Used Skoda Scala (Mk1 2019 to date) review

Skoda’s Scala hatch was an award-winning new car, and its wide range of talents continues to be a draw on the used market


Verdict

When the Scala arrived in summer 2019, it immediately went to the top of its class, and we named it our Compact Family Car of the Year in our New Car Awards, so we weren’t surprised when it beat the Golf and Kia Ceed in its first group test. 

At the time we said: “It proves itself here against the Golf by being just as good to drive, yet also more economical, more practical and more affordable.” Any car that can topple the Golf has to be special. 

Within a month the Scala also trumped the Ford Focus and Honda Civic, when we said: “The Scala wins because it has the widest range of ability, and it’s also the best value for money. It’s comfortable and easy to drive, yet it’s also composed enough.” 

Ever since it became part of the Volkswagen Group, Skoda has produced hit after hit. So when it launched the Scala in 2019, we hoped that it would bring something very appealing to the compact family car class: an affordable, practical car that offered an easy ownership proposition. 

  • Best used hatchbacks 2022

We weren’t disappointed, because it’s all of those things, and we discovered the proof when we ran one on our test fleet in 2020. After more than 11,000 miles in a 1.5 TSI edition, we loved its roomy cabin, punchy engine, exterior design, the quality of the fit and finish, and the lengthy list of standard equipment. The infotainment software and hesitant automatic transmission impressed less, but on balance, this still proved to be one of the best small family cars out there.

History

The Scala went on sale in March 2019. Buyers could choose between 1.0 TSI and 1.5 TSI petrol engines, with the former coming in 94bhp and 109bhp forms; all versions of the latter were rated at 148bhp. For those who preferred diesel, a 114bhp 1.6 TDI engine was offered, but few chose it. 

More reviews

Car group tests
  • Skoda Scala vs Ford Focus vs Honda Civic
  • Skoda Scala vs Volkswagen Golf vs Kia Ceed
In-depth reviews
  • Skoda Scala review
Long-term tests
  • Skoda Scala 1.5 TSI: long-term test review
Road tests
  • New Skoda Scala 1.5 TSI DSG 2021 review
  • New Skoda Scala 2019 review

The early trim levels were S, SE and SE L, but in 2020 a Monte Carlo edition joined the range, with 18-inch alloys, panoramic roof, a diffuser and spoiler at the rear, plus a reprofiled front bumper. The fleet-friendly Scala SE Technology arrived later in 2020, initially in 1.5 TSI form with a choice of manual or DSG automatic gearboxes; a 1.0 TSI option followed soon after.

Which one?

The entry-level 94bhp 1.0 TSI isn’t very rapid, but it sits at motorway speeds happily enough. The more powerful engines make lighter work of longer journeys, so we’d be inclined to go for one of those. The manual and automatic transmissions are generally enjoyable to use, so it’s just a question of personal preference there. 

The basic Scala S is very rare and comes with 16-inch alloys, air-con, LED headlights, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth and DAB. The SE adds a multi-function steering wheel, rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, an eight-inch display, a height-adjustable front passenger seat, upgraded interior trim and Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto. 

The SE L also has electrically folding door mirrors, privacy glass, dual-zone climate control, navigation, digital instrumentation, 17-inch alloys and microsuede trim.

Alternatives to the Skoda Scala

You’re spoiled for choice in this segment. The Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 308 are all readily available and good value. The latter card is also played by the Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30; both cars come with very good warranties, too. Plus, there’s the Scala’s big brother, the Skoda Octavia. 

If reliability is your priority, the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 should fit the bill; the former has more carrying capacity than the class norm, while the latter feels more premium than many small family cars. 

The Scala is related to the SEAT Leon and VW Golf; both are worth a look for their fine cabins and engines, including a plug-in hybrid. Toyota’s Corolla is also a hybrid (but not plug-in), with good reliability and quality.

What to look for

Accessories  

A kick scooter was available through Skoda dealers. This 5kg, £120 option was designed to slot into the spare wheel well.

Trim levels 

SE Technology carried a £400 premium over SE, but added £2,100 of kit – namely a 9.2-inch display, sat-nav, parking sensors and cruise control.

Towing  

The 1.0 TSI 95 can tow 1,150kg, whereas the 1.0 TSI 110 is rated at 1,200kg. The 1.5 TSI and 1.6 TDI are both capable of pulling up to 1,250kg.

Spare wheel 

Skoda calls it a space saver, but it isn’t really; the smallest wheels fitted to the Scala are 205/55 R16, and the spare wheel is a 195/60 R15 item.

Common faults

We know at least a few early Scalas had infotainment bugs, but dealer software updates should have been implemented on any affected cars by now. Otherwise, the Scala has an impressively clean bill of health – although of course, it hasn’t been on our roads for very long. 

Prices

There are good numbers of Skoda Scalas for sale although you may struggle to find one with a diesel engine as petrol is much more popular. Likewise, one in three Scalas is an auto. Predictably, opting for a manual transmission will get you more car for your money and we found just two S-trim cars for sale, with SE accounting for half of the cars on the market.

To check prices on  a specific Skoda Scala model head over to our valuation tool

Interior

It’s easy to see straight away that this is a Volkswagen Group car, with the very clearly laid-out dashboard and a high standard of fit and finish. That’s true even on the cheaper editions, but buy a model from higher up the range and the ambience increases noticeably. 

One of the Scala’s strong points is its cabin space, which is above average; there’s enough head and legroom for two adults in the back, and the doors open nice and wide to allow easy access. The boot capacity is every bit as impressive, with a whopping 467 litres available with the back seats up – more than in a VW Golf or Ford Focus – or 1,410 litres with them folded.

Running costs

Scala owners can choose between fixed or flexible servicing regimes; the latter is set at the factory, but it can be changed. Whereas the flexible programme allows up to 18,600 miles between services, the fixed option sets the interval at 12 months or 9,300 miles. 

For Scalas on the fixed scheme, the first service costs £175-£195 depending on engine, and the second service is £261-£310; from the third year, the prices alternate between £185 and £245. Scalas on the flexible programme have to have a £245 major service every time; this cost includes fresh brake fluid at every inspection, but on its own this is pegged at £65. 

All Scala engines have a cambelt, which should be replaced every five years at a cost of £780. On diesels there’s a 130,000-mile cap for cambelt replacement, but there is no set limit for the petrol units. 

Recalls

The Scala has been recalled on just one occasion so far. That was in November 2019 because of a fault with the e-call system, which could render it inoperable.

Just 99 cars were affected, all built in either August or September 2019. Not all of the cars recalled were Scalas, however, because some Kamiqs built in those two months were also affected; Skoda hasn’t disclosed the split between the two models, though. 

Although Skoda claimed that some cars left the factory with faulty software installed, the solution was to replace an electronic control unit on all cars affected, rather than simply to perform an update. You can find out if any potential buy is the subject of an outstanding recall, by going to skoda-auto.com/services/recall-actions and typing in the VIN.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

The Scala hasn’t yet appeared in any of our Driver Power surveys, but Skodas have a habit of scoring impressively. The brand has had its fair share of top-20 places over the years; in the 2022 survey the Kodiaq was fifth, while the Karoq came 18th; the Mk3 Octavia (launched in 2013) came 66th, though. Interiors, value, quality, practicality and reliability are typical highlights.

Your view

Henry Sivite from Wrexham, Wales, owns a 2019 Scala 1.0 TSI 110 SE. He comments: “I’m not after thrill-a-minute driving. I want a car that’s easy to live with, and the Skoda is definitely that, with its roomy cabin, generous equipment and feeling of quality. It’s refined, quick enough, economical and has room for four in comfort. As such, it’s very easy to recommend.” 

Head over to our sister site Buyacar to get a great deal on a used Skoda Scala…

Source: Read Full Article