£9,995 - £16,325 Price range
45 - 67 MPG
The Skoda Roomster may look a bit odd, but it gets decent reviews, and is good value for money.
It lives up to the spacious promise of its name, but does that come at the expense of drivability?
There’s plenty of space in the Roomster. Up front, drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to find a comfortable driving position thanks to a two-way adjustable steering wheel and a seat that caters for height. In the back there are three individual seats that can be reclined, folded or removed as needs be. The middle seat’s a bit too thin though, and the load bay isn’t as long as you might expect.
The interior, for the most part, feels well-screwed together and of an acceptable quality for this price bracket. There are some flimsy plastics though, around the door-handles and heater controls.
The jury’s still out on the Roomster’s handling. Some testers say the steering is accurate, if not a little slow, while others feel the presence of body-roll, overly-light steering and a jiggly ride compromise the experience. The general consensus however, is that though the Roomster drives more like a car than an MPV, but if it’s thrills you’re looking for, try something else.
The engines, especially the diesels, are very vocal, but wind and road noise is well contained.
Skoda’s recent overhaul of the Roomster’s engine lineup means there aren’t very many reviews out there for any of the new engines. A quartet of 1.2-litre units are available, as are a couple of diesel 1.6s. The entry level 1.2-litre petrol is a bit weedy, but the 1.2 TSI 105 is more than capable of handling every-day driving conditions. If it’s a diesel you’re after, both of the 1.6s provide adequate pace.
All of the engines are quite frugal, especially the Greenline model which does 67mpg. They should also be quite reliable, as most of them have already been proven in existing VW group cars.
Skoda’s recent overhaul of the Roomster’s engine lineup means there aren’t very many reviews out there for the new 1.2-litre TSI. The ones we’ve seen though, paint the picture of a frugal yet lively performer.1.2-litres certainly doesn’t sound like very much with which to haul around a chunky family car, but it’s been both supercharged and turbocharged so it produces a healthy 104bhp and returns nearly 50mpg. It’s smooth, refined and surprisingly lively, though the optional DSG auto’ box feels hesitant from a standstill.However reviewers note that a well-sorted, torquey diesel would suit the Roomster’s character better. The 1.2 needs to be thrashed to get the most from it, which is something buyers aren’t likely to want to do.
The lone review of the 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine is largely positive. Though it only has 90bhp, it’s surprisingly willing and makes for a decently relaxed motorway cruiser. The fuel consumption is also very impressive, official figures claim 60.1mpg and 124g/km of CO2, meaning road-tax is completely free for the first year, and only £95 thereafter.
You’ll not be setting any speed records though, 60 takes a glacial 13.3 seconds and the top speed is only 106mph. Load it up with children and luggage, and I’m not entirely sure it’d even move.
Judging by the reviews, the 1.4-litre petrol is entirely adequate in the Roomster. It’s far from fast, with only 85bhp on tap, but it sits perfectly well at motorway speeds (All be it at 4000rpm). Considerable stirring of the gearbox is required to make any real progress, 60 takes 13 seconds at it’ll do 106 flat out. Official figures claim 41.5mpg, and 162g/km of CO2.
The 80bhp, three-cylinder diesel was the least powerful oil-burner available in the Roomster. Fuel consumption of 54.3mpg is impressive, as are CO2 emissions of 134g/km. Testers do point out though, that if you plan to carry heavy loads or undertake long journeys regularly, any of the larger capacity engines would do better.
The one review of the 1.6-litre petrol engine claims that it was the most engaging engine available in the Roomster, against the most powerful 1.9-litre TDI. 105bhp means 60 comes up in just under 11 seconds, and it goes on to a top speed of 114mph. It’ll do 40mpg and emit 167g/km of CO2.
The torquey 1.9-litre diesel was once the most powerful engine available in the Roomster range. With 105bhp on tap, it manages 60 in 11 seconds and goes on to 113mph. Testers say that although it’s a bit noisy, it works well at motorway speeds, and there’s plenty of go available from as little as 2000rpm.
The Skoda Roomster is backed by a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, which is a great thing for the MPV. Standard equipment gets six airbags, Isofix child seats mounts, and driver assists like ABS and stability control.
As one review points out, the Roomster was tested back in 2006, and Euro NCAP’s tests have evolved since then, and that means the more recent vehicles might offer a bit more safety.
Considering the amount of space you get, the Roomster really is very good value. Its asking price, which Skoda dealers are only too happy to discount, means it’s in competition with cars like the Renault Modus. The interior space though, is closer in size to a Renault Scenic.
The base model comes only with electric front windows and a CD player with an MP3 socket. Move up to SE spec’, and you’ll get remote door locking, air conditioning and parking sensors as well as a panoramic sunroof.
Front, side and curtain airbags are standard on every Roomster, as are deadlocks and an immobiliser.
The Roomster’s a great value little MPV. It’s acceptable to drive, and there’s plenty of space inside. Those looks are an acquired taste though, but don’t let them put you off – the car looks a bit boxy for a reason, and it wouldn’t have the generous amount of space it does without that silhouette.
You might need to add a few extras to get the exact specification you want, but you can rest assured it’s more car-like to drive than more van-like rivals such as the Fiat Doblo.
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