Skoda Roomster -

Used Car Review

Skoda Roomster, rear
Skoda Roomster, rear

PRACTICALITY is what the Skoda Roomster is all about making it an excellent smaller family car with big space.

The offset window height of the side windows is not pretty, and simply looks like a gimmick at first glance.

But sometimes these design features have an excellent reason. Those windows are great for smaller children sitting in the back because it gives them a much wider view of the world passing by, and that can be a great boon to young families.

And even though there's a large boot with the rear seats in place they fold or can be removed to make a gargantuan load area.

The Roomster, which was built until 2015, is an excellent five seater and in the mould of all recent Skodas, just as well built as the cars from parent company Volkswagen.

Petrol power starts with a 1.2, but this has only 70bhp and is only available in base S trim.

It's a three-cylinder engine, with a pleasant, distinctive sound, but it is painfully slow and to be avoided, even with its 43mpg economy.

That same engine is also available with an added turbocharger under the TSI guise. These sprint to 60 in 10.6 seconds and are rated at 49mpg economy.

There is also a 1.4-litre petrol with 85bhp giving a 0 to 60 time of 12.4 seconds and 41mpg. Petrol offerings top out with a 1.6 that matches the 1.2TSI for acceleration but can only do 40mpg at very best.

There are three diesel units but the base 1.4 has just 80bhp and takes more than 14 seconds for the ‘sprint'. It's rated at 55mpg.

Earlier models were also available with a 1.9TDI, that came with 105bhp and brought up 60 in 11.1 seconds while being capable of 53mpg.

This was replaced by a later designed 1.6 with the same power output and acceleration, but capable of 60 miles per gallon.

The 1.9 is noisy and not very refined - and the 1.6 is far better.

All Roomsters feel nimble through corners despite their height and offer decent grip when pressing on.

The long wheelbase helps to give a very composed and supple ride too and the VW group power steering is, as ever, right up with the best, giving excellent feel and feedback.

Two different automatic gearboxes were available in some models - a Tiptronic and the well-known DSG twin clutch. But all figures are for the manual.

The controls are light, the gearchange easy and the brakes superb. The driving position is excellent for all sizes, and visibilty is marvellous all round apart from the quite thick pillars now common for rollover safety.

It's also very easy for drivers of all sizes to get comfortable thanks to a height adjustable driver's seat and height and reach adjust steering.

The clever rear seats give great flexibility between passenger and luggage space. They can slide and recline and any of the three can be folded or taken out.

A Scout version with added 4x4 look body cladding and a higher ride height was added, but it doesn't have four wheel drive.

Equipment is fair in cheaper versions, but the SE has four electric windows, central locking, parking sensors, electric heated mirrors, alarm, air con and alloys.

Pay around £4,700 for a '14 14-reg 1.2 TSI SE, or £5,150 for a '15 15-reg 1.6 TDI Scout.

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