Skoda Scala 1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr
In terms of an innocuous, practical family hatch, the Scala does a very solid job. It rides well on the smaller wheels, goes, stops and steers exactly as you’d like it to. It’s quiet enough, the steering is light and slightly numb, the brakes strong.
It’s even pretty good fun if you want it to be (in context, people), though none of the engines or suspensions are really set up for on-the-limit thrills, even with the optional Sport chassis electronics package which can fettle damping, throttle and engine response. Money pointlessly spent, that. In Sport the ride becomes a bit all over the place anyway.
The 147bhp four-cylinder with a DSG feels sprightly rather than fast – even if it sounds bland – and the DSG is slick enough, but honestly it’s not really the point of something like the Scala, adding cost and complexity to a relatively simple recipe.
In fact, we reckon the best variants in the range are either of the three-cylinder cars with the six-speed manual gearbox. The ‘box itself is ridiculously easy to use and the engine is gently characterful and with enough grunt to potter, even in the lowest state of tune. Excellent economy (we managed 50mpg without really trying) and general cleanliness, a relatively simple daily proposition that’s not trying to be what it’s not.
In either of these formats, you start to understand what suits the Scala, and that’s being a rational hatch that can cover off a variety of jobs. With the three-cylinder engine thrumming away, you can keep up with motorway traffic, and with a gearbox-slash-clutch this light, town work really is a doddle.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Scala still comes with an old school physical key that you have to twist in the ignition. No bad thing, mind.
Otherwise, worth mentioning that rear vision is slightly average (you may want to option rear parking sensors) but otherwise it’s a well set up, mature little car, with far more ability than power – but there’s nothing wrong with that in this sector.
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