Proving that practical doesn’t have to mean boring, the flexible and spacious Roomster was a breath of fresh air from Skoda – and it handled, too.
Swooping curves and disjointed lines defined the Roomster’s exterior, but the unorthodox design helped distract from the car’s necessarily boxy proportions while introducing practical touches such as usefully tall rear doors. The chassis used a mix of Skoda Fabia and Skoda Octavia hardware, supplemented by original parts.
The hard-working 1.4-litre petrol engine cruised happily at 80mph, but a short fifth gear made motorway progress buzzy. Touring economy was a decent 42.1mpg, though. Designed to cope with a 515kg payload, the firm suspension helped elicit both surprising agility and suppleness, complemented by accurate, well-weighted steering.
A simple yet stylish interior had Volkswagen-grade fit and finish. The front seats lacked a little support, but the roomy rear included two sliding and reclining outer chairs plus a fixed central seat and lots of storage options, though shoulder room was tight. The rear seats could be folded down or removed altogether to create a 1780-litre load space.
For: Practicality, well-designed interior, handling
Against: Expensive, heavy rear seats
Price £11,505 Engine 4 cyls in line, 1390cc, petrol Power 85bhp at 5000rpm Torque 93lb ft at 3300rpm 0-60mph 12.4sec 0-100mph na Standing-quarter mile 17.7sec, 80.4mph Top-speed 102mph Economy 36.7mpg
What happened next?
Even though it remained front drive, the Scout variant of 2007 gained 43mm in ride height and rugged-ish plastic cladding to lend 4×4-aping looks. A facelift in 2010 introduced a revised engine line-up, including the arrival of more up-to-date common-rail diesel units, and the Roomster soldiered on until Skoda called time on it in 2016. Today, typical prices range from £1k to £10k.