By on 2019-11-29 -
Skoda Scala a great
MOST of the cars I've driven recently were fitted with a lane departure warning system - a worthwhile safety device in many situations.
But in a couple of cases, it was far too sensitive and became so annoying I had to turn it off.
Take the otherwise brilliant Skoda Scala for example. It often tried to steer me away from the nearside kerb or verge - even though I was driving on narrow two lane roads with no space to spare to the right.
I'm sure the system could be tweaked by a dealer, but it really needs to be modified in all models.
As I said above, the Scala is otherwise an excellent not so small family car - one I would be happy to live with for an extended period.
It is comfortable and refined, quick and economical and has plenty of interior space front and rear.
I drove the SE L model from the top of the range, powered by the VW group 1.0-litre TSi petrol turbo engine.
As with all turbos, there are different power outputs of this engine for different models, which the manufacturers achieve by changing the settings in the engine management computer.
In this instance, that power output was the highest 115bhp available at the moment, and it is more than enough for very good performance.
It's smooth and very quiet, only become audible as the revs rise and even then, it still remains remarkably muted.
Drive is to the front wheels - of course - through a slick and easy six speed gearbox and a very light clutch.
In the bottom five gears, it will pull happily and without fuss from just above tickover, and is pulling hard by just 1,500 revs.
Fourth is a marvellous gear for hustling on. It gives excellent acceleration from 2,000 revs making it perfect for overtaking or losing one of the thousands of tailgaters who have no idea how dangerously they drive!
The whole car has a lovely composed feel on the road, with brilliant steering that's full of feedback, and tenacious roadholding allied to marvellous balance.
It tracks through corners at high speed on dry roads - when it can be done safely - without any sign of beginning to slide.
And it's comfortable and stable on the worst of surfaces, when great suspension soaks up the worst that fractured tarmac can come up with.
The car I drove was fitted with Skoda's Drive Mode Selection, which encompasses Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual settings.
These can be used to change engine output, accelerator sensitivity, firm up the steering, and alter gearchange points in the DSG automatic models.
But I found the normal setting was the one for me, giving the best combination of all those things for everyday driving.
The Scala in this form was a complete delight to drive, hugely capable, decently fast, comfortable and very refined.
SE L trim brings a whole host of kit, including loads of airbags, stability control, excellent seat and column adjustment, alarm, satellite navigation, audio remote on the steering wheel, cruise and parking sensors.
It also has automatic braking after an accident or when an imminent impact is detected, LED headlights and that lane assist I've already mentioned.
Mechanical: 113bhp, 999cc, 3 cylinder petro engine drivingl, front wheels via 6 spd manual gearbox
C02 emissions: 113g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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