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In-depth reviews

Skoda Scala - Engines, performance and drive

A small but tried-and-tested engine range meets confident handling and a plush ride

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£22,075 to £30,425
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The Skoda Scala occupies the same class as fellow MQB-platformed Volkswagen Group cars like the SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf, but is actually built on the company’s smaller MQB A0 platform – the same one that underpins the VW PoloAudi A1 and SEAT Arona. Like the other cars it shares a platform with, the Scala uses torsion-beam rear suspension. This setup has benefits such as cost saving and doesn’t impact upon rear boot space compared with more complex multi-link systems. Plus, cheaper versions of the Leon, Octavia and Golf use a similar setup anyway.

Skoda’s engineers have done a fantastic job with the Scala. It rides just as well as the pricier Volkswagen Golf and is as easy to drive. It’s not the last word in driving pleasure, but it does exactly what buyers in this market would expect of a family car, with accurate steering, lots of grip, and manual versions have a very satisfying gearshift action. Those looking for more fun behind the wheel will be better served by the Ford Focus or Mazda 3, although you will have to pay more for that privilege.

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The Scala’s suspension is very well judged – it rides just as well as an equivalent Volkswagen Golf, especially when specced with 16-inch wheels. The suspension makes a bit more noise over bumps than its German counterpart, but it provides an impressively comfortable ride for a car of this price.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The Skoda Scala has a fairly basic engine line-up made of two petrols, although the smallest 1.0-litre is available in two different power outputs: 94bhp or 108bhp. If you want the most powerful version, there’s the 1.5-litre with 148bhp. 

The lower-powered 1.0-litre version needs a lengthy 10.9 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill and is only offered with a five-speed manual gearbox. The more potent 114bhp variant manages 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds, has a 125mph top speed, and comes with a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic. The 1.5-litre improves on those figures with an 8.2-second 0-62mph time and a 137mph top speed in both manual and automatic forms. 

Despite the punchier performance of the 1.5-litre petrol, we recommend the cheaper, yet still excellent 114bhp 1.0-litre TSI for most buyers. Performance is adequate for most everyday situations thanks to the engine’s decent torque and the Scala’s relatively lightweight – it’s marginally quicker than the turbocharged 1.0-litre versions of key rivals like the Kia Ceed and Volkswagen Golf.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £17,225

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 TSI S 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £17,225

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £24,205
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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