By the time I’d finished marking up the design analysis I’d forgotten its name. It’s the one with the word S K O D A written in free-standing letters across the tailgate.
This is the S C A L A and its role in life is replace the Rapid and to take on the Ford Focus (and the Golf, I suppose). Or to give Focus customers another reason not to buy a Focus. The USP is the umbrella in the door and the ice-scraper in the fuel-filler cap. If you really want to find out a little bit more about the way it looks, I have prepared a few notes.
This is a surprisingly hard car to write about. It is not poetic – something I have been thinking about lately. A poetic design suggests alternate meanings and encourages imaginative looking.
What is here? It allegedly features Skoda’s new styling theme or “language” as they call it. The main elements of interest are the use of Megane-a-like brightwork spars on the side glass, which strikes me as a very un-Skoda way to work with tinsel; the hatchy-estatey rear end and perhaps the slightly more distinct break in the profile between the front screen and roof panel. Sit down and have a breather, if you need to.
An interesting (for me) thing is the fact the profile of the car is rounded and the graphics are so angular. You can see this on the front three-quarter view.
The Skoda grille is developing a Kia-esque tab in the upper middle. They’ve chamfered the little vertical bars so as to catch the light and gesticulate towards the almost-triangular lamps. It’s these lamps that are most in conflict with the softer overall silhouette. And there is what I call visual
noise in the area over the front wheel arch. It’s the arc of the highlight from the undercut colliding with the straight line of the bonnet panel gap. See… just there… it’s not happy. I think this is quite an aggressive front end. Is that necessary? There’s more relief on the grille and around the lower air intake too. The sum of the shapes suggests anger and other negative emotions. Think of that nice, friendly, elegant Fabia from 1999. Grrr.
Strolling cautiously around the back (a 4362 mm walk) we find lamps extending across the liftgate shutline and dropping down at the outboard edges. Hard corners too: where the bumper-to-body shutline cuts into the lamps. At the upper outer
corner there’s a round one, jostled by that swage line. It has stance, I suppose. It’s also missing much personality, would you not agree, dear readers?
We will have to see the interior in real life to judge whether the cheques the shapes are writing can be cashed out in quality. In a way, it’s quite straightforward which I like. There is a simple slab of metallic panel across the centre with logically placed cut-outs for the vents and the figure-ground relation is clear. I presume this is as simple as anyone dares to do these days – note to our car design community friends, how about taking out half the lines and see how it looks? Car interiors are so appallingly baroque it’s time for a sharp reduction in the busy-ness coefficient.
I had a look at the rear seat. Guess what’s missing? This is supposedly a car people will drive a whole day in. At this point I am stamping on my keyboard in a blind rage and running away foaming at the mouth.
I can relate to our Dublin correspondent’s lack of enthusiasm for a lot of the new vehicles on offer in recent years. Skoda, despite its enforced position at the bottom of the heap, used to plough its own path at VAG and I get the feeling that this and other recent Skodas shows that soft, featjery wings have been clipped and the resultant cars are sinking in a foam of generic VAG shapes.
So, yeah, since it’s so bland, they really do need to write S K O D A across the back in 124 point letters. I thought they were too big at first. No, those letters aren’t big enough.