Skoda Roomster - practical and roomy

Road Tested By Hugh Maguire

Road Tested By Hugh Maguire

IT is pretty hard to categorise the Skoda Roomster into a particular class. Essentially it is a compact 5-door car that unfortunately has rather quirky looks that some will go so far as to say are reminiscent of a small van.

There are eight different models available for 2012, powered by 1.2 petrol, 1.2 TDi diesel, and 1.6 TDi diesel engines with three specification levels, Ambition, Greenline and Elegance. Judging from the Skoda Press pack this car is aimed at those looking for an eminently versatile car that puts practicality and space as its top virtues. Pictures of bikes in the load area, and shots of the Roomster whizzing down a hillside dirt road, or parked in a field while the occupants go ballooning may give you the general idea!

There are three trim levels available, Style, Greenline or Comfort. This week I am road testing the petrol powered 1.2 litre TSI.

First Impressions

Ok I have to be really honest here. It has love it or loathe it looks and for me it is the latter. Despite some nice colours and the fact that the test car had a very attractive metallic Miami Blue metallic paint work I could not say that I find it an attractive car. Furthermore it’s too van-like in its proportions.

Behind The Wheel

The cabin is both bright and roomy. The fit and finish is good and the level of standard equipment impressive. The driving position is just right with the usual reach/rake adjustment for the steering wheel as well as height adjustment for the driver’s seat. Standard equipment includes, 6 airbags, ISOFIX, airbag deactivation for front seat, ABS and MSR, rear parking sensors, electric windows, remote locking, roof rails, 15 inch wheels, cruise control, front foglights, Air conditioning, phone preparation and Bluetooth.

Accommodation is very good particularly when you study the compact dimensions of the Roomster. Uniquely it has a very versatile rear seat set up called “Varioflex”.

This easy to use system means that each of the three rear seats can move and be fully removed independently of one another. With all seat in place the luggage capacity is 480 to 560 litres, on removal of all seats it grows to a huge 1,810 litres. Furthermore there are no less than 8 combinations of seat set up allowing owners to maximise the box shaped load and rear section to the full.


The 1.2 litre 85 bhp petrol on test performed very well. Top speed is they claim around 175 km/h while the 0 to 100km times is about 12.2 seconds. This car surprisingly falls into band B I expected it to be in A. Nevertheless it proved frugal over my road test burning just 7.3 litres per 100km.

Road Behaviour

Overall the Skoda Roomster handles and rides pretty well. It proves stable with minimal bodyroll and from the comfort point of view it’s also pretty refined. Parking is easy as visibility is good and its compact dimensions make it a doddle around town.


The new Skoda Roomster is a truly practical car that is well put together and well equipped. It is not a car you will buy with your heart but rather with your head.

Prices for the Roomster start at €16,015 for the 1.2 petrol Ambition, rising to €22,265 for the 1.6 TDi Elegance model.