Skoda Scala: a fleet-optimised, smartly-understated VW Golf
The Rapid Spaceback never quite achieved its sales targets outside the Czech Republic. With the new Scala, presented earlier this month in Tel Aviv, Skoda wants to up the ante in terms of design, materials used and technology, thereby repositioning the car.
Compared to the VW Golf, the wheelbase of the Scala is three centimetres longer, translating in lots of interior space. 4.36 metres separate the far ends of the front and the rear bumper – which is a whole 10 centimetres longer than its German cousin. That also explains the boot volume of 467 litres, compared to just 380 for the Golf.
Whereas the Skoda Rapid Spaceback was quite narrow, the Scala has caught up with the VW Golf: it has grown 9 centimetres wider and now boasts a Golf-equalling 1.79 metres body width.
Petrol, diesel and CNG
Contrary to his baby brother, the Fabia, the new Scala will still come with diesel engines. Well, one diesel engine, to be precise: the 1.6 TDI producing 115 PS. Most customers will probably go for the 1.0 TSI petrol, though, available with either 95 or 115 PS. The range is topped by the 150 PS 1.5 TSI, featuring active cylinder deactivation technology to save fuel.
Eco-drivers and fleets with high-mileage drivers might want to consider the CNG (natural gas) model, derived from the 1.0 TSI and called G-TEC. Fleet Europe tested this powertrain the technically similar SEAT Ibiza and was quite impressed by its drivability and low running costs.
All engines come with a 6-speed manual gearbox, except for the entry-level petrol model (it must make do with 5 gears). A 7-speed DSG is available as an option. Unfortunately, Skoda does not mention anything about mild hybrids or plug-in hybrids, but that does not mean electrification is not happening behind the scenes.
Skoda will offer the Scala with innovative features such as natural speech command for the infotainment system, allowing you to speak in normal sentences rather than structured commands. It will also be possible to open and close the vehicle using a smartphone app. The latter also enables you to remotely check the fuel level and locate your vehicle on a map.
The cockpit is of the digital kind – at least if you pay for it. The equally optional Side Assist function shows if a vehicle is approaching from behind and wants to overtake or if it is in the blind spot up to 70 m away – 50 m further than in Blind Spot Detect. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which can be used at speeds of up to 210 km/h, and Park Assist are also optional. Lane Assist and Front Assist with City Emergency Brake come as standard.
The Skoda Scala can be seen in the flesh at the Brussels Motor Show in January. Deliveries are expected to start by mid-2019.