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Skoda Roomster set to return

Czech-ing in again: The distinctive Skoda Roomster is marked for a return to the local market early next year.

Quirky Roomster mini-MPV set to re-join Skoda’s Australian line-up in early-2012

Skoda logo23 Sep 2011

SKODA Australia is set to give the oddball Roomster mini-MPV another crack on the local market from the first quarter of next year – around the same time as it adds automatic DSG, hot RS and spacious wagon variants to its Fabia light-sized car range.

Once it re-joins the line-up, Skoda Australia will be represented by members of each of the five different model ranges offered by the brand overseas.

The quirky people-mover, based on a unique front-wheel drive light-car platform that uses the front end of the previous Volkswagen Polo and the rear axle from the previous-generation Volkswagen Golf, formed part of the Czech company’s inaugural Australian line-up in October 2007.

The brand went on to sell just 233 units over a three year period before swinging the axe and deleting it from its line-up in November of 2010.

While the previous iteration of the little people-mover was powered here by either a breathless 1.6-litre petrol or gutsy 1.9-litre turbo-diesel (the latter a manual-only proposition), the returning model will rely exclusively on the 1.2-litre TSI engine also used in the brand’s Fabia and Yeti models.

The little turbo engine, which can also be found in the Volkswagen Polo and Golf, produces 77kW and 175Nm and will be matched to both a five-speed manual and seven-speed DSG transmission. Somewhat surprisingly, no diesel variant will be offered.

Skoda Australia’s product marketing manager Petr Beneda told GoAuto the returning Roomster would be aggressively priced.

29 center imageConsidering the brand announced this week that it will be selling the 77TSI version of the Yeti compact SUV from $26,290, the Roomster looks certain to undercut its own previous entry-level petrol pricing of $26,990 – with the new starting price most likely to be somewhere close to $23,000.

Its cleverly-packaged ‘VarioFlex’ five-seat interior has three separate, sliding, reclining and individually removable rear seats that can also be configured to achieve a four-, three- or two-seat cabin arrangement.

Cargo space is also a big drawcard, 509 litres available with all rear seats in place, rising to a large 1810 litres with all of them removed.

Despite its resemblance to a light-commercial vehicle, the Roomster managed to attain a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Next on the agenda for Skoda is the release of a Mazda3-sized small car based on the MissionL concept that debuted at this month’s Frankfurt motor show. Likely to be badged as the ‘Rapid’, the car is set to hit global markets – including Australia – next year.

Head of Skoda Australia Matthew Wiesner previously spoke to GoAuto about his desire to add the small car to the growing local product range.

“If you’re not in that (segment), you’re not going to drive the brand where you need to go from a volume point of view. That’s vital for us here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the larger next-generation Octavia – which looks to set to grow into a more genuine mid-sized model in line with the likes of Ford’s Mondeo – should surface in 2013.

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