Skoda Scala review 2024
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Quick overview

  • Cabin has lots of room
  • Keenly priced
  • Comfort
  • Boot space
  • Dull to drive
  • Wind noise at speed
  • Base model’s infotainment system
  • Avoid least powerful engine

On the face of it, the Skoda Scala seems like an answer to a question that nobody asked. After all, here’s a car that takes on small hatches when the Octavia already covers this. However, the does this but just a half-size size down in scale and cost, so you get a car that can rival the likes of the Ford Focus, Kia Ceed or Vauxhall Astra on space and comfort but for prices that make many superminis look a bit expensive.

Being a Skoda, the Scala doesn’t compromise on quality to achieve this tough balancing act between price and build standards. Granted, the Scala is not quite as vault-like in its construction as a Superb or Kodiaq, but then few mainstream family cars are. However, there’s nothing wrong with the way the Scala is put together and there is more than ample space in the cabin for anyone in the front or back seats, plus a generous boot that makes this a very practical car, too.

Where you can spot that Skoda has saved a bit of cash is the overall look of the Scala’s interior. Where its key rivals all offer some sort of lift and pizzazz inside, the Scala is unremittingly unflashy to the point where there’s almost a hair shirt back-to-basics feel. On the upside, there is a reasonable amount of equipment included in the price, so you don’t have to rough it as you drive along in the Scala. You also get a reasonable, unfancy line-up of petrol engines to pick from.

The Scala may not be exciting to drive, but it will get there you without fuss or much harm to your wallet thanks to decent economy. It covers ground competently in a way that doesn’t challenge or tire you out. However, it’s also short on much entertainment and there’s a bit too much wind and road noise audible at higher speeds.


The Skoda Scala range gets into gear with the 1.0 TSI S model that costs from £18,715, and this is the only version offered in this trim. This means most buyers will look to at least the SE, which costs from £19,905 with the same engine or £20,705 with the 110hp engine. If you want the DSG automatic gearbox, that will add £1310 to the price, while the 1.5-litre TSI engine begins at £21,250 for the manual with the same premium to add the auto ’box. The SE L trim costs from £21,885 and has the same engine and gearbox choices as the SE. Move to the Monte Carlo and it only comes with the two more powerful engines, with prices that start at £24,640. A bit of bargaining and shopping around could save you up to £3000 on the price of a new Skoda Scala if you are flexible on the colour and trim options. Go for a nearly new car with less than 5000 miles on the clock and you should pay from around £19,000 for an SE model. A three-year old Scala with average mileage for the year will cost from £13,000.

Infotainment, comfort and practicality

The Skoda Scala’s interior is a little drab to look at, but there is no questioning the amount of space it offers for the driver and front passenger. The driver gets a height adjustable seat in all models and, if you choose the SE trim or above, it also comes with lumbar adjustment to help with comfort. Two-way movement for the steering wheel lets you alter its height and depth, further assisting with the excellent driving position that affords good all-round vision. If you want standard rear parking sensors, you need to look to the SE trim and above, and these models also have cruise control, but all have lane assist to make life simpler for the driver.

The simple dash of the Scala can be given a bit more style with the optional Virtual Cockpit, which is the same as found in a variety of Volkswagen Group cars. It replaces the standard round analogue dials with a 10.25-inch colour display that can be configured to suit your preferences to show information such as a sat-nav map or driving data. This dash is included as standard for the SE L and Monte Carlo models of the Scala.

In the centre console, the Scala sticks with simple rotary dials for the air conditioning, and it’s all the better for this. Above these controls sits the infotainment screen, which starts as a 6.5-inch item in the base S model. Nothing wrong with this unadorned set-up as it has four speakers, Bluetooth and DAB radio, and you can connect to your smartphone using the optional SmartLink app. Move to the SE trim and you get a bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen that has eight speakers and comes with SmartLink as standard. Both the SE L and Monte Carlo swap to a larger 9.2-inch Amundsen touchscreen, but oddly only the SE L comes with Apple CarPlay included. Android Auto is not on offer.

Turning our attention to the back seats, if you though the front of the Scala was generous for accommodation, it’s even better back here. There is more than enough room for adults to sit in considerable comfort thanks to plenty of space for heads, legs, knees, feet, and shoulders. You can even sit three adults across the Scala’s bench without anyone feeling the pinch, and the centre seat’s cushion is not noticeably raised so that it doesn’t push this occupant’s head close to the ceiling. Kids will be perfectly happy with the view out, and there are Isofix seat mounts in the two outer seats to safely latch in kiddy seats.

The Scala’s back seats don’t do any fancy folding tricks and simply split 60-40 to fold down and offer some load variation. What it lacks in clever tricks, though, it more than makes up for with its ample space for luggage. With the seats raised and in use, there’s a generous 467-litres of carrying space in the Scala’s boot and this extends to 1410-litres when both sides of the back seat rest are toppled forward. A low load sill helps when lifting in heavy items, but there is a bot of drop from sill to boot floor. Also, when the rear seats are tipped down, there’s a step in the floor that many rivals avoid by offering a variable height boot base as standard but this is an option for the Scala.

Which 2019 Skoda Scala model should you buy?

The entry-point Skoda Scala S comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, lane assist, front assist, and hill hold control to prevent it rolling backwards as you pull away on slopes. There are also electrically heated and adjusted door mirrors, remote central locking, air conditioning, and a 6.5-inch colour stereo display. To this, the SE model adds front fog lights, rear parking sensors, cruise control, and front seats with lumbar adjustment. There’s also a Jumbo Box storage cubby between the front seats, plus the 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Smartlink to connect with your phone. Choose the SE L trim and it provides 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, reversing camera, and cornering front fog lights. Inside, it has microsuede and fabric seat upholstery, climate control, keyless entry and ignition, and a rear fold-down arm rest. The SE L also gains the 9.2-inch Amundsen infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, and the 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit in place of the normal dash instruments. The Monto Carlo shares this while adding a panoramic glass roof and black leather with red stitching for the gear lever and handbrake.

Value for money: how much does a 2019 Skoda Scala cost to buy and run?

Running a Skoda Scala should not prove too taxing on your budget as the 95hp 1.0-litre TSI engine returns up to 54.1mpg average economy and emits as little as 118g/km of carbon dioxide. The more powerful 110hp version of this engine manages 54.0mpg and 119g/km with the manual gearbox, or 49.8mpg and 129g/km with the auto ’box. Go for the 1.5-litre petrol motor and it delivers a combined consumption figure of 52.1mpg and 123g/km CO2 emissions with the six-speed manual transmission, or 49.3mpg and 130g/km with the auto. This means the Scala ranges sits in the 28- to 31% brackets for Benefit in Kind company car payments in 2022-2023, while insurance is based on groups 10 to 20 depending on engine and trim.

Verdict: Should I buy a 2019 Skoda Scala?

If you want a car that gets on with the job without putting demands on your attention or wallet, the Skoda Scala could well be the one for you. It’s very well put together and offers a huge amount of cabin space for people and luggage, which is especially impressive for a car at this sort of price. The Scala also drives with a supple comfort you don’t get in many of its rivals, and the handling is good too.

It's not perfect, however, as there’s too much wind noise at motorway speeds, and the smallest engine struggles to cope on this type of road. The cabin is also quite plain to look at and the base trim’s stereo misses the infotainment interaction we expect nowadays. There are also some shortcomings in the equipment of the Scala compared to its key rivals.