Skoda goes upscale with Scala compact hatchback

2019 Skoda Scala Front

Talking about the vehicle unveiled, it is 4362mm long, 1793mm wide, 1471mm tall, and has a 2649mm wheelbase, making the Scala larger in every way than the Rapid it replaces. The Scala incorporates a new design language first shown on the Vision RS, and the sporty look will gradually be shared with upcoming models. Buyers can order alloy wheels ranging up to 18in in diameter, too.

The profile gets a dramatically contoured shoulder line (Skoda calls it the tornado line), which begins from the edge of the headlights and guides the eye all the way to the sleek LED tail lights.

Other notable exterior features include side air curtains, dynamic roofline, aerodynamically-optimised rear spoiler and rear diffuser, all of which help the Scala achieve a low drag coefficient of 0.29 Cd. From now on, all Skoda models are going to have that lettering at the back. Set to replace the international-spec Rapid (India gets a badge-engineered version of the VW Vento with the same name) in Skoda's global lineup, the hatchback is the first Skoda model to be built on the Volkswagen Group's MQB A0 platform.

Under the bonnet the Scala gets the choice of three petrol engines and a single diesel, with the latter being the familiar 1.6 TDI with 115PS. Interestingly, Skoda claims that the Scala has similar rear interior space to the Octavia.

Unlike the Golf, the Scala rides on the MQB-A0 platform used by Volkswagen Polo. It has a 467-litre boot space which increases to 1,410 litres with the rear seats folded. The setup is quite minimalistic but again uses varied surfacing to bring a more premium feel. Three trim levels will be available in the United Kingdom market with features like a panoramic sunroof, an eight-speaker sound system, Wi-Fi hotspot, 3D satellite navigation, wireless smartphone charging, 64GB of internal SSD storage, and downloadable apps for the infotainment system.

There's also a 86kW/250Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel, and a 66kW/145Nm 1.0-litre 3-cylinder running on compressed natural gas. The base setup is a 95 HP 1.0 TSI with a 5-speed manual, followed by the 115 HP version of the same engine and the 150 HP 1.5 TSI, both available with a 7-speed DSG. The company also offers 1.0 L G-TEC CNG engine with 90 PS and 145 Nm, mated to 6-speed manual gearbox. Transmission options include five- and six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch units. This allows the driver to switch between the two driving modes available - Normal and Sport.

The Scala - whose name, fact fans, comes from the Latin for "ladder" - marks a bit of a design revolution for Skoda, featuring a prominent, aggressive grille and the Skoda name spelt out across its boot lid.

There's also multi-collision brake, side assist, blind spot detect, rear traffic alert, lane assist and front assist with city emergency brake (standard, detects pedestrians as well).

Other optional safety features include the proactive occupant protection system Crew Protect Assist.

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