SKODA is looking to put the boot into the UK's top selling compact hatchback when it launches its new Scala model next year.
For the newcomer - Skoda's first entrant into this sector of the market - will have more boot space than the market-leading Ford Focus in spite of having more compact exterior dimensions.
The new Scala is shorter and narrower than the Focus but can pack 467 litres worth of gear into the space behind the back seats compared with the Focus's 341 litres. Fold the seats down and available space increases to 1,410 litres compared with the 1,320 litres available in the Focus.
The Czech company says that in spite of its compact dimensions, the Scala has almost as much interior space as the bigger Octavia with the same back seat kneeroom of 73mm, almost as much rear elbow room - 1,425mm compared with 1,449mm for the Octavia and slightly more head room.
Skoda has issued fuller details of the newcomer and our first pictures of camouflaged development models under testing give the best clues yet of the five door hatchback's final design, which has been kept a closely guarded secret until now.
No details are yet available of UK specs and prices or when the Scala will reach UK showrooms, but Skoda promises state-of-the-art, safety, driver assistance and infotainment systems with a choice of five different turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, five and six speed manual gearboxes and a seven speed DSG auto.
Skoda boss Bernhard Maier says: "With the new SkodaScala we are opening a new chapter in... it is a completely new product which sets benchmarks inthissegment with regards to technology, safety and design."