If your work involved motoring in the last four months then life has been pretty tough due to the Coronavirus.
Cars sat outside homes unable to move properly because of the government restrictions and going to see new cars let alone drive them was nigh on impossible.
So when you at last got to drive a new one thankfully you were happy when a new Skoda came your way. They only make good ones these days.
My car was the Skoda Scala, the five door family sized C-segment Scala hatchback which was launched at the end of last year. It was a replacement for the Rapid range which sits between the Fabia supermini sized hatchback and estate models and the Octavia C/D-segment hatchback/estate models.
The Skoda Scala is one of the best affordable family hatchbacks around which provides a good level of both space and comfort at a price most people can afford.
There is a headline-grabbing £16,595 start price and it is practical with specs which are high across the board and even the entry-level models get LED headlights, a leather steering wheel and a space saver spare as standard plus 16-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch infotainment system with DAB radio and a host of safety equipment include lane assist
Buyers have the choice of three engines, of two petrols and one diesel with power outputs ranging from 95PS to 150PS. All engines, with the exception of the entry-level 95PS unit, are available with the excellent seven-speed DSG transmission.
Skoda has also packed a huge amount of space into the Scala as well with a boot which is almost 500 litres and the ride comfort is fine and most versions get 16-inch wheels as standard.
Most customers will go for the 115PS 1.0-litre TSI petrol, which gives you almost 50 mpg but the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol has the smoothest engine in the range, pulling strongly from low revs and is damn punchy all the way round. An entry-level 95PS petrol will follow later in the year.
The Scala replaces the Rapid and sits between the Fabia and Octavia in Skoda’s range. The range is made up of three trim levels: S, SE and SE L.
The mid-range SE model is priced from £18,580 and adds cruise control, rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, integrated umbrella, and height adjustable passenger seat.
Topping the range, the £20,380 SE L adds a new 9.2-inch infotainment system, digital cockpit, climate control air conditioning, keyless entry with start/stop and a colour multifunction trip computer. The exterior design features 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED rear lights, dynamic indicators and privacy glass on the rear windows. Inside, the seats are finished with silver Microsuede trims and chrome details on the dashboard, door panelling, gear and handbrake lever.
With its 2469mm wheelbase, Skoda claims the Scala offers class-leading rear headroom. I was lucky to get the range-topping Monte Carlo sports spec level. The family loved it which was helped by the fact we were going out for lunch for the first time since March.
Scala Monte Carlo customers can choose between two TSI petrol engines; a 1.0 TSI 115PS and 1.5 TSI 150PS, both of which can be specified with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG gearbox as an option. At the top of the range, Monte Carlo models are priced between £22,680 and £25,350. Deliveries are doing well.
The new Scala Monte Carlo features an exterior design package that includes full LED headlights and tail lights, sport front bumper, extended tailgate glass, panoramic roof and black trim around the radiator grille. It also features a distinctive black rear diffuser, rear spoiler and black lettering across the tailgate. Striking 18-inch black Vega alloy wheels complete the exterior design package.
The Scala Monte Carlo’s interior features an Amundsen infotainment system with 9.2-inch display, Virtual Cockpit, sports seats and a sports steering wheel. Monte Carlo owners also benefit from red ambient LED lighting, a black roof lining and leather pack with distinctive red stitching. Aluminium pedals, chrome surrounds on the air vents and door sills with Scala lettering completes the interior design package.
My version had an insurance group rating of 19E and benefit-in-kind company car tax is rated at 29% due to its WLTP rated CO2 emissions of 133 to 152 g/km. Fuel economy is around 45mpg and first yearVED road tax costs £215 followed by £150 Standard rate.Top speed is more than 135 mph and 0 to 62 mph acceleration is just over eight seconds.