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by Tim Beissmann

The Skoda Roomster has been relaunched in Australia with a new engine, refreshed styling and sharper prices as the Czech brand takes another shot at the local compact MPV market.

Skoda Australia initially introduced the Roomster in October 2007 but failed to make an impact with the uniquely styled five-seater, which was priced from $26,990. In the three years before it was discontinued, Skoda sold just 235 Roomsters across the country.

But with a new starting price of $22,490, Skoda Australia is hoping to make a much bigger splash with its quirky yet versatile MPV.

The Roomster is powered by a 77kW/175Nm 1.2-litre direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder engine – the same powerplant found in the Skoda Fabia, as well as the Volkswagen Polo and Golf. A five-speed manual transmission is standard while the optional seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission adds $2300 to the price.

Combined cycle fuel consumption from both variants is 5.9 litres per 100km, but the manual is incrementally quicker when accelerating from 0-100km/h (10.9 seconds versus 11.0).

Standard features include 15-inch alloy wheels (with a full-size spare), roof rails, manual air conditioning, cruise control, multi-function trip computer, height-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tinted windows, and an eight-speaker audio system with AUX port and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Optional features include rear parking sensors, climate control, front fog lights, Mobile Device Interface system with USB connectivity, partial leather seats, and the choice of a silver, black or white roof.

At 4214mm long, 1684mm wide and 1607mm tall, the updated Roomster is 9mm shorter, 109mm narrower and 84mm lower than Skoda’s off-road-themed Yeti compact SUV.

The standard ‘Varioflex’ system allows all three rear seats to be individually folded flat or removed completely, expanding the Roomster’s cargo capacity from 450 litres with all seats in place to a van-like 1780 litres with all three pulled out. A number of storage options enhance interior practicality, including storage boxes, a flexible compartment in the side panels of the luggage compartment, and front door bins with 1.5-litre bottle holders.

The standard safety package includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control. Although the relaunched Roomster has not been retested by ANCAP, the new model should uphold the five-star rating applied to the old model.

The relaunch of the Skoda Roomster coincides with additions to Skoda Australia’s Fabia line-up, which now includes a seven-speed DSG option, a new wagon body style, and the sporty Fabia RS hot-hatch variant.

2012 Skoda Roomster manufacturer’s list prices:

  • 77TSI five-speed manual – $22,490
  • 77TSI seven-speed DSG – $24,790



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