Skoda’s Focus rival is inally here… almost. We drive a prototype Scala
REMEMBER THE RAPID? Forget it. That badge has been binned for this – the Scala. It’s a direct placement for the Rapid Spaceback of yore, and the first Skoda to use the small-car platform that the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza use.
However, this is the longest wheelbase the platform has spawned, so while Skoda still calls this a ‘compact’ car it’s got a boot bigger than a Ford Focus and as much rear legroom as Skoda’s current Octavia, leaving room for that to go further upmarket in its next generation.
The outside has the Vision RS Concept we saw recently as a silhouette. Key to this is a long roof that culminates in the rear wing – which isn’t an option and plays an important part in the Scala’s aerodynamics.
It’s certainly quiet on the road, judging from our first test on the 17-inch wheels the chassis has been developed on. We tried two versions – one with normal shocks, the other with a 15mm ride height drop and two-stage shocks that firm-up in Sport mode. The normals would be our pick – this isn’t a sporty car, so the existence of a sharper mode feels more incongruous than enthralling. The Scala’s ride quality seriously suffers too, mitigated only slightly by its excellently designed front seats.
There’s nothing new under the bonnet, though. The peppy 1.0 triple is the pick of the powerplants, joined by a 1.5 TSI, while a 1.6 TDI is the runt of the litter in terms of refinement. Manual and DSG will be available.
A brief glimpse at a finished cabin revealed a ‘wing’ motif along the dash incorporating a 9.2-inch screen. A built-in 4G SIM card means a permanent internet hitch, unlocking natural-voice AI, route-learning real-time navigation, and wireless CarPlay and Android Auto.
Our first drive showed the Scala is far more interesting than the Rapid, so the job’s 95 per cent done already. GARETH EVANS
Quiet, peppy and altogether much better than the old Rapid