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New Skoda Scala 2020 versus the world: Czech hatch sets sights on Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla

The new Skoda Scala small hatch will replace the Rapid when it launches in June.

Skoda’s incoming Scala small car brings distinguished looks and a high level of standard equipment, but does the European hatch offer enough to take on less-expensive segment leaders?

With a starting price of $27,690 plus on-road costs for the manual 110TSI variant, the Scala isn’t so much aimed at the budget end of the market, as heavy hitters like the Toyota Corolla ($23,335), Ford Focus ($23,490) and Mazda3 ($25,590) are notably cheaper.

However, the Scala’s main attraction is its standard equipment level, with things like 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system with smartphone mirroring and a digital dash all offered in the base unit.

Other key items from standard include a wireless charging bay, an automated tailgate, rear parking sensors, a reverse camera and tyre pressure monitoring, while the standard active safety suite includes AEB, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and driver attention alert.

The Skoda Scala is exclusively powered by a 110kW/250Nm four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (international variant pictured). The Skoda Scala is exclusively powered by a 110kW/250Nm four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (international variant pictured).

The entry-spec Skoda Scala 110TSI is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission can be optioned from $28,690.

A Monte Carlo variant adds sportier suspension and visual touches, priced from $33,390, and a fully loaded Launch Edition will be offered from $34,690 for a limited time. Both the Monte Carlo and Launch Edition come exclusively with the automatic transmission.

Opting for the Monte Carlo will afford customers black exterior detailing, a panoramic sunroof, full LED headlights, sporty interior touches, dual-zone climate control and lowered suspension.

The Launch Edition features colour-matched mirrors, chrome highlights, leather/suede upholstery, unique wheels, heated seats and a larger 9.2-inch multimedia touchscreen.

Furthermore, the Launch Edition boasts extra driver assistance tech like high-beam assist, rain sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rear vision mirror as well as auto park assist.

All Scala variants are motivated by a 110kW/250Nm four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, while its aforementioned rivals each offer two engine options.

The Monte Carlo adds visual touches as well as sportier suspension (international variant pictured). The Monte Carlo adds visual touches as well as sportier suspension (international variant pictured).

From standard, the Toyota Corolla uses a 125kW/200Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit, but stands out from the pack with a 90kW 1.8-litre hybrid setup.

Meanwhile, the Ford Focus uses a 1.5-litre engine that makes 90kW/150Nm, or 134kW/240Nm in turbocharged guise, but is only offered with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Mazda3 offers the most grunt out of the bunch with its 139kW/252Nm 2.5-litre unit, although a 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre engine is fitted in all variants under $30,000.

All four models offer a comparable standard safety package and come with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

In 2020, the Toyota Corolla remains the best-selling vehicle in its segment, with 7702 units sold in the first three months of the year.

Inside, the Skoda Scala features an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (international variant pictured). Inside, the Skoda Scala features an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (international variant pictured).

Korean offerings round the podium, with the Hyundai i30 finding 6046 new homes this year, and the Kia Cerato managing 5214 sales.

The Mazda3 trails with 4003 new registrations, while the Ford Focus follows by a significant margin with 620 sales.

With only two mainline variants and a single engine option, the Skoda Scala does not offer much in the way of versatility, but its unique European styling and significant level of standard kit may persuade buyers away from its high-selling rivals.

At launch, Skoda will offer drive-away deals that drops $700 off the MSRP for 110TSI variants, lowering the point of entry to $26,990 for a limited time.

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