Skoda Roomster 2008 Review
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- Skoda Roomster 2008
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These turn out to be quirks for everyday driving, for the wrap-around front windscreen, the low belt line and big, big rear windows make the Roomster an easy, cheerful mode of transport.
The design allows occupants a grand view of cities and countryside, allows a driver to place the wagon in traffic or in the car park with little fuss.
But there is more to the Skoda wagon than smart style — the 101 ways to arrange the back-seat accommodation for one — but it remains rare to have a machine with such distinctive body language that works so well.
The style becomes the vehicle, and for such a practical machine the Roomster attracts a good deal of attention on city streets — helped, no doubt, by a range of bright colour options.
People are taken with the styling (if not always by the price for the diesel version, just a little too high, say some).
This Roomster is a multi-purpose European machine with personality, whether out for a day's touring, carting children to school or picking up another load of whitegoods in these days of decadence.
Built in the Czech Republic by a company these days owned by Volkswagen, the Roomster comes from Skoda's own engineering and design crowd rather than via the re-engineering of a German machine.
It may be considered part-wagon/part-van but it is designed and built as an everyday family car, albeit one that's hard to match with any particular rival.
The Skoda Roomster has a little niche of its own. (Just don't tell Toyota, ever keen to fill niches — real or imagined. Not sure why but it sent us searching for photographs of the Matra-Simca Rancho from the late 1970s, a valiant effort to create a faux four-wheel-drive wagon of difference).
For all the differences today, the Skoda is backed by a five-star crash rating plus a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty that includes roadside assist.
These attributes should quell some fears about a marque that's not had a big run in this country.
The differences on the outside continue through to a welcoming interior.
The Skoda Roomster's cabin is light and cheery and inherently practical.
The roof is tall and the seating arrangements clever to keep four big adults in comfort.
The rear seat can be split 40:20:20 and the middle part removed if necessary. There are any number of arrangements for people and cargo; Skoda's VarioFlex rear seating system allows eight interior layout options, with the three separate seats able to be moved forward, back, sideways or right out of the Roomster.
Up front, the driver sits tall with good visibility in all directions. Controls are neat, tidy and pretty ergonomic, although the stereo system can need some initial study.
Also up here the squared-off centre console can annoy the driver's left knee and this Roomster had one minor issue with a bit of fit and finish around the dashboard.
But there are no complaints about the drive.
The little diesel has plenty of torque, even if the driving style needs to be adjusted a touch to spin that turbo up and get off the line with the traffic.
Once on the move, the Roomster's diesel is smart and flexible. It will lug around without complaint, rolls on with the lazy driver and with few gear changes.
The front-drive machine handles and rides fine, although here and there those 15-inch wheels feel a bit small on some lumps and through some holes.
At the end of the day the Skoda Roomster is a fine European machine with enough differences to stand out from the crowd while offering a deal of practicality.
Perhaps the only question is the pricing on this diesel version.
At about $30,000 on the road it is being sold against more conventional, and very competitive, vehicles with more established trading history in this country.
Body: 5-door wagon
Engine: 1.9 litre, turbocharged diesel
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Dimensions (MM): 4205 (l), 1684 (w), 1607 (h)
Range and Specs
|1.6||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP||$5,300 – 8,250||2008 Skoda Roomster 2008 1.6 Pricing and Specs|
|1.9 TDI||1.9L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN||$5,100 – 7,920||2008 Skoda Roomster 2008 1.9 TDI Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data