and technology' according at least to Skoda. Of course, from an engineering point of view, it shares just about everything with Volkswagen Group contemporaries, in this case primarily VW's Golf and SEAT's Leon. But as usual, Skoda offers it all at slightly lower prices and with a range of 'Simply Clever' design features intended to make everyday life with this car just that little bit easier.
Let's get the under-bonnet stuff out of the way first. The Scala comes with three petrol engines with a cylinder capacity of either 1.0 or 1.5 litres. Most will choose the 1.0-litre TSI petrol unit, available with either 95PS or 110PS. The former unit comes only with a 5-speed manual stick shift, but if you choose the 110PS variant, you'll be offered the choice of either 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed DSG auto.
The DSG 'box is also optional on the other two engines in the range. The 1.5 TSI 150PS petrol unit's worth a look, equipped as it is with efficient Active Cylinder Technology that means it's almost as efficient as the 1.0-litre option. As usual with a compact Skoda, expect solid, safe handling; you won't be buying this car for driving thrills. Skoda suspension set-ups tend to be slightly on the firm side too. Optional is an Adaptive Cruise Control system that can automatically keep the car a safe distance behind the vehicle in front on the motorway, being even able to slow you right down to a stop and start you off again if you come across a tailback.
The Scala is a crisp piece of design work with its clearly defined surfaces, flowing lines and sleek aerodynamics. The front is actually quite striking with an upright radiator grille, a large air inlet underneath and side Air Curtains. The side profile 'tornado line' makes the vehicle look longer and works well with the sweeping roof line. There are LED head and tail lights, wheels of between 16 to 18-inches in size and as an alternative to the standard tailgate, the car can be ordered with an extended rear window. Under the skin, the car sits on the VW Group's latest stiff, sophisticated MQB-A0 platform.
Inside up-front, the Scala gets the brand's latest generation infotainment system with a free-standing screen positioned high on the dashboard in clear view of the driver. Plus there's the option of a 10.25-inch 'Virtual Cockpit' digital instrument binnacle display. Classy touches include ambient lighting with a white or red light, plus the warm hues and contrasting coloured stitching on the seat covers provide a pleasant feeling of spaciousness. The long 2,649mm wheelbase allows for more rear seat leg room than you might expect to find in a car of this class. Out back, there's a large 467-litre boot, the largest in the class. This increases to 1,410-litres with the rear bench folded.
If you were buying this car outright, prices start at just over £17,000 and the range consists of familiar Skoda trim grades including the 'S', 'SE' and 'SEL', with all versions offering decent levels of standard specification.
Despite its status as the entry-level model, the 'S' is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, leather for the steering wheel, gear and handbrake lever and a height adjustable driver's seat. Customers opting for the 'S' model also get air-conditioning, a DAB digital radio, front and rear electric windows and a 'Swing' infotainment system with a 6.5-inch screen. In terms of safety equipment, the 'S' model features front head and side airbags, Front assist, Lane assist, a Speed limiter and Emergency call with proactive services.
The mid-range 'SE' model adds a host of additional features including cruise control, rear parking sensors, a 'Bolero' infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, an integrated umbrella and a height adjustable passenger seat. If you're happy to spend a little more then your Motability Specialist will direct you to the plushest 'SEL' model, which includes the brand's top 'Amundsen' infotainment system with a 9.2-inch glass touchscreen, plus there's a hi-tech digital cockpit, climate control air conditioning, keyless entry with start/stop and a colour multifunction trip computer. The exterior design features 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED rear lights, dynamic indicators and privacy glass on the rear windows.
As you'd expect, all the Scala engines meet the latest Euro 6D emissions standard and all the petrol units are equipped with a particulate filter. All engines come with brake energy recovery and Stop/Start technology. The 1.5 TSI is also equipped with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) that cuts the engine from four to two cylinders under light-to-medium throttle loads. Skoda won't be bringing to the UK the 1.0 G-TEC unit that's designed to run on CNG environmentally friendly natural gas.
In terms of WLTP efficiency stats? Well, expect the base 1.0 TSI 95PS petrol unit to return up to 50.4mpg on the combined cycle and up to 126g/km of CO2. The volume 110PS 1.0 TSI petrol unit manages to return 51.4mpg on the combined cycle and up to 124g/km of CO2. For the 1.5 TSI, the figures are 50.4 and 128g/km.
The brand regularly tops independent consumer satisfaction surveys: according to real people, there are few more satisfying cars to own.
The Skoda Rapid Spaceback was an under-rated car and there's every chance the Scala will be too. If you really don't want to pay a larger Motability Advance Payment for the sophistication of a Volkswagen Golf but want all the same engineering and practicality, then you'll find it here. And in a form that doesn't carry any sort of budget brand stigma.
There are more exciting class choices to be sure. But, by and large, you don't choose a family hatchback for excitement. All the reasons you would want such a thing are covered off here with typical Skoda thoroughness.
This probably won't have been the car you started out wanting in this class, but there's just a chance that it may be the one you actually need.
People with a disability and carers who choose a new Skoda Scala through Motability will receive a brand new car, delivered by a Motability Specialist at a local Skoda dealership, complete with insurance, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance, replacement tyre cover, windscreen repair or replacement cover plus a mileage allowance of 60,000 miles over three years.
This month, these SKODA Scala models can be ordered through the Motability Scheme: