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Skoda Scala engines, driving and performance

How does the Skoda Scala drive?

It's fair to say that fun is fairly low down on the Scala's list of priorities, and that applies to the driving experience too. There's nothing wrong with the way it drives, but its steering, suspension and engines won't put a wry smile on your face like a Ford Focus can. The reasonably soft suspension means you lean over a bit more than you'd think in faster corners, but we never felt as if we were going to fall out of our seat.

Rather more relevantly for a family hatchback, the Scala grips well and gives you confidence whatever the conditions. We drove the 2024-onwards model in the rain-lashed hills north of Frankfurt and never worried about washing wide in tight corners. 

Is the Skoda Scala comfortable?

Yes, the Scala's suspension irons out bumps with aplomb. While the soft suspension leaves the car leaning over a bit in corners, that softness means it's a relaxing car to drive, even on terrible road surfaces. There's a slight caveat in the way the top-spec Monte Carlo's bigger alloy wheels do let more thuds into the cabin, but even that version still rides as well as most Volkswagen Golf models.

What’s the best engine to get?

We'd recommend the 116hp version of the Scala's 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It accelerates reasonably briskly and with a satisfying deep growl, but unlike the 95hp option you don't have to really rev it out to make decent progress. Sure, you'll still find yourself changing down a gear or two for overtakes at motorway speeds if you don't want to dilly-dally, but it's a good all-round engine that's capable of returning 51mpg in the real world.

The 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine has four cylinders so feels a bit smoother than the 1.0-litre choices, and it's certainly brisker, but we didn't find ourselves missing the performance when we switched back to the 116hp petrol. It'll still get about 48mpg in the real world.

In terms of gearbox choices you get a five-speed manual on the 95hp engine and a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto on the 116hp 1.0-litre and 150hp 1.5-litre engines. The manuals are dead easy to use without the nasty heavy clutches you can sometimes get on three-cylinder engines, and the automatics shift gear quickly and shuffle into seventh quickly for maximum efficiency.

Skoda Scala performance

If you're after a car for drag racing then the Scala's likely to leave you feeling a tad unsatisfied, but real-world performance is pretty good.

The slowest Scala is the 1.0-litre petrol engine with 95hp, which takes 10.8 seconds to get to 62mph. The 116hp version of that engine drops the time to 9.5 seconds, or 10.1 if you have the DSG automatic gearbox.

The 1.5-litre petrol Scala completes the 0-62mph dash in a respectable 8.2 seconds, regardless of whether you pick the manual or auto 'box.

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