Hey, Skoda! Bring Scala to India please!

The Scala is the latest from Skoda. This hatchback is packed with tech and clever powertrain options. Should this replace the Rapid in India?

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My liking for Skoda is well-documented on this blog, Medium, and other portals. The Octavia is near the top of my to-own list of vehicles. Octavia is one thing, however, and I won’t talk about that today. That’s because the Czech automaker had a surprise for us in 2018. I thought of covering it back then but I stopped. Skoda’s India 2.0 project was fresh in my memory. So, I started working on permutations and combinations and deferred this story. No more as now seems the perfect time to talk about Skoda Scala.

Skoda Scala – Photo Gallery

What’s new about the Skoda Scala?

The Skoda Scala is an interesting car in many ways. It takes after the Vision RS concept quite closely. It is based on the MQB-AO platform, which will have a derivative called MQB-AO-IN (Skoda India 2.0 project). Thirdly, it will have a CNG powertrain. Now, whether that comes to India or not is a question for some other time.

skoda-scala-10

The name Scala – Latin for ladders – signifies this perfectly. It is a step-up from the Fabia. If it had a boot, it would be rival to the likes of Hyundai Verna, Honda City, and Maruti Ciaz. Who knows it may get one if Skoda brings it to India…

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Anyway, that’s all beside the point. The Skoda Scala is a looker. It looks less like a hatchback and more like a wagon. The silhouette of the car shows how smooth its lines are, instead of angular and slashed.

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This is critical as upon first glance, it may come as an Audi than a Skoda. Short overhangs, taut surfaces, and lack of visual muscularity (no flared wheel arches) further make the Scala seem like an Audi hatch. This is where the styling elements help the car stand out.

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A sleek grille, pinched LED headlamps, and a bumper devoid of multiple shapes (but featuring air curtains) highlight the front end of Skoda Scala. On the sides, the alloy wheels are big enough to fill the wheel wells nicely.

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The rear features wraparound taillamps with L-shaped LED signature. Instead of a badge, the company has opted to go with SKODA lettering on the tailgate. Not to be missed are a spoiler atop the tailgate and one exhaust end on either side of the rear bumper.

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The interior of the Skoda Scala feels minimalistic and expansive. The company opted to reduce the elements on the dashboard. The dashboard has a dual-layer layout with ambient lighting strip keeping both layers apart. The dashboard top is finished in beige/gold while the rest in coloured black. Fortunately, this colour scheme doesn’t extend to the door trims.

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The Scala is a tech-laden car. This is highlighted by the presence of a 9.2-inch floating central touchscreen for infotainment purpose. There is also Audi’s Virtual Cockpit here, featuring a 10.25-inch colour display.

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The Scala features a standard e-SIM that helps it stay online always helping it offer Emergency Call feature, among others. On offer are Amundsen (9.2-inch display with Virtual Cockpit), Bolero (8-inch display), and Swing (6.2-inch display) infotainment systems.

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The Scala packs Proactive Service feature which entails relaying of car’s location and its status in case it meets an accident. In addition, it allows vehicle service scheduling and notifications. Lastly, the system can be updated over-the-air with new firmware, new maps, and apps without requiring visit to a garage.

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In terms of safety features, Skoda has packed the Scala with up to 9 airbags. Aside from blind spot monitoring, the car features two sensors at the rear when opting for optional Side Assist feature.

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This feature allows the driver to know about vehicles approaching from rear and/or in the car’s blind spot and flash an LED light on the ORVMs. This system can detect vehicles up to 70m away. Also worth mention are lane assist, front assist, and city emergency braking features offered as standard on the hatchback.

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Skoda offers the Scala with four engines – two petrol, one diesel, and one CNG-powered. The petrol engines have 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre displacement with turbocharging. The smaller engines feature three cylinders while the 1.5-litre unit has four cylinders.

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The least powerful petrol engine is a 1.0-litre TSI unit with 95HP power and 175Nm torque routed via a 5-speed manual gearbox. From here, a more powerful 1.0-litre TSI engine is offered with 115HP power and 200Nm torque with either 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

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The 1.5-litre TSI petrol is the most powerful of the lot, offering 150HP power and 250Nm, and is paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission. The diesel engine on offer is a turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6-litre TDI unit with 115HP power and 250Nm torque. It is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

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The CNG-powered option is a three-cylinder motor making 90HP power, 145Nm torque, and is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Also on offer on the Scala is Sport Chassis Control with Normal and Sport modes. Lastly, a Drive Mode Select function offers Normal, Sport, Eco, and Individual modes. 

Is the Skoda Scala worth consideration?

There is no reason why the Skoda Scala isn’t worth your time or consideration. It is a sharp looking hatchback that feels inspired by wagons. It is based on MQB-AO platform which, if you ask around, is among the best platforms in the world.

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Most importantly, it is a highly scalable platform, used in cars like the Polo and the Tiguan too. But that shouldn’t matter to anyone other than folks with engineering background. What I see in Scala is a replacement for the Rapid sedan. Despite all its plus points, the Rapid hasn’t been the success Skoda wanted in India. May be it is because of how it looks.

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May be it is because of how Skoda packages it on mechanical and creature comfort fronts. The Scala faces no such issues though. It looks and feels modern, capable, and a car worth aspiring for.

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There’s a catch for the CNG powertrain fans here. If you are looking for Scala’s CNG variant, you’ll have to wait for its global arrival in second-half of 2019. That said, I really want this car to come as is to India.

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However, given the masses’ (worldwide) propensity to associate luxury and comfort with sedans, if the Scala comes to India, it will come as a sedan. If that happens Skoda, give the Scala a liftback treatment, a la Octavia.

Skoda Scala – Specs at a Glance

SpecificationsSkoda Scala
Price TBA
Engine Turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI petrol/Turbocharged four-cylinder 1.5-litre TSI petrol/ Turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6-litre TDI diesel/Three-cylinder 1.0-litre G-Tec CNG
Power 95-115HP/150HP/115HP/90HP
Torque 175-200Nm/250Nm/250Nm/145Nm
Transmission 5-speed manual/6-speed manual/7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic
Front Suspension N/A
Rear Suspension N/A
Front Brake Disc brakes
Rear Brake Disc brakes
Length 4,362mm
Width 1,988mm
Height 1,471mm
Wheelbase 2,649mm
Mileage N/A
Fuel Tank Capacity N/A

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