The opportunity I was given to drive a Skoda Scala in Scotland was a rather interesting one, merely accidental and unintentional at best. The initial car I was driving in had broken down, the brake line flex pipe had ruptured, meaning it was a no go and needed wheels fast. Low and behold, I was given the Skoda Scala, so I figured why not take the opportunity and do an in-depth review of it, especially since I had it for a few days and was thrashing it around the highlands of Scotland.
At first glance, it’s a good looking car. It isn’t going to turn heads compared to other more expensive brands, but as a compact, practical vehicle, it’s adorable to look at and has a welcoming vibe. It seems spacious, the doors are nice and wide, and it’s straightforward to get in and out. When tapping on the outside metal shell, some parts feel hollow, and you can tell it’s made from steel sheets, which shows that the car is mass-produced, which is a compliment. A nice added feature is the hood sits on wedges designed to pop out for pedestrian safety, and added safety features such as lane assist come as standard. It was no surprise since the Euro NCAP rating was five stars, which is comforting since I was driving it through the Scottish Highlands with narrow roads.
Performance-wise, again, it’s not going to be a fast or exciting car to drive in, but even still, the three cylinders 1-litre engine was plucky enough to propel me to where I needed to go. Though if I had the option, I’d have gone for the 1.5-litre engine instead, there were moments where the 1-litre did struggle, and the extra grunt would’ve come in handy. Even still, the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine produces 147 bhp and 250 Nm of torque, enough to slingshot this beast to 60 mph in around 7.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 139 mph. Honestly, for a car that costs £16,000, it isn’t that bad and honestly, it is more than enough for a young family.
Everything you see inside is functional and minimalistic, and everything you could need in a modern car. Sure the interior is cheap, plasticky and a little dull, but what do you expect for an affordable compact car? However, it isn’t as equipped as a Moroccan prison. You have a massive touch screen infotainment that has android auto on it, heated seats, and many plugs and USB ports for charging and connecting your phone to. The added features of lane assist (which I personally never liked) and the radar cruise control means that you don’t need a fancy car to enjoy the simplicities of driving. The boot space is also well-sized, coming in at 467 litres which is enough for many things; well, it fit all my luggage from my other car, which I was initially driving to Scotland in, but I digress.
Driving and handling wise, the Skoda Scala is an absolute beauty; the gearbox is phenomenal, very smooth, easy, and you don’t need to move the shifter a lot in between gears. The engine has enough grunt, but I would still opt for a 1.5 litre 4 cylinder engine as it’ll be more economical, robust and reliable. Comfort-wise it genuinely is an excellent place to sit in, the seats can be a little troublesome on longer journeys, and there is no lower back support, so get ready to take some breaks to stretch your legs and back. Though the overall ride is very comfy and tolerable, there is a lot of road noise and not much for noise dampening sound insulation, but again for a cheap compact car, you can’t be too picky. However, I do have a bone to pick about the handling. It does have a sporty feel in the corners at times, but the biggest flaw, in my opinion, is its tyres. They are too skinny; when I was driving in the highlands, the car wanted wider tyres to pull itself through the corners. It has the potential for it; that is my only drawback. If you are looking at getting the Skoda Scala, which I would recommend, then first thing first, put wider tyres on it. Sacrifice a bit of the economy for improved safety.