New hatchback debuts Skoda’s new design language and redesigned interior.

Skoda has taken the wraps off an all-new hatchback called the Scala. Set to replace the international-spec Rapid (India gets a badge-engineered version of the VW Vento with the same name) in Skoda’s global lineup, the hatchback is the first Skoda model to be built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 platform. Scala is a Latin word that means ‘ladder’, and represents Skoda’s ‘next step forward in the compact segment’ according to company boss Bernhard Maier.

The new car debuts what Skoda calls a “more emotional” design language, and takes design cues from the Vision RS concept that was displayed at the Paris motor show earlier this year. Some of the styling cues that are shared with the concept include the optional all-glass rear window, which replaces a more traditional tailgate and features the word ‘Skoda’ written out in place of a logo (the manufacturer’s first car to do so). This has been done in order to help distinguish the brand in markets where it is less well known, such as China.

The Scala also features an all-new cabin, with new materials throughout including microfibre fabric for the seats and soft foam surfaces for the dashboard trim. The freestanding touchscreen infotainment system can be paired with an optional 10.25-inch virtual cockpit display in place of traditional dials. The main touchscreen sits on a ‘shelf’ for people to place their hands while operating it.

The five-seat hatchback is 4,362mm long, and has a 2,649mm wheelbase, along with a 467-litre boot, which Skoda claims is the largest in its segment. The boot can be optioned with an electric tailgate opening and closing function. Other trademark Skoda touches such as an umbrella compartment in the driver’s door and ice scraper in the fuel filler cap that doubles as a tyre tread depth gauge, can also be seen.

For international markets, four engines will be offered initially – two 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrols with 99hp or 115hp, a 150hp, 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and a 115hp, 1.6-litre diesel. All will mated to 5- or 6-speed manuals, or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. There are currently no plans to introduce the plug-in hybrid powertrain.

An optional sport chassis will see ride height reduce by 15mm compared to the standard car and includes four user-adjustable drive modes for more responsive throttle and steering.

Three different trim levels – S, SE and SE L – will be on offer in some markets, all of which will get a number of driver assist systems as standard, including autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist. Adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera and automatic park assist are available as options.

The entire features list has yet to be confirmed, but higher variants will receive options such as keyless entry, wireless smartphone charging and remote door unlocking via a mobile app.

Skoda is still evaluating whether it should get the Scala to India and is keen to gauge market reaction first. In the meantime, the carmaker is working on heavily localising the MQB A0 platform that the hatchback is based on for a number of India-spec models like the T-Cross SUV.

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