We recently got a chance to see and drive the new Skoda compact hatchback which has been named Scala. Skoda tell us that the name Scala is derived from the Latin word for steps and represents the brands recent progress and success not just in Ireland but across Europe. The Scala is set to be the replacement model for the Rapid which ceased production earlier this year. Although the Rapid was offered in saloon and hatchback form, the Scala will only be available in a hatchback. Although the Scala is a replacement vehicle it is pretty much entirely new sharing little or nothing from the Rapid. Instead the Volkswagen Group have offered up some of their most advanced technologies to make this car a real winner in this segment.
The the first thing we noticed when we seen the car at the recent Irish launch in Barberstown Castle was how low and wide it is in the metal. Measuring 4.4 meters in length it is one of the largest cars in this segment offering serious space inside.We had a seat in the rear of the Scala and the leg room can only be described as extremely generous or class leading. Boot space hasn’t been compromised either with 467 litres of capacity with seats in the normal position. This can grow further when dropped to make it a real luggage eater! Back up front in the drivers seat the Scala becomes the first brand in the Volkswagen Group to receive the third and most advanced generation of infotainment systems known internally as MIB3.
The advantage of this new MIB3 unit gives you a much cleaner dash because you can control most things including the air-conditioning from the 6.5”, 8.0” or 9.2” colour touch screen. Its also intuitive and easy to use. As we have come to expect in any new car, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as wireless phone charging is all standard. What we haven’t seen much of is the USB-c ports that are only starting to come on stream. The Scala is future proofed with the use of USB-c ports for faster phone charging and data transfer capabilities.
So what is the new Scala like to driver? Pretty good actually. We had a short test drive in the 1.0 TSI 115bhp and it drives very nice. It feels much more premium than a Rapid which has a tendency to feel light on the road. Low fuel consumption is pretty much guaranteed with the current turbocharged line up of TSI petrol engines including our 1.0 TSI 115bhp test car and the 1.5 TSI 150bhp which we will test at a later date. Diesel lovers will be happy to see a super frugal 1.6 TDI 115bhp also available and all models can be specced with manual or DSG automatic transmissions. Skoda have said they will introduce a lower powered 1.0 TSI 95bhp petrol unit at a later date. On the back-roads around Straffan our “Style” spec handled beautifully.
The Style model has 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights as well as the Bolero 8” infotainment unit. There is a lower spec Ambition model with 16-inch alloys, Dynamic rear LED indicators, air-conditioning and a 6.5” colour touch screen unit. Prices kick off from €23,650 for the 1.0 TSI 115bhp and our test vehicle was priced at €26,267. Skoda are expecting the new Scala to appeal to a younger and more affluent demographic thanks to the style and equipment in this car. Skoda are also offering an introductory 1.9% PCP to make the SCALA even more appealing. We anticipate this will be a huge seller for Skoda. Not everyone wants or needs a small SUV and now with this offering, Skoda can compete with the Focus, Golf, Ceed etc.
Commenting at the launch of the SCALA, Ray Leddy, Head of Marketing & Product, said “We are very excited about the launch of the new SCALA. The ŠKODA brand has tremendous momentum in Ireland with the brand entering the top-five best-selling brands for the first time. We are confident the new SCALA will fuel further success. The product is priced competitively with excellent exterior design and quality interiors.”