New 2019 Skoda Scala interior teased

Teaser image reveals interior design for the new Skoda Scala, the replacement for the ageing Rapid hatch

It has been announced that the all-new Skoda Scala hatchback is due to be revealed on 6 December, while an accompanying teaser image shows how the new Ford Focus rival will look inside.

The sketch shows us that the cabin of the Rapid replacement will draw clear inspiration from the Vision RS concept revealed at the Paris Motor Show last month. Items like the steering wheel will be toned down for the production model, although the concept’s wide, sweeping dash remains, with central air vents set below a central infotainment screen.

• New Skoda Scala prototype review

The dashboard is finished in a new textured material that Skoda says will feature in its future models, while the seats can optionally be trimmed in ‘microfibre suedia’ fabric.

The new touchscreen measures 9.2 inches, and is combined with a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display which takes the place of traditional clocks. The latter, according to Skoda, can be customised to display five different views. A Skoda Connect smartphone app allows users to perform over the air updates of the infotainment and navigation software.

Like its digital displays, the Scala’s interior dimensions are among the biggest in the class. Skoda has secured the right to use a longer version of MQB A0 than anything else within the VW Group, and this will support two new cars: the Scala, and the crossover previewed by the Vision X concept displayed at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. That car is said to be a close preview of the production model, which could be called Amiq or Anuq.

As a result, a 2,649mm wheelbase is 29mm longer than a Volkswagen Golf’s, and Skoda promises class leading interior space – rear knee room is claimed to match that of the Octavia. A 467-litre boot is 87 litres more than the Golf, and that figure expands to 1,410 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

The Scala, which means ‘stairway’ or ‘ladder’ in Latin, will allow the brand to reach “new heights”, according to Skoda and our exclusive image (above) previews how it could look.

Bernhard Maier, chairman of the board of Skoda said: “With the new Skoda Scala we are proposing a new chapter in the compact class of Skoda. It is a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class. We are confident that Scala has the best chance to redefine the segment for Skoda.”

The firm’s family hatchback is poised to transform from a cheap and cheerful offering into a genuine rival for the Golf and Ford Focus, while still occupying a clear space between the Fabia and Octavia saloon.

Like the Vision RS concept, the new model will take on a traditional two box five door hatchback profile. The light clusters appear to be sharper and slimmer than on many recent Skodas, which suggests that the production model will stay faithful to the concept. It’s possible to spot the trademark Skoda bonnet shut line at the front. A the rear, the Rapid Spaceback’s glass tailgate will be carried over, with bold Skoda lettering running left to right.

The existing Rapid has suffered poor sales outside of Skoda’s home market in the Czech Republic. Equally, while the Octavia has been a success, the car’s extra length over conventional family hatchbacks has put off some buyers.

The engine line-up for the Scala will comprise the VW Group’s latest petrol motors, including a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit with everything from 84bhp to 109bhp, and a 1.5-litre motor with up to 148bhp.

• Best hatchbacks on sale

A 1.6-litre diesel is likely to feature in the line-up, too, plus it’s conceivable that the car could be offered with a mild-hybrid petrol-electric set-up that uses a 48V-powered belt-driven starter-generator to lower CO2 emissions.

Alain Favey, Skoda’s global sales and marketing boss, confirmed at Geneva that the marque is taking a different approach with the Scala. “Despite what is happening with SUVs, family hatchbacks are a sector that is very important; still the heartland of the European market, I would say,” he said.

“Right now our position in this market is extremely weak, it has to be said, because of the current Rapid Spaceback. So you will see next year that we will launch the Scala into this segment.

“It will sit alongside the crossover previewed by Vision X, but we’re really working hard on ensuring that it appeals to a different type of customer. We think we should be able to get some more traction into this ‘Golf’ segment.”

He added: “There is a gap – right between Fabia and Octavia – that we have been trying to fill with Spaceback, and it hasn’t been doing very well. We really think with the car coming next year that we can do this better.

“The Octavia has a saloon profile, at least, and it should remain that way, but that leaves space for an obvious family hatchback, above the Fabia but below the Octavia. That’s what we are working on.”

The Scala will also allow Skoda to nudge the Octavia slightly further upmarket. It’s believed that CEO Bernard Maier is taking a personal interest in the next generation of the car, due in 2020, and that it will get a more sophisticated cabin and introduce a few new technologies to the Skoda brand.

What does the Skoda Rapid replacement have to beat? This is our list of the top 10 hatchbacks currently on sale…

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