Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Hitting Australian showrooms in 2007 the Skoda Roomster had little success in OZ which lead it's disappearance three years after its release. After a brief hiatus the Roomster is back. Launched in June 2012 the Roomster is looking funkier than ever. The styling of the Roomster is very much a love-it or hate-it affair, basically Skoda have taken an Octavia and smashed it into a Fabia. It's kind of like that movie - The Island of Doctor Moreau when Marlon Brando, a crazy scientist attempts to convert animals into people. The end result is the Skoda Roomster. At the front the Roomster is identical to its smaller brother the Fabia, featuring a lower grille air vent that resembles a grinning face, moving up the front grille has vertical lines that run from the centre outwards and are met by a set of small bug 'like' headlights. Meanwhile the centre of the bonnet features a small rise that starts from the Skoda emblem and makes its way to the bottom of the windscreen. From the side the Skoda Roomster is quite unique, the front windscreen is steeply raked, and slopes backwards creating a wedge shape. Meanwhile the rear doors give the illusion of a sliding door because of the hidden door handles that blend into the blacked out c-pillars. From the rear the Roomster is very squared featuring very smooth and subtle lines while the large vertical rear tail lights emphasise this.
Not so good As mentioned before the styling is a love-it or hate-it affair. If you're a fan of all things quirky then you'll love the Roomster.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Inside, the Roomster is well errr..... Roomy. The extra large glass windows give you a great 360 degrees of visibility and the raised rear seats also give passengers a greater view from the back. The interior features a whole host of quality soft touch and tactile plastics. Both driver and passenger seats have high levels of adjustability so there shouldn't be any problems getting comfortable. All centre controls are well laid out and easy to view and use. The sound system features a black background with white illumination that has an old school retro feel that is kinda of cool.
Not so good Overall, the interior design and feel is quite nice, however its quite bland in terms of colour design - with only the choice of grey or black the interior colour options dont match the funky exterior design. Also the controls for the trip computer located on the centre stalk are fiddly, there was numerous times we tried to scroll through the menu only to set the windscreen wipers off.
Performance

Performance

Good The Skoda Roomster is powered by a 77TSI engine, deciphered this means a 1.2-litre In-line four-cylinder Turbocharged petrol engine that is capable of 77kW of power and 175Nm of torque. Now, this might not sound like much but the 77TSI matched to a 5-speed manual or 7-speed DSG (optional) is a great little power plant. Zipping in and out of traffic and cruising along the highway is a breeze. It's also pretty good on fuel too, the 5-speed manual sips only 5.9-litres per 100/kms on a combined cycle (official claim) and 7.3-litres per 100kms in and around town (official claim).
Not so good We can't really knock the 77TSI because it is a great little power plant, however, it would be nice if there was a diesel option available.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Skoda Roomster features a tailor-made underpinning because the Roomster is based off two cars. The wheelbase measures in at 2,608 millimetres giving the Roomster high levels of stability and grip. Handling and ride performance is thanks to McPherson struts up front and a lightweight semi-independent layout that takes care of the rear wheels. The Roomster is also quite nimble for a vehicle of this size, the reasonably low kerb weight further enhances steering and dynamic handling capabilities. Overall, we were really impressed with the way in which the Roomster just went about its business without any fuss or hesitation.
Not so good Nothing to report here, the Roomster handles great and feels comfortable on the road. It's no sports car but it gets the job done.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The Skoda Roomster is great value for money thanks to its reduced price from previous models and generous amounts of standard equipment levels and lower running costs when compared to its Volkswagen cousins. The innovative Varioflex rear seating system is also a bonus allowing you to fully customise the rear seats to suit your cargo needs. All three seats can be folded flat while the middle seat can be removed altogether. There is also a whole host of standard features that include dual front, side and curtain airbags, electric front and rear windows, black roof rails, 4-spoke multi-function leather steering wheel (including radio and telephone controls), Bluetooth phone connectivity and an MP3 compatible CD radio with 3.5mm aux-in socket.
Not so good With so much value on offer the Roomster is a tough one, perhaps the only thing that will hold sales of this cheeky Czech is styling. It's a love / hate affair.