New Skoda Scala revealed – budget hatch to undercut Focus and Golf
Based on a Polo, but bigger than a Golf, Skoda applies its usual tactic to undercut the family hatch establishment
This is the all-new Skoda Scala, a mid-sized hatchback to replace the unloved Rapid to slot between the Fabia and next Octavia. Its design was partially previewed by the Vision RS Concept earlier this year, a model that despite its near-production status, is still unconfirmed for production as a Scala vRS. Instead, the Scala will serve as a price-leading alternative to other mainstream hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
It may rival the Golf for space, but the new Scala is instead built on underpinnings derived from the Polo. It’s over 100mm longer than a Golf, and offers even more interior space thanks to a combination of a 12mm longer wheelbase and compact torsion beam rear suspension.
The majority of engines will be three-cylinder units, with the range topped with the VW Group’s 1.5-litre turbocharged EVO four-cylinder petrol engine. A sole 1.6-litre diesel will also be offered, as will an optional seven-speed DSG gearbox for higher-powered variants.
The interior is all-new, with an emphasis on improving materials and build quality, while introducing a new dash layout that will likely be carried across to other Skoda models in future. Topping the dash is a new infotainment display ranging between 6.4- and 9.2-inches in width, with slim horizontal vents situated below.
But the Scala is also a look at the next generation of Skoda’s design language, one that has been on display on various concepts, but so far not integrated into its production models. There are still a couple Rapid-like design traits visible, from the heavily glazed tailgate and roof, to the large rear-quarter windows.
Beyond that, the new Scala introduces Skoda’s sharper future design language, one that is echoed in the crystalline head and tail light details. This is managed with extensive use of LED technology for the lighting elements. The Superb-like clamshell bonnet is another feature up front pushing Skoda’s design aspirations, expect to see this accentuated even more in future models too.
Despite its similar ethos to the Rapid, the Scala is a far more considered effort, giving this model line more distinction in Skoda’s relentless growth into a major mainstream player. Does this mean we’ll see a production of a Rapid vRS in the future? Well, as the concept previewed, the possibility of a hybridised vRS combining the 1.5-litre turbocharged EVO engine with rear-mounted electric motor and battery pack is a technical possibility, but as usual, Skoda’s pragmatic approach to its vRS range means it’ll only build one if it will be able to sell it. So although an expansion to the vRS range is uncertain at this stage, there is plenty of reason to believe that it might should circumstances allow.
UK pricing and specs are yet to be confirmed, but we suspect it'll undercut all its major rivals by some margin, leaving space above for the next Octavia.