One of the motoring world’s truly oddball designs has returned to Australian roads, armed with a new engine, a better cabin and a much sharper price.
The Skoda Roomster was not a hit the first time around, but with its mixture of excellent practicality, decent performance and eye-catching value, we think it deserves more time in the spotlight during its second life.
If you can get past the looks, you might find the charming Roomster answers a question you hadn’t even thought to ask.
Model release date: June 2012
AFTER a 25-year absence in Australia, Volkswagen’s Czech brand Skoda was relaunched in October 2007.
Leading the charge were the Roomster and mid-sized Octavia – two four-cylinder engined models aimed at buyers seeking European style at Japanese prices.
A distinctively designed, front-wheel drive, five-door hatchback in the Renault Scenic vein, the Roomster had flexible, removable rear seating and up to 1780 litres of cargo space.
A single, well-equipped model was offered, in a choice of two 77kW drivetrain configurations – a 153Nm 1.6-litre petrol powerplant available in either five-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic automatic guise, or a crackling 240Nm 1.9-litre TDI turbo-diesel with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Stability control, six airbags, climate control air-conditioning, remote central locking, cruise control, alloy wheels, power windows and a trip computer were standard.
Slow sales of just 235 units over three years saw the Roomster discontinued in October 2010.