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Introducing

 

Skoda Roomster

 

A New And Exciting Little Multi-Purpose Wagon


by Stephen Walker


27th March, 2008

 

Skoda Roomster

It looks like no other little wagon on the market. This fact makes the new Skoda Roomster an interesting vehicle and adds a great deal to the curiosity value.

Made in the Czech Republic, the Roomster is just one of five current models which Skoda has made popular throughout Europe in recent times. The go-ahead brand has secured record sales in recent years and has set some impressive targets for the future. Although the times are challenging for numerous automotive brands, Skoda has positioned itself in a marketing environment where the world just cannot get enough of the famous old Czech nameplate.

The Skoda brand, by the way, was acquired by Volkswagen during the 1990s.

The name Skoda isn't unknown in Australia. The brand had a presence here in the early sixties and, once again, in the early to mid-eighties. However, each of these short episodes doesn't appear to be remembered by many of the folks that I speak with.

As part of the brand's worldwide expansion, Australians now have the opportunity to acquire a model wearing one of the oldest brand names in the world. Skoda has released the Roomster, together with the larger Octavia in Australia. Additional new models will appear in due course. The next new model from Skoda is likely to be the Superb, which is a large sedan due late this year or early next year. Other models are likely at some point too, as the brand is expanding its model range to capitalise on its success.


Skoda Roomster ..... the distinctive appearance is just the beginning

Just one highly specified model of the new Skoda Roomster is available in Australia. There is a choice of engine and transmission.

Numerous creature comfort type items and several handy storage arrangements make the innovative design of the Roomster an admirable option for motoring with all the necessities of life safely on-board and conveniently stowed. Things like bottle holders on the front door trims, a 2-part glovebox, shopping bag hooks and netting in the luggage compartment, together with a 'table' effect on the rear centre armrest make our motoring life just that little bit more convenient if not easier.

The large glass area provides an exceptional panoramic view of the surrounding area, which would be especially enjoyable for those travelling the scenic route when holidaying with family or friends.

Standard Equipment

  • Electronic Stabilisation Programme
  • Six airbags (front occupant airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags)
  • Alloy wheels
  • Cruise control
  • Disc brakes (front and rear)
  • Power steering
  • Central locking
  • Air conditioning
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Power windows (front and rear)
  • Audio system with single CD and MP3 player
  • and numerous other items

Prices (RRP) for the Skoda Roomster

Roomster 1.6 petrol five-speed manual $26,990
Roomster 1.6 petrol six-speed Tiptronic automatic $29,290
Roomster 1.9 TDI diesel five-speed manual $28,990

Options (RRP)

  • Metallic paint $540
  • Pearl Effect Paint $540
  • Roof rails $330
  • Park Distance Control (rear) $690
  • Panoramatic roof $1,690
  • and numerous other items


Technical features of the Skoda Roomster

Engine and transmission choice

The Roomster is available with a choice between two engines.

1.6 Petrol

The 1.6 litre in-line four-cylinder petrol engine develops 77 kW of peak power at 5,600 rpm and a maximum of 153 Nm of torque at 3,800 rpm. This engine features 10.5:1 compression and direct injection technology. Its recommended fuel is 95 RON unleaded. It is matched to a five-speed manual gearbox or an optional Tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission.

1.9 TDI Diesel

The 1.9 litre turbocharged diesel engine with 19:1 compression and electronically controlled high-pressure direct injection system develops 77 kW of power at 4,000 rpm and 240 Nm of torque at 1,800 rpm. This engine develops more than 200 Nm of torque between 1,400 rpm to 3,600 rpm, offering effortless mid-range tractability and is matched to a five-speed manual transmission.

Fuel Economy (combined cycle)

1.6 litre petrol engine: 7 litres/100 kms (manual), 7.7 litres/100 kms (auto)
1.9 litre diesel engine: 5.3 litres/100 kms (manual)

Pollution (CO2 emissions)

1.6 litre petrol engine: 167 g/km (manual), 185 g/km (auto)
1.9 litre diesel engine: 139 g/km (manual), an excellent result.


Warranty

The warranty period is 3 years (unlimited kilometres). Roadside assistance is included.


Safety

All manufacturers want a EuroNCAP 5-star rating for crash worthiness for their products. The cold hard fact is that not all products achieve such an admirable result in stringent crash testing by the independent organisation. But the Skoda Roomster achieved a five star result and, as such, is a highly regarded car which has six airbags as standard. Importantly, an electronic stability programme (ESP) - which includes anti-lock braking system (ABS) and anti-slip regulation (ASR) - is standard fitment for the impressive little Skoda Roomster. Also included as standard are brake assist and electronic brake distribution (EBD), making the combined safety aspects of the Roomster a prime consideration for favouring the Roomster over some of the competitor's offerings. In addition, Skoda advise "the Roomster's body structure features defined load paths that reduce and control generated collision forces and channel these into the floor structure, away from the occupants. Thus the interior remains as a survival space inside which the biomechanical loads on occupants remain below permissible limits, mitigating the chance of injury."

Full marks to the Skoda Roomster for the impressive safety standard.


Colours

Eight colours are offered on the Roomster, Candy White, Corrida Red, Dynamic Blue, Diamond Silver metallic, Ocean Blue metallic, Brilliant Silver metallic, Anthracite Grey metallic and Black Magic pearl effect. The metallic and pearl effect colours are an option.


On the road in the new Skoda Roomster

In taking a brief drive of both the petrol and diesel versions of the Roomster, I quickly came to an important conclusion. The diesel was a more enjoyable drive. The 1.6 litre petrol engine just doesn't offer enough get up and go to actually get up and go. Sure, the 1.6 petrol will suffice many people who don't require a lot of get up and go to actually get up and go, but the extra torque provided by the 1.9 litre diesel is handy. Besides that, the diesel uses less fuel, but sure the Roomster with a diesel engine costs more too. We have a full road test coming up soon on this new model.

The seating up the front is comfy and the rear seat is of the cinema seating variety (meaning that the back seat is raised a little, in comparison to the height of the front seat). There is suitable room for 2 adults (or 3 children) in the second row seating. The luggage area offers plenty of room and there is flexibility with the back seats to accommodate a variety of requirements for load carrying.


Conclusion

With trendy good looks and a high degree of versatility, the future is bright for the Skoda Roomster. Some potential buyers may hesitate when they see the price. However, the Roomster is not your average cheap car. It is well equipped with very good quality immediately evident upon inspection. It drives well and the design is difficult to fault. And best of all, the safety aspects of the Skoda Roomster make a compelling case for this practical and unique small car.

Our distinct preference, though, is for the diesel version.

The only impediment I see for Skoda in Australia is the small number of dealers. With only ten dealers across the entire country, many people will have to travel a big distance to seize the opportunity of acquiring a car wearing the famous old Skoda name.




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Other Skoda content: here.



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