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Skoda Scala 2019 revealed: Mazda 3-fighting hatch breaks cover at last

Skoda's new entrant into the ultra-competitive small car space has been officially revealed, with the Czech brand unveiling its all-new Scala overnight.

The Corolla-battling hatch has been on the teaser schedule for months, but Skoda chose to skip the traditional LA Auto Show reveal, instead opting to drop all the images of its new Scala the week after the show's official press days.

The Scala is the first Skoda to borrow VW’s broader MQB A0 platform, which underpins cars like the new Polo and Tiguan, but also previews a new design language that will shape the Czech brand’s future product. Borrowing its styling from the brand's Vision RS concept car, the Scala is a handsome hatch with a contrasting (and, on the more expensive models, mostly glass) roofline.

The name Scala, derived from Latin, translates to “ladder” or "stairs" - which doesn't exactly conjure images of technical innovation or on-road dynamics. But when you hear Bernhard Maier, chairman of the board at Skoda, explain it, it suddenly makes a lot more sense.

"With the new Skoda Scala we are proposing a new chapter in the compact class of Skoda," he says. "It is a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class. Thus we are confident that Scala has the best chance to redefine the A-segment for Skoda.

“We are starting a new chapter in Skoda’s compact car range with the new Scala. It is an all-new model that sets benchmarks within its segment in terms of technology, safety and design. The Scala perfectly embodies the Skoda-typical ‘smart understatement’.”

Internationally, the Scala will be offered with three petrol engine choices; a 1.0-litre TSI petrol unit available with 70kW and 175Nm or 85kW and 200Nm, or a more powerful 1.5-litre TSI engine that will produce 110kW and 250Nm. The smallest engine is manual only, but the rest can be paired with a seven-speed DSG automatic. 1.6-litre diesel will be offered overseas, too, and Skoda will introduce a 1.0-litre natural gas-powered engine by the end of 2019.

The Scala is 4362mm long, 17892mm wide and 1471mm high, and it rides on a 2649mm wheelbase, which Skoda says allows for the same amount of rear knee room as the bigger Octavia. The Czech brand is also claiming best-in-class rear headroom and luggage space, the latter of which will expand to 1410 litres with the rear seats folded flat

Outside, along with its shiny new suit, the Scala gets its Skoda branding printed across its boot, rather than on a badge, while the more expensive versions arrive with 18-inch alloys. Skoda is promising full LED headlights and taillights, too.

Inside, there's new soft-touch materials for the doors, including a "crystalline" grain that will feature in all future Skoda product. Suedia microfibre seats are available (though likely as an option), and ambient interior lighting will appear somewhere in the range. A heated windscreen and heated steering wheel will also appear in the standard features list.

Infotainment is handled by a centre screen that will span 6.5- to 9.2-inches, depending on your investment, but the VW Group’s Virtual Cockpit (10.25-inch display that replaces the dials in the driver’s binnacle, and which first appeared in Audi product) is now a Skoda option, too.

Continuing the tech theme, the Scala also gets the Skoda Connect suite of online services, meaning you can lock or unlock the car using your mobile phone, and you can update the software of infotainment settings over the air, with Skoda saying its newest hatchback will be constantly online.

You get nine airbags as standard, while rear side airbags are optional. Elsewhere, AEB and Lane Assist are standard, while blind-spot detection, active cruise, and side assist (a kind of supercharged version of blind-spot detection which detects oncoming traffic even further away) are all available.

The new hatchback will launch into one of Australia's most hotly contested segments - one currently dominated by the Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf.

Can the Scala push the competition down the stairs? Tell us in the comments below.

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