What is it?
You’d be forgiven for not being awfully familiar with the Skoda Rapid, a car which, while certainly decent, lacked soul in our humble opinion. It also sat in an odd segment, between the Fabia and the Octavia, making it not quite a VW Golf rival but not a supermini either.
It was sold in two bodystyles, the Rapid and Rapid Spaceback, and worldwide, was the second biggest seller for Skoda after the Octavia. The same wasn’t true of the UK, with sales amounting to a modest 3669 units in 2017.
But enough background. What we’re driving here is the new Scala. The Scala is an indirect replacement for the Rapid – bringing a new name and an entirely new game, if Skoda is to be believed.
Scala comes from the Latin word meaning ‘stairs’ or ‘ladder’, chosen to help reflect the fact that the model will be a “a leap forward in design and technology,” according to the Czech brand.
The Scala won’t be offered in two bodystyles like its predecessor, with Skoda choosing to focus on the hatchback, a style which remains incredibly important in Europe.
That means an overhaul: in design, in dimensions and in its offering. Skoda has previously told Autocar that it will be the first model to receive a new generation of interior and will offer “innovative features that have so far only been seen in higher segments”.
It’s also the first European model to bear the Skoda name in lettering on the back replacing the logo, a move that Skoda has identified as making its cars appear more upmarket. It also helps buyers who are less familiar with the brand and the logo – such as in the crucial Chinese market – recognise the car as Skoda, reckons the maker.