While Kia studies the Ceed for India, Skoda is evaluating the Scala that it unveiled in Tel Aviv, Israel last week. The new hatchback is the Rapid Spaceback successor in Europe.
The Indian automobile market isn’t ready yet for C-segment hatchbacks, as the tax structure is such that cars measuring more than 4,000 mm in length are costlier, and the effective pricing makes consumer tend towards SUVs and sedans for their higher status. However, Skoda is looking at the Scala as a brand-building model.
“We will start with cars that are being developed specifically for India and then look at more models for the Indian market and the new Scala could be one of them,” Bernhard Maier, CEO, Skoda Auto, told Autocar India at the car’s world premiere event.
The company is already in the process of gauging market feedback, but it may take until 2022 before the Scala can be introduced in India as the company has lined up 2 models in the premium SUV and sedan segments. It is usual for companies to evaluate models from the international lineups for suitability in India, an example is the European Rapid which the then Skoda India CEO said could be a variant extension in India.
The Skoda Scala is 4,362 mm long, 1,793 mm wide and 1,471 mm tall. It has a 2,649 mm wheelbase. The long wheelbase allows for a generous rear knee room, an aspect that is of particular importance for Indian customers in premium cars, of 73 mm. The elbowroom in the rear is 1,425 mm.
The boot space is 467 litres, and expandable to 1,410 litres on folding down the rear seats. Underpinning the compact hatchback is a modified version of the MQB A0 platform that forms the basis for the VW Polo, Seat Ibiza and several other internationally available VW Group models.
If Skoda India decides to introduce the Scala, it will specify the car with the range-topping engine, the 1.5-litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder unit that develops 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque. This engine is available with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard and the 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission optionally. In our market, based on the purpose the company wants to launch the car for, expect the latter as standard.
Full-LED headlights and tail lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, dynamic rear indicators, panoramic glass roof, electric tailgate, 10.25-inch virtual instrument cluster, 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 10-speaker sound system with a subwoofer and nine airbags are some of the main features of the Skoda Scala.
Skoda is not focusing on the price of the Scala, and so, as in addition to the top-of-the-line engine, it will likely offer most of the high-end equipment as well. The price could fall in the INR 15-20 lakh (ex-showroom) range if its a CKD operation. In Europe, the company expects the car to reach showrooms as early as in H1 2019.