How Does Skoda’s New Scala Stack Against The Audi A3?

Since we brought up this topic during our recent Scala article following its official unveiling, we figured we should dive deeper into just how well Skoda’s newest 5-door hatchback compares to the Audi A3 Sportback.

Of course, it goes without saying that differences in build-quality, performance and driving dynamics are to be expected, since one of the two is the VW Group’s flagship 5-door hatchback offering, whereas the other is more budget-oriented.

Familiar Silhouette

The two VW Group models share a similar silhouette, that of a condensed compact wagon, if you will, that’s accentuated by the rear fourth window.

Compared exclusively to the Audi, you could make a case for the Scala having a slightly more modern design, although we wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s better looking than the A3 Sportback, whose styling is a lot less detailed with far fewer lines and creases breaking into the overall aesthetic.

What’s interesting though is that the Scala has a slightly longer wheelbase than the A3 at 2,649 mm (104.3 in) versus 2,637 mm (103.8 in). It also has a bigger trunk, with 467 liters (16.5 cu.ft) available with the backseat in place. The Audi? Just 380 liters (13.4 cu.ft).

So then what does this mean? Would you enjoy much greater practicality in the Scala than in the A3? Hard to say, especially since people who actually get excited by such differences in size and volume are usually best suited by cars from superior segments, like mid-sized. To put it plainly, if the Scala’s trunk capacity got you really excited, then we could argue that what you actually need is something like the Octavia Combi, which has a 610 liters (21.5 cu.ft) trunk.

Overall, if you fancy the new Skoda’s triangular partial LED headlights (which are standard by the way), or perhaps its rear end design where the glass blends in with the taillights, we completely understand. Although, the current-generation A3 can be rather handsome, especially in S-line trim.

A stalemate?

Choosing which interior you’d rather have when it comes to these two models should go a little something like this: do I want a more modern-looking cabin with a more advanced infotainment system, a much larger 9.2-inch central display, LED ambient lighting, online services and a 10.25 inch Virtual Cockpit screen? Or should I go for the Audi, which by the way has a larger digital gauge cluster at 12.3-inches, but a much smaller infotainment display.

In terms of driver assistance systems, there isn’t that much between them. The Scala comes with standard Lane Assist and Front Assist with City Emergency Brake systems, while Side Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Park Assist are optional extras. Meanwhile, you can also get an A3 with Adaptive Cruise Control, to go with the Pre-Sense system, Side Assist and Park Assist – most of those options can be pricey though.

As for overall quality, you can see that the A3’s interior features leather on the sides of the center console, more leather with contrast stitching on the door panels and we’d wager that it also has higher quality plastics and inserts. We haven’t driven the Scala yet (obviously), but multiple run-ins with the A3 have taught us that it’s one seriously well-built car – arguably still best in class, despite Mercedesall-new A-Class.

European buyers need only wait until the first half of 2019 to see the Scala in dealerships, and if Skoda is going to price it anywhere near where the Octavia is right now, then it might end up roughly 5,000 euros ($5,700) cheaper than an entry-level A3 Sportback in markets such as Germany. Although, in some Eastern European countries, the price difference could be even greater.

  • TheAmerican

    Why does the Audi look soooo old?

    • Christian

      go figure..

    • Sébastien

      Too many angles added for each “facelifts”, at least the interior is still very nice

  • Six Thousand Times

    Really like that Škoda.

  • charlie bear

    So this is a fresh and cheaper A3, bring it on Skoda. They really make good cars.

  • Eunos

    People who can afford the A3 would not even think about getting the Scala. New Skodas give impression of very good build quality and materials, unfortunately they are not as well built as older Skodas or more expensive VAGs. I have 2010 Skoda Octavia 2nd generation and 2015 Octavia 3rd generation. Over time the older model has held up a lot better, while the newer one looks more worn and has a lot more squeaking parts in the interior, no matter the lesser mileage it has done. The older one has 380 000kms on the clock and the newer one 220 000kms.

    As far as reliability, build quality and good pricing go, Skoda had its peak with Superb mk2 and Octavia mk2, they may not have as much soft plastics or nice looking finishes as the newer ones, but were built a lot more sturdy and durable.

    • Sébastien

      Loved my 2006 Octavia interior: soft materials everywhere, even rear door top panels (even a modern Passat doesn’t have it)

      • Miknik

        I had a 2010 Octavia, and it did have IMO a much better interior trim and material wise than currnet VAG cars. Cost cutting is definitely visible nowadays…..

    • wait a minute

      these comments are rare insights that motoring journalists are not qualified to make.

    • Miknik

      I’d even argue that the amount of soft plastic has in average taken a nosedive at VAG, with Skoda probably keeping their level mostly, but especially Seat, Audi and some Volkswagen have had very obvious cost cutting, with most MQB-A0 cars not having any soft materials anymore, as well as many of their CUVs swapping “cool high seating” against build quality….

    • Alx

      Agreed. The first gen 2.0TDI 4×4 Yeti I bought as new was rattling inside within a year… had to go!

  • Death Metal

    Would still pick the A3 if given the choice, though I like the previous styling of it better.

  • Sébastien

    People going for Skoda enjoys the ratio price/quality/practicality. And they don’t care about the badge.
    And surely people don’t need to go upper segment to enjoy a very decent trunk (Europe parking spots and streets encourage smaller, more nimble cars)

  • Momogg

    This skoda looks better…

  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    Wow and people think GM are bad for platform sharing. At least make them look different. One makes the other pointless, the question is which one?

  • Miknik

    Unlike what this article implicates, the A3 and Scala don’t directly share platform (and thus their basic body structure, unlike quite some VAG products), as the Scala uses the smaller and simplified MQB-A0 (and not the full flagged MQB like the A3, which is under the Octavia and Superb); Technically, the Scala is a sister car to the new Audi A1 (and Polo and Ibiza), which it IMO has licked in terms of style and interior materials…..

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