More refinement for finer driving
To make it clear to the outside world that the Scala has got more advanced technology on board, the exterior has also been updated. The lower grille and the wide beams (now with LED instead of bulbs) have been reshaped with so-called "air curtains". These improve the aerodynamics, which results in slightly lower fuel consumption and slightly less noise. Also new is the "Monte Carlo" version shown here. It can be recognised by black accents, 17-inch rims and a panoramic glass roof.
For standard versions, the dashboard is now partly covered in fabric instead of plastic. For the Monte Carlo version driven here, this does not apply and (imitation) kevlar has been chosen.
Nothing has changed about the space, yet on this reacquaintance the Scala managed to surprise positively with its space. Even when the driver and co-driver sit far back, more than enough space remains in the rear for two more adults. Note that the headrests of the front seats of the Monte Carlo version are not adjustable and therefore do not offer the same level of comfort for everyone.
The boot is particularly deep, allowing the Scala to carry longer items than the average hatchback. From now on, the Scala is available with an electrically operated tailgate including "virtual pedal". The latter means that moving a foot under the rear bumper is enough to open the tailgate.
Volkswagen, Skoda's parent company, equips almost all models with a so-called "digital dashboard". This replaces analogue clocks with screens and reduces the number of buttons as most functions are controlled via a screen. Skoda is taking advantage of this development, which is why the traditional dials behind the steering wheel have been replaced by a display. The advantage of this is that there are a number of layouts to choose from. By simply pressing a button on the steering wheel, speed, fuel consumption or the navigation system can be displayed more prominently.
Because the European Union makes it mandatory from 2024, the Scala's active safety features have been greatly expanded. Henceforth, a camera reads road signs and alerts the driver in the event of even the slightest carelessness. It also warns of mistakes that the driver does not make at all, because like other brands, Skoda's camera also reads road signs meant for exits or parallel roads. Fortunately, Skoda has opted for a modest sound, making this patronisation much less annoying than with other makes.
A very welcome improvement are the LED headlights with matrix technology. This allows driving with high beam on at all times without dazzling other road users. As soon as the computer detects another light source (another car, a cyclist, a reflection of its own headlights), that part of the beam is temporarily dimmed. These smart headlights have been around for many years, but because they are now being produced in such large numbers, the technology is also coming within the reach of the down-to-earth and price-conscious Skoda.
Finally, the updated Scala offers new cleverness. These include a USB-C connection at the interior mirror. This allows dashcams to be powered without an annoying cable along the windscreen.
1.0 TSI: petrol engine
Skoda, and the brands it works with, is no longer investing in new internal combustion engines. However, existing engines are still being refined where possible. The Scala's 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine has therefore been revisited at all points and, according to Skoda, the gains are so great that it is fair to speak of version 2.0 of the powerplant.
To find out what that means in practice, the 115 hp / 200 Nm version was driven first, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This performs effortlessly and the automatic shifts so quickly that it feels like the Scala has one long gear. Only when real power is required is a distinct rumble from the three-cylinder audible.
The big surprise of the test, however, is the base version (1.0 TSI SE). Then the same engine produces 95 hp and 175 Nm and that power is transferred to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. This power is still more than adequate and the smoothness means less gear shifts are required. Moreover, the gearbox ratios perfectly match the character of the engine, the clutch pedal is easy to feel and shifting is "confident". As an added benefit, the base version of the Scala is more economical and significantly cheaper to buy than the other variants.
The updated Scala was presented to the press at the same time as the updated Kamiq. Next to the Kamiq, the Scala feels like a slightly simpler car that offers less comfort (partly due to inferior sound insulation). However, that also ensures that the driver is more involved in the driving. Moreover, the lower build and lower seat make for significantly better handling.
Despite being a compact and economical car, the Scala's steering feel is excellent. The Scala therefore gives a distinctly familiar feel and never damages that confidence. Thanks to its low build (it is not an SUV!) and modifications for the 2024 model year, the Scala therefore offers more refinement for finer driving.
The Skoda Scala has been updated for model year 2024. This is partly to remain competitive and partly to comply with new safety legislation. Active safety has therefore been greatly improved, with many annoying warnings (but mandatory). For those who often drive on poorly lit country roads, the new LED matrix headlights (not mandatory, so optional) are a true asset. Thanks to the digital dashboard and improved engines, the Scala is more up to date.
The main lesson of test driving the revamped Scala is: do it right or don't do it at all. The new Monte Carlo trim and automatic make the Scala beautiful and comfortable. However, in that premium version, the price advantage over other brands is slim. Therefore, opt for the base version with the simplest engine and equipment. Especially from model year 2024 onwards, the equipment and performance are more than adequate even then, while the price advantage is maximum.
- Strong, smooth 1.0 TSI engine
- Very spacious, also in the rear
- Excellent driving characteristics
- Headrests on Monte Carlo version not adjustable
- Annoying and interfering (but mandatory) safety features