A Skoda to thrash Ford

17 December 2018

SKODA has unveiled a rival for Britain’s best-selling Ford Focus, which it is expected to match on quality and undercut on price.

The new Scala is a latter-day replacement for the Rapid, which was a massive success everywhere except here.

The forthcoming Scala aims to redress the balance by offering new levels of style and sophistication within a well-equipped compact car package aimed at the demanding UK market.

As part of the Volkswagen Group, Skoda has access to all of the ingredients that have made models such as the Golf, Audi A1 and SEAT Ibiza models so well respected.

As a competitor in the mainstream small family category, the Scala is likely to sell in huge numbers by wooing buyers away from the rival Ford stable.

It will initially be offered with a choice of four engines here, comprising three petrol-powered units and a diesel.

The entry-level versions will come with a turbocharged one-litre engine offering power outputs of 94bhp or 113bhp.

There will also be a flagship 1.5-litre unit developing 150bhp, which will form the basis of sportier options.

The oil-burner will be a 1.6-litre four cylinder engine generating 115bhp of power and plenty of torque, or pulling power.

So where’s the electric option that every other manufacturer now considers to be fundamental to future survival?

Skoda says that there are no plans ``at the moment’’ for a battery-powered version, which simply means that it is not ready yet.

However, there is a natural gas option elsewhere in Europe, although this may not be a viable proposition for the UK due to a woeful lack of fill-up points.

Although the newcomer will be competing in the compact car class, technology features will abound, including a 9.2-inch touchscreen for top models.

There will also be an optional virtual cockpit and a special Skoda app that will give digital performance read-outs.

Competing against established rivals such as the Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30, together with VW’s own Golf and Leon models, the Scala will achieve class-leading luggage space.

The boot will offer a load area of 470 litres, whilst the interior is claimed to be as roomy as the Skoda Octavia.

Being a family model means that safety is high on the agenda, and the Scala will come with many of the advanced safety features that are already common on similar VW models.

These will include adaptive cruise control, blind spot recognition, lane-keep assist and even automatic parking.

Skoda feels that the brand is now so strong that the letters of the name will be emblazoned across the back, whilst the car will also feature attention-seeking LED front and rear lighting arrangements.

Prices have yet to be announced but a starting price of about £16,500 is expected, with levels of trim and equipment likely to follow the established theme of SE, Sport and SE L.