What's the used Skoda SCALA hatchback like?
Size isn't everything. It's all well and good being able to fit 11 suitcases into the boot of a Skoda Octavia, but not everyone's family is that indecisive when it comes to holiday packing. That's where the Skoda Scala comes in, which is still highly practical and excellent value for money, but doesn't have an enormous rear end that makes it difficult to park in a multi storey.
The Scala offers a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel. The entry-level 1.0-litre turbo, with 94bhp, is perky enough, but the 113bhp version has a bit more overtaking urge, along with a six-speed gearbox for more refined motorway cruising. The 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine is pretty swift and very refined, while the 113bhp 1.6 diesel is good for those who cover an annual mileage that would put a taxi firm to shame.
There are five trim levels to choose from, every one of which includes automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keep assistance as standard. S trim gives you have 16in alloy wheels, LED headlights and a 6.5in touchscreen with a DAB radio and Bluetooth. Step up to SE for rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, cruise control and an upgraded 8in infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to mitigate the lack of in-built sat-nav, although SE Technology (added in late 2020) does include the latter, along with front parking sensors.
SE L includes 17in alloys, a 9.2in infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav, and a 10.25in digital instrument cluster. Monte Carlo trim is more of a styling package, bringing a sportier interior and exterior, but it does include a panoramic glass roof.
Where the Scala excels is in being a calm and competent performer on the road. It can't trouble the Ford Focus in being fun to drive, but it does do a great job of smoothing over the worst road surfaces without being bouncy. The compromise is that it can feel a little floaty over crests and dips at speed. You'll also notice more suspension noise, along with higher levels of wind and road roar than you'll find in some of its rivals, particularly when travelling along a motorway.
The Scala will lean over more in the bends due to its soft suspension, but it still grips the road well and handles very tidily, plus its steering increases in weight progressively as you turn the wheel, giving you the confidence to drive the car briskly.
Another strong suit of the Scala is practicality. That it has plenty of room in the front and plenty of adjustment in the driving position is a given for the class, but what's different about the Scala is that it has a really spacious back seat that copes well with bulky child seats and lanky teenagers. The boot is big, too, and shouldn't have any trouble taking a pushchair. We even managed to squeeze seven carry on suitcases into it with no issues whatsoever. That's not as many as an Octavia will swallow, granted, but still much more than most other family cars can take.
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