First released in 2006 the Skoda Roomster is the Czech manufacturer's Multi Purpose Vehicle and was designed to compete with the likes of the Ford B-Max and Citroen Berlingo. It is also available as a transport vehicle where it goes by the name the Skoda Praktik and features a 2-seater panel design.
In terms of Skoda’s rebirth as a quality mid-tier manufacturer, the Roomster is an important milestone. It's understated looks and intelligent customer-focused design show that they are more than capable of entering specialist niches and offering a good new product. The thought that has gone into making it a practical everyday MPV shows with the well-designed cabin arrangement and useful Vario-flex seating arrangement. With plenty of room for the two front passengers and a high doorline for the rear space, it's all about making small goods transportation both comfortable and hassle-free. It's a good choice for those who wish to balance carrying work goods in the week and a family at the weekend.
Given that Skoda is now owned by the Volkswagen group you can find some nice reliable engines beneath the bonnet. The range contains 3 petrol engines and 3 turbodiesel units, none of which are obsolete in purpose. The petrol powerplants all come in a 1.2-litre format which may seem underpowered for a transport vehicle. Whilst the range opening 69 BHP engine can struggle with large loads the 84 and 109 BHP options are solid and dependable options. Most Roomsters are sold with the Turbodiesels within, with the 1.4-litre powerplants offering 74, 89 and 104 BHP options. The lack of noise is a pleasant surprise and another sign that the partnership between Volkswagen engineering and Skoda prices is yielding fruit.
An area where the Skoda Roomster excels in a surprising way is in the handling. With it's tall body and decidedly straightforward suspension setup, the lack of body roll and precision steering comes out of nowhere. Whether this is the result of careful tinkering or some kind of cosmic accident, the Roomster struts to the top of the MPV class when it comes to handling. Whilst the suspension feels nicely balanced it can still cope with loads up to 515KG, which is actually more than the Octavia estate, it just doesn't feel like that should be the case. The complaints within the cabin are few, the driving position is a little low, and the seats are a little stiff compared to the competition. The price point of the Skoda also means the additional extras are a little lacking.
The Skoda Roomster has a name derived from roomy and roadster. This sums up the model well and it certainly ticks all the boxes. The unfortunate fact though is that the competition is equally as good! In the Skoda's price bracket are the Ford B-MAX and Vauxhall Meriva, not to mention a multitude of transport vehicles generally. If you need to combine carrying people and goods, the Roomster is one of many good choices in the class.