Given how Skoda bills the Scala’s new-generation design language and its distinguishing ‘emotional appeal’, you might conclude it was intended to make a statement. But you wouldn’t want to predict how widely that statement will be perceived, or exactly where it will take its maker.
This is a dynamically respectable car which, with Skoda’s 1.5 TSI Evo four-pot, has an engine that can deliver strong performance, good refinement and decent economy. It might be smaller than an Octavia but it remains more practical than most hatchbacks. It might not have the quiet, rubber-footed ride of its most comfortable rivals, but it handles tidily and is easy to drive. And the interior might suffer a sense of by-the-numbers anonymity, but it’s not short of equipment or tactile substance.
Considering the Scala’s price, and how much less rounded the Rapid was (the last Skoda to use a supermini platform adapted for a larger market segment), we must recognise progress where we find it. For driver involvement, dynamic character or truly imaginative design, however, we will continue to look to brands other than this.