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Skoda Scala Review

9 / 10
21 February 2024
Red Skoda Scala facelift cornering

The Skoda Scala is a forgotten gem in the Czech brand's car line-up. It offers excellent practicality and decent tech without breaking the bank.

We love the space it offers for your luggage and rear-seat passengers, and the 2024 update adds some much-needed tech to the cabin. The petrol-only engine line-up does the job just fine.

What we like:
  • Roomy boot and back seats
  • Good levels of tech
  • Efficient petrol engines
What we don't like:
  • No diesels or hybrids
  • Expensive Monte Carlo trim
  • Some cheap interior plastics

Should I buy a Skoda Scala?

We'd forgive you if you'd forgotten the Skoda Scala exists. But if you're in the market for a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus and want more for your money, then you should absolutely check out the Scala – especially the latest 2024 facelift version.

The Scala's a shining example of a car that's roomier and more practical than its rivals, while also being cheaper to buy. Heck, even the entry-level SE version of the Scala gets everything you need, such as dual-zone air-con, rear parking sensors, a front armrest and a digital dashboard.

Buy a Scala and your backseat passengers will be treated to far more legroom than in a Golf, while the 467-litre boot is another strong point, swallowing noticeably more stuff than its German rival.

Downsides? The entry-level 95hp 1.0-litre engine does need to be worked hard, and the top-spec Monte Carlo model can get a bit pricey – but at least it now looks pretty handsome thanks to the facelift's standard-fit LED headlights.

We'd also point you in the direction of a Ford Focus if you want a car that's more fun to drive, or a Mazda 3 if you want more style at the expense of practicality, while a VW Golf feels posher inside than the Scala – but its infotainment system isn't as good as the Skoda's.

Interior and technology

While the Scala's cabin has some cheap-feeling plastics if you prod around like an overzealous woodpecker, Skoda did a good job of hiding most of them in the car's 2024 update. Most models now get cloth on the passenger's side of the dashboard – like the brand's electric Enyaq – and there's a variety of matching seat upholstery designs to choose from. 

You get a large digital dashboard as standard, which accompanies a bright infotainment screen. The screen may be a generation or two old in the Volkswagen Group parts bin, but it's far more useable and reliable than the one in the latest VW Golf. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on all models, so you needn't worry too much about entry-level SE models missing out on built-in navigation. Device-charging fetishists will be pleased to hear the USB-C ports now rapid charge at 45W, while the wireless charging mat is upped from 5W to 15W, and has active cooling so your phone shouldn't overheat. Smokin'.


Despite being a reasonably low-slung hatchback, the Scala feels roomy inside, with plenty of headroom up front and in the back. We especially love the amount of rear-seat legroom your passengers get – you can stretch out even if you're a tall adult. 

Because the Scala's actually a bit longer than a Golf, it has a bigger boot: 467-litre space with the rear seats up or 1,410 with them down. There's not much of a load lip, so you can slide items into the boot, and there are a couple of substantial hooks on the side to hold your shopping. Practicality is the Scala's middle name.

Engines and performance

If you're after a diesel or hybrid, then you need to look elsewhere – the Scala's engine line-up is resolutely petrol-only. The 2024 update to the car introduced a new generation of 1.0-litre petrol engines (called the 1.0 TSI in Skoda-speak). 

You can get this engine with either 95hp or 116hp, and the lower-power version is only available with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 116hp option comes with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. We recommend the 116hp version for most buyers – it's more relaxed at a cruise and doesn't have to be worked as hard as the 95hp engine. 

Topping the Scala's engine range is a 1.5-litre petrol with 150hp. Again, it's either manual or automatic, and it's smoother and more refined than the one-litre engine options, but it is pricier.

Driving and comfort

The Scala's a comfy and easy car to drive, with good visibility all-round and soft suspension that irons out more bumps in the road than, say, a VW Golf. The downside is it can feel a bit roly-poly in corners, and the suspension takes a while to settle down over gentle undulations.

It's still a grippy car that gives you confidence even in torrential rain, but it's not as feelsome or entertaining to drive as a Ford Focus. We tested the 2024 car on a German Autobahn and were impressed by the Scala's stability just north of 100mph – it feels like a grown-up car, and not a budget hatchback.

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