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A powerful and refined drivetrain pairs with a high-level of equipment in the Skoda Scala to make it an impressive hatchback.

19 Mar 2021


The Skoda Scala has finally arrived in Singapore, after nearly a year-long wait since it made its first appearance here at the Singapore Motor Show 2020.

So, after such a long delay, is it any good?

Has it been worth the wait?

On the styling front, a most definitive yes. The car sports a unique elongated hatch-like design which I find rather pleasing to the eye, while the body creases on the flank work well with those angular head lights.

The 'Monte Carlo' trim gets numerous exterior pieces finished in gloss black, including the rear diffuser, and 'SKODA' lettering at the rear
The red model you see in the pictures is the top-of-the-line 'Monte Carlo' Scala, decked out with nice touches including black surrounds for the radiator grille and a rear diffuser finished in gloss black, on top of sports seats and a panoramic sunroof.

But even if you opt for the middling 'Style' trim (the blue car in the pictures), the car is still decked out with premium features, which include that extended tailgate glass, black wing mirrors, an electric tailgate, and the 8.0-inch 'Bolero' infotainment system in the cabin.

All models will also get keyless access, a drive mode selector, and base 'Ambition' models will ride on 17-inch rims. So you're looking at a fairly well-equipped vehicle any way you cut it.

And how is it to drive?

Both the 'Style' trim and the 'Monte Carlo' come with a multi-function steering wheel
Rather pleasing actually. As per the high equipment count, all Scalas making their way here will be equipped with the more powerful 1.5-litre four-cylinder paired to a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox as opposed to the Volkswagen Group's 1.0-litre unit offered in other markets.

Power delivery from this 1.5-litre is smooth with its Active Cylinder technology working away in the background undetectably, and the performance from the gearbox is executed in a similar fashion.

Bury the pedal and you'll find a car that feels light on its feet, thanks to a total of 148bhp and 250Nm on tap. Travel around at more town-friendly speeds, however, and the drivetrain can be a little slow to react at initial take-offs. However, setting the drive mode to 'Sport' will eliminate all these quibbles.

8.0-inch 'Bolero' infotainment system is intuitive and easy to use
The steering of the Scala is light, but with just sufficient feedback that those looking to take the car for the occasional spirited drive will not walk away disappointed.

Which is more than can be said of the car's ride over poor roads, which over undulations feels wanting of better damping. Tyre noise will make itself present when driving over rough surfaces at speed.

Keep to better quality roads and the car will perform admirably, soaking in individual humps with sufficient pliancy to make for a convincing commuter.

And the interior?

Top marks to Skoda here, for the initial impression of the cabin is no longer confined solely to adjectives like 'roomy' or 'spacious'.

Sports seats are finished in a red/black combination, and will hold your torso in place
Instead, early impressions here are of overall high-quality throughout. The small pieces of polished silver on the air-conditioning vents as well as the scroll wheels of the sports steering wheel add a sensible amount of ornamentation to the interior.

Opt for this 'Monte Carlo' trim and you'll get sports seats upholseted in fabric with a red/black colour combination. They offer plenty of cushioning but I suspect they will become restrictive if you're a bit wide around the torso. 

The 8.0-inch 'Bolero' system is also intuitive to use, a necessary boon because the air-conditioning fan speed control is annoyingly buried within it.

Should you head to the showroom?

Cabin spaciousness is guaranteed thanks to generous leg and knee room aided by a massive panoramic sunroof
The Skoda Scala is a difficult car to assess, being built atop a supermini platform while offering dimensions and space competing a class above.

If you must compare across cars with the same platform, at $124,900 (prices as of 19 March 2021) the 'Monte Carlo' trim for example, is being offered at a sizable $18,430 discount next to the Audi A1 Sportback.

So, if you're looking for something that offers interesting design paired to an accomplished drivetrain, the Scala, on initial impressions alone, already serves as a convincing alternative, having its close cousin well beat on interior space and exterior dimensions as well.

But fair warning though: If you're ignoring its supermini underpinnings and looking for something with similar overall dimensions as this Skoda Scala, the new Golf will land on our shores this year. It might be worth waiting just a bit longer.

Car Information

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SKODA Scala 1.5 TSI Monte Carlo (A)
Rate it

Price

: $140,900

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1498cc

Horsepower

:

110kW (148 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

250 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8.3sec

Top Speed

:

212km/h

Fuel consumption

:

18.2 km/L

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first drive  skoda  scala  skoda scala  supermini  hatchback  mqb  mqb-a0