New Vauxhall Astra vs Ford Focus vs Skoda Scala: verdict

Vauxhall has upgraded its family hatchback with steering changes and new engines and infotainment. Is this boost big enough for it to rocket up and join the stars of the class?...

New Vauxhall Astra vs Ford Focus vs Skoda Scala: verdict

Our verdict

So, the Vauxhall Astra wins because it’s the cheapest for a company car driver, right? Wrong. There are too many niggles that’ll get on your wick. Considering you’re only saving enough money to get a decent takeaway meal each month but having to put up with an engine that’s gruff, requires a lot of attention and is easy to stall, plus noisy motorway manners, a fiddly infotainment system and poor oddment storage, we’d sacrifice that curry to get one of our other contenders.

The Ford Focus is far nicer to drive and a lot quieter at higher speeds, and while some will find its ride a bit firm, it’s still comfortable; we only wish it were less plasticky inside and had a better infotainment setup.

Better still is the Skoda Scala. Yes, it attracts the highest BIK tax bills, but it’s simply the best car here, with the most accomplished ride, neat handling, a roomy interior and the most generous kit. The fact that it’s also the most fuel efficient in reality seals the win.

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1st – Skoda Scala

Skoda Scala rear

For Best ride quality; huge boot; most spacious for rear passengers; well equipped; best fuel economy

Against Highest BIK tax bills; interior materials aren’t as plush as the Astra’s

Recommended options Metallic paint (£595), variable-height boot floor (£155)

Rated 5 out of 5

Read our full Skoda Scala review

Find a great Skoda Scala deal

2nd – Ford Focus

Ford Focus rear

For Great fun to drive; excellent driving position; refined at high speeds

Against Low-rent interior; infotainment system could be better; firmest ride

Recommended options Metallic paint (£550), parking sensors (£375)

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Ford Focus review

Find a great Ford Focus deal

3rd – Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra rear

For Cheapest BIK tax; plushest interior; pretty comfy; decent rear seat space

Against Engine needs working hard; worst handling; smallest infotainment screen; noisiest

Recommended options Metallic paint (£575), parking sensors (£480)

Rated 3 out of 5

Read our full Vauxhall Astra review

Find a great Vauxhall Astra deal

Specifications: Ford Focus 1.5 Ecoblue 120 ST-Line

  • Engine size 4cyl, 1499cc, diesel
  • List price £23,095
  • Target Price £21,094
  • Power 118bhp @ 3600rpm
  • Torque 221lb ft @ 1750-2250rpm
  • Gearbox 6-spd manual
  • 0-60mph 9.1sec
  • Top speed 122mph
  • Gov't fuel economy 61.4mpg
  • Test MPG 50.4mpg
  • CO2 emissions 93g/km

Specifications: Skoda Scala 1.6 TDI SE L

  • Engine size 4cyl, 1999cc, diesel 
  • List price £22,065
  • Target Price £20,491
  • Power 113bhp @ 3250-4000rpm
  • Torque 184lb ft @ 1500-3250rpm 
  • Gearbox 6-spd manual
  • 0-60mph 9.3sec
  • Top speed 125mph
  • Gov't fuel economy 57.7mpg
  • Test MPG 56.6mpg
  • CO2 emissions 108g/km

Specifications: Vauxhall Astra 1.5 Turbo D 122 SRi

  • Engine size 3cyl, 1496cc, diesel
  • List price £23,340
  • Target Price £22,406
  • Power 120bhp @ 3500rpm
  • Torque 221lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm 
  • Gearbox 6-spd manual
  • 0-60mph 9.5sec
  • Top speed 130mph
  • Gov't fuel economy 64.2mpg
  • Test MPG 50.8mpg
  • CO2 emissions 92g/km

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