Skoda Scala premium hatchback unveiled: Maruti Baleno rival in the making?

Czech carmaker Skoda has revealed the all-new Scala premium hatchback at an event in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel. The Skoda Scala which gets its name from the Latin word for a ladder is the Czech marque’s first car to be built on the MQB A0 platform.

Skoda Scala premium hatchback unveiled: Maruti Baleno rival in the making?

The Skoda Scala will replace the Rapid in many international markets However, India, where the Rapid is, in essence, a badge-engineered version of the Volkswagen Vento, will only see that sedan replaced by around 2021 as part of the VW Group’s India 2.0 strategy. However, Skoda could bring the Scala for India as it is built on the same MQB A0 platform that will underpin the VW Group’s new set of cars which will start arriving in 2020.

If Skoda does bring the Scala to the Indian market, expect it to be a shortened version, designed to rival the likes of the Maruti Baleno and the Hyundai Elite i20. Both the Maruti Baleno and the Hyundai i20 together sell over 20,000 units each month in India, which means that the opportunity in this segment is huge.  However, sharp pricing will be critical. In order to take on the Maruti Baleno, the Scala will have to duck under 4 meters in length.

The new Skoda Scala debuts the carmaker’s new design language and takes styling cues from the Vision RS concept seen a few months ago at the Paris Motor Show. Up front triangular LED headlamps with integrated daytime running lights flank a blacked out version of Skoda’s butterfly grille which also sports a thick chrome border. Underneath sits the front bumper which features an air dam running from corner to corner at its bottom edge. On either side of the bumper sitting right above the air dam are what appear to be the fog lamps.

Skoda Scala premium hatchback unveiled: Maruti Baleno rival in the making?

The sides of the Scala look sculpted and feature a character line connecting the headlamps to the snazzy LED tail lamps at the rear. The rear end itself is rather cool with the fully-glass rear window and the brand’s name written out in chrome in the blacked out section between the taillights.

The interior of the Scala is also brand new and features the use of premium materials like microfibre fabric which is used for the seat upholstery and foam on the dashboard. The multi-layered dashboard looks cool and at its centre is a large touchscreen display for the infotainment system that seemingly ‘floats’ above the rest of the dash. Skoda will also allow owners of the Scala to add a virtual cockpit display to replace the traditional instrument binnacle.

Skoda Scala premium hatchback unveiled: Maruti Baleno rival in the making?

Skoda will initially offer the Scala with three engine options – two petrol and one diesel. The first petrol unit is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit that produces either 99 Hp or 115 Hp. Also offered is a 1.5-litre petrol engine that produces 150 Hp. The final engine is a 1.6-litre diesel that cranks out 115 Hp.

The engines will be paired to three transmission options – 5-speed and 6-speed manuals and a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. For those looking for a sportier ride, Skoda will offer the Scala with a sports chassis option which reduces the ride height by 15 mm. This also adds four adjustable driving modes which users can change to tweak the response from the steering and the accelerator pedal.

The Skoda Scala goes on sale in the first half of 2019.