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The Scala is Skoda's clever take on the hatchback segment, offering not just an easy drive but the exceptionally spacious interior that the brand is known for.

07 May 2021


Skoda isn't the first brand you'll think of when it comes to hatchbacks. In fact, its current lineup in Singapore is predominantly made up of SUVs. And that makes plenty of sense. The brand is all about space and the clever use of it, and what better type of car are there than these tall, oversized vehicles?

While SUVs are practical and all, hatchbacks remain to be a hot favourite for those seeking not just practicality, but also manoeuvrability and the ease of driving and parking. Unsurprisingly the hatchback segment is one with plenty of strong contenders. So, the question is, will Skoda's recipe work as well in this application?

The super(sized)mini

Built on a stretched supermini platform, the Scala sports a wagon-esque silhouette
Upon the first look, you might find the Scala rather peculiar and, no, it isn't due to quirky design elements - more about that later. Rather, it is the wagon-esque proportions with its extended greenhouse and rear overhang that you'll hardly find on compact hatchbacks, that stands out.

You see, the Scala is built on the Volkswagen Group's MQB A0 supermini platform. While there is a mandate on the dimensions of the front end, the rest of the details such as wheelbase and rear overhang aren't set in stone, and that's where Skoda worked its magic. The result is a compact hatchback with space that goes head to head with rivals that are supposed to be one size larger, such as the Golf.

The Scala's boot space is comparable to much larger cars
The stretched out platform translate to generous interior space. There's more legroom than one would expect from compact hatchbacks, that along with its segment leading headroom means full grown adults will ride in comfort - just don't squeeze three of them at the back.

At 467 litres, the Scala's boot space is one of the largest among hatchbacks, knock down the seats and it increases to 1,410 litres. Thanks to the wide and low loading aperture, you'll be able to load up bulky items without breaking a sweat as well.

All the right creases in all the right places

Clean-cut lines give the Scala a sterile but stylish look
Now, back to the thing about its design. Like its SUV brethren, the Scala isn't oddball like some of Skoda's previous offerings. In fact, the Scala might even be the blandest-looking Skoda in recent years. But that's not to say it's ugly though. Quite the contrary, with its clean cut lines and crisp creases, the Scala might just be what the general car buying crowd will love to have.

Up front there's an aptly sized grille flanked by a pair of angular head lights sitting above a defining crease cut into the front bumper. The theme of razor-edged lines can be seen throughout the Scala, the most apparent being that bold shoulder line stretching the entirety of its side profile. At the rear, an all-glass window takes up more than half of the hatch. Large polished 'SKODA' letterings take the place of a typical badge giving the Scala an upmarket look.

No surprises

The 1.5-litre turbocharged engine produces enough power for overtaking manoeuvres
Like its inoffensive, reserved design, it drives as you'll expect a hatchback to as well. Despite the spacious interior, the Scala is appropriately sized, making it easy to place on the road, and a peach to manoeuvre within the confines of tight multi-storey carparks here.

With 148bhp and 250Nm of torque on tap, there's surely enough power for the Scala to overtake with ease. However, you might want to put it in sport mode if that's your thing, otherwise, it upshifts early and keeps the revs between 1,500rpm to 2,000rpm, which results in lacklustre acceleration. While it isn't a particularly sporty hatch, it is easy to drive and offers reassuring composure even when pushed hard into a curve - just as expected of compact hatchbacks.

Safe, comfortable ride

The Scala comes with supportive seats and enough amenities for today's drivers
Bolstering its easy-to-drive nature is a full suite of driver assistance that you'll get to enjoy when you opt for either of the two higher trims (Style or Monte Carlo).

There's Front Assist with emergency brake, rear view camera, a surprisingly unobtrusive Lane Assist, Side Assist, Rear Traffic Alert along with the useful Adaptive Cruise Control that works even at crawling speeds - perfect for those peak hour traffic jams here.

Having just driven the Kamiq a week ago, the interior is a familiar space. While this Scala is of the Style trim which sits below the Monte Carlo, there isn't much disparity, especially if you have no care for the panoramic roof or the sporty design elements found in the latter. With the Style, you still get a large 8.0-inch 'Bolero' infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Carplay support.

Thus far, the Scala has managed to offer everything that is expected of a hatchback. It's easy to drive, practical and zippy, but there's one added incentive. Uncharacteristic of compact hatchbacks, it manages to offer a plush and compliant ride. Somehow, Skoda has managed the harshness associated with torsion beam rear suspension systems rather well to achieve a satisfactory ride quality.

Has Skoda managed to create a worthy contestant in the hatchback segment? I would think so. The Scala offers an enticing edge over its competitors - space - and it has done so without sacrificing a single trait that hatchback owners seek.

Need another look at this Skoda Scala's boot? We have just the thing!



Car Information

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Price

: -

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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