If you are in the market for a sensible family hatchback, you have a tonne of options, chief among which is the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf.
Now, Skoda reckons you can add one more car to that list - the new Scala. The car is not a rebadged Golf. In fact, it is underpinned by Volkswagen Group's Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB)-A0 platform, shared by other superminis such as the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo.
But the Scala is far from mini. Measuring 4,362mm long, 1,793mm wide and 1,471mm tall, it is fairly substantial for its class. Size-wise, it is actually closer to the Golf than the smaller Polo. Its wheelbase of 2,649mm is 12mm longer than the Golf's.
As a result, the interior is pretty spacious. Rear knee room is on a par with the Skoda Octavia at 73mm, while the 982mm rear headroom is a segment benchmark. Additionally, the car has a 467-litre boot - the largest in its segment.
The Scala is also fairly big on features, sporting full-LED front and rear lights and dynamic rear indicators. It also features a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit, a 9.2-inch floating display with a slew of infotainment features, wireless handphone charging and wireless iPhone pairing.
With its narrow track but long wheelbase, the car lacks the dynamic verve of a supermini like the Seat Ibiza. Its steering is quite numb and diving too quickly into a corner is usually met with understeer.
SPECS / SKODA SCALA 1.5
Price: $90,000 with COE when it arrives in first half of next year (both price and arrival are estimates)
Engine: 1,498cc 16-valve inline-4 turbocharged
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch with manual select
Power: 150hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 250Nm at 1,400-4,000rpm
0-100kmh: 8.2 seconds
Top speed: 219kmh
Fuel consumption: 5 litres/100km
Agent: Skoda Centre Singapore
On the other hand, its ride is very comfortable and stable, even at high speeds.
The 1.5-litre variant is especially effortless, with ample torque at low revs. The 1-litre variant requires you to work the engine a little harder, but it still packs sufficient power for everyday use.
With the MQB platform, Skoda is able to pack the Scala with numerous safety systems. The car will help keep you in lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front and activate emergency braking at certain speeds.
Optional features include a blind-spot detection system effective for up to 70m, adaptive cruise control and self-parking.
In a nutshell, the Scala is yet another exercise in maximisation. It demonstrates Skoda's ability to offer customers good value, practicality and equipment while operating within strict economic parameters.
While the engine specifications for Singapore are still unconfirmed, it is likely that a 1-litre variant paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will be offered. This is because the 1.5-litre engine will push the car into the costlier Category B certificate of entitlement segment.
Assuming it can be priced around $90,000, the Scala will be a strong contender in the hatchback segment. After all, that would be a Golf-sized car for Polo money.
• The writer is with sgCarMart, an automotive portal owned by SPH