What is it?
This, as I’m sure you’ll be well aware by now, is the new Skoda Scala. Even in the mid-range SE specification we’ve got here (previously we’ve only tried the top-tier SE-L model), you have to admit it’s a fairly sharp-looking thing. Not too flashy, not too nondescript - it’s just about spot on for someone in the market for a completely unpretentious, affordable means of transporting a young family to and from the sorts of things young families need transporting to and then from again.
And it is affordable, too. With the 148bhp, 1.5-litre TSI powerplant that currently crowns the Scala’s petrol engine line-up at its nose, this particular car comes with a price tag that’s just north of £21,000. But no one really buys cars that way any more, so it’s worth pointing out that on a three-year, 45,000-mile PCP deal with a £3000 deposit, Skoda quotes a monthly payment figure of £337.
That means it sits between a similarly specced but less powerful Ford Focus Zetec (£312 per month on the same terms) and a slightly more generously equipped Volkswagen Golf Match with the same powertrain (£371). Not bad.
Elsewhere, the rest of the Scala package makes for familiar reading: it sits on an elongated version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A0 platform; employs a MacPherson strut-type front suspension and a torsion beam at the rear; and directs its 148bhp and 184lb ft to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch ’box. While this isn’t the first time we’ve driven the Scala on British Tarmac (you can read James Disdale’s dispatch on the 1.6 diesel model here), it’s the first time we’ve tried one on home soil without the optional adaptive dampers.