Another month, another glowing report. Well, yes, but before we get to the bit where I sing the Scala’s praises, this time around there are one or two caveats. Five months in, I have noticed a few ‘issues’ with the Skoda. That is perhaps overselling it, ‘niggles’ would be closer to the truth. Since the weather has taken a turn for the worse, I find the Scala scrabbles for grip leaving my driveway. There is a hesitancy, a bit of a judder, and then it’s on its way. It’s a small thing, but I had five dailies prior to this, all of them front-wheel drive, and none of them struggled. It is hardly an earthshattering development, more a bit irksome.
While we’re on the subject of grip, the roads around where I live tend to be twisty and entertaining, but they also have ruts and steep camber drop-offs. They also have peaks and troughs, gullies and potholes, and drainage (or lack thereof) is sometimes a problem. I like to think I drive to suit the conditions – all conditions, but the Scala has this strange transitional stage where it goes from surefooted to clumsy and back again when it’s really wet. There seem to be moments where the Skoda gets discombobulated. It rediscovers its composure, but not before you have second-guessed its resolve.
I am probably overstating this because we are talking of this sensation occurring and disappearing in a heartbeat, but I do notice it. I have also discovered something which irritates me more. You have to take for granted that all cars these days have safety aids that serve largely to startle you. I have had plenty of experience of prior Skodas standing on their noses, braking by themselves when they cannot differentiate between a corner and a car parked in a driveway on a corner. As such, there is that element of surprise when your car randomly decides to perform an emergency stop. It’s infuriating, the same being true of being obliged to scroll through menus to locate sensitivity settings.
This happened with the Scala for the first time recently: a car in front on a country road turned left, I backed off doing no more than 20mph anyway, coasting along in the expectation that it would have completed the manoeuvre by the time I arrived on the scene. Cue epic panic attack from the Skoda a picosecond later. I don’t know what concerned me more, the fact that the Scala thinks I am blind, or that I found myself challenging my inner Kimi Räikkönen and yelling: “Yes, yes, leave me alone, I know what I am doing” to a non-sentient automobile. It isn’t as though it can hear me, so, really, who is the thicky?
It isn’t even the random braking that bugs me, it’s the beeping and the fact that the dashboard lights up to tell me that a crash might be imminent. Good to know, thanks for the heads up. But let’s not end on a negative. These are nuisances. I still like the Scala immensely. It fits my lifestyle (such as it is) perfectly. It is comfortable, reasonably brisk, ludicrously economical and there’s a massive amount of room in the back with the seats folded. It is hard not to swayed by the Scala.
Arrived 6th June 2022
Price when new £23,995
Price as tested £25,940
Economy 52.2mpg (combined) 53.1mpg (on test)
Costs None Faults None