► Scala replaces Rapid
► MQB A0 platform
► On sale now from £16,595
The Skoda Rapid is no more - long live the new Skoda Scala hatch. It's designed to be a much plusher car for the snobby tastes of Western Europe, killing off the back-to-basics Rapid hatch and Spaceback in the process, and it's on sale now.
Keep reading for our full story on the much more conventional family hatch from Skoda.
Bringing the interior up to date
This time around, the Scala aims to be a more conventional mid-sized hatchback and first impressions are solid – if not formulaic. What else would you expect from the VW Group, and is that even a bad thing?
Although Skoda waxes lyrical about the materials and colours, the first thing you’ll certainly care about it will be sat bang in the centre of the cabin.
Skoda's new infotainment system will make its debut here, with a large central touchscreen mounted higher up on the dashboard, fitted to look like it's free-standing. Measuring up to 9.2-inches in size on top-spec models, standard-spec ones come with a smaller 6.5-inch version.
Over-the-air updates will be available for the first time via the multimedia system, while wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto will be available.
The Skoda Connect app will also allow owners to access certain features on their smart phone, whether it’s locking or unlocking the vehicle remotely, or updating the sat-nav maps prior to travel.
Skoda also promises premium materials used inside, with 'crystalline' elements sprinkled in, and their version of virtual cockpit available as an optional extra. Offering a 10.25-inch display size, the digital dials can be customised to offer Basic, Modern, Sports and Extended layouts – the latter integrating the sat-nav map to keep your eyes on the straight ahead.
Skoda says its the largest you can get in this sector – and although this size is optional – it makes for an impressive start. Put the colours to one side for a minute, and you’ll notice a rather unremarkable but clean interior – which is totally fine in our opinion.
And one final note about the interior styling. Skoda says ‘The dashboard and front door trim panels feature a sophisticated soft-foam surface with a specific new grain texture,’ and that it emulates crystalline structures and will define the Skoda brand’s style in the future.’
On the outside, the brand says that it will be the first European model to wear the Skoda name in letters on the tailgate, rather than just as a badge, and the accompanying image shows a very similar glass tailgate lip to that of the now outgoing Rapid Spaceback. The rest of the range will follow suit with the model name spelt across the tailgate in the coming future.
For everything else we’ve seen of the new Skoda Scala hatchback, keep reading.
Skoda Scala specs and prices
There are S, SE and SE L trim levels to start from, with an inevitable SportLine variant expected in the future like the Kodiaq or Superb. Based on its popularity in the Fabia range, there are plans of a Monte Carlo version to arrive later on after its launch.
Check out our prototype drive of the new Skoda Scala
Basic S models come in at £16,595 and have 16-inch alloys, LED headlights, the 6.5-inch infotainment with Bluetooth, all-round electric windows and air con. SE versions, starting at £17,780, have cruise control, rear sensors, Skoda's trad umbrella and a larger eight-inch infotainment system. Top-end SE L models get the aforementioned digital instruments, a 9.2-inch infotainment system, climate control and more.
New Skoda Scala hatchback: everything else we know
There’s a range of turbocharged petrols and a diesel available for the Skoda Scala, with a 1.0-litre TSI producing 94hp and 113bhp with a 1.5-litre producing 148bhp sitting at the top of the range. A 1.6-litre TDI is the sole diesel option offering 113bhp. There are currently no plans for a hotted-up vRS version. Sorry, Skoda fans.
The new Scala will use the VW Group’s A0 MQB platform – the same underpinnings used by the Seat Ibiza along with VW’s Polo and T-Roc, for example. ‘Scala’ in Latin means ‘stairway’ or ‘ladder’, with Skoda cleverly pointing out that the new car will be a part of the brand’s efforts to ‘scale new heights’.
Skoda’s chairman of the board, Bernhard Maier, said: ‘we are proposing a new chapter in the compact class of Skoda. It is a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class.’
Any plans to electrify the Skoda Scala?
Not at the moment. The plug-in hybrid version of the wafty Superb is yet to hit the market first and that arrives in the second half of 2019. Plus, the fully-electric Citigo is making its debut at the end of that year too, offering a 200km range on full charge.
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