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CZECH IT OUT (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Skoda's Scala claims to bring something a little different to the family hatchback class. Jonathan crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 81
The Scala is Skoda's most credible tilt yet at the Focus-class family hatchback segment. Though the engineering's familiar from other VW Group models, the way the Czech brand has packaged it all up is quite appealing, with a decent combination of value, practicality and efficiency. If you prioritise sense and sensibility, want value in a car of this kind and are looking for something a little different from the obvious contenders in this class, the Scala could be worth a look.
Backgroundword count: 172
Skoda has yet to really crack the family hatchback market, which in some ways is strange given the considerable success that various generations of its Fabia supermini have enjoyed. Last time the Czech brand attacked this segment, it was so desperate to succeed that it brought us not one family hatch design but two, the very Skoda-like Rapid and the more conventional Rapid Spaceback. Now, all efforts have been concentrated on just one design, just one body shape and just one name: Scala. The name comes from the Latin meaning 'stairs' or 'ladder', reflecting the fact that this model will be 'a leap forward in design and technology' according at least to Skoda. Of course, from an engineering point of view, it shares just about everything with Volkswagen Group contemporaries, in this case primarily VW's Golf and SEAT's Leon. But as usual, Skoda offers it all at slightly lower prices and with a range of 'Simply Clever' design features intended to make everyday life with this car just that little bit easier.
Engines and Tech Specword count: 226
Let's get the under-bonnet stuff out of the way first. The Scala comes with three petrol engines with a cylinder capacity of either 1.0 or 1.5 litres, plus there's a 1.6-litre diesel. Most will choose the 1.0-litre TSI petrol unit, available with either 95PS or 115PS. The former unit comes only with a 5-speed manual stick shift, but if you choose the 115PS variant, you'll be offered the choice of either 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed DSG auto. The DSG 'box is also optional on the other two engines in the range. The 1.5 TSI 150PS petrol unit's worth a look, equipped as it is with efficient Active Cylinder Technology that means it's almost as efficient as the 1.0-litre option. As usual, you'll choose the 115PS 1.6-litre TDI diesel if you want more pulling power; there's 250Nm of torque - though the 1.5 TSI petrol can match that. As usual with a compact Skoda, expect solid, safe handling; you won't be buying this car for driving thrills. Skoda suspension set-ups tend to be slightly on the firm side too. Optional is an Adaptive Cruise Control system that can automatically keep the car a safe distance behind the vehicle in front on the motorway, being even able to slow you right down to a stop and start you off again if you come across a tailback.
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Category: Compact Family Cars
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