It's not quite a car, not quite a van - so what is it? As you now undoubtedly know, Czech car manufacturer Škoda have entered the Australian market, and this quirky looking car is the first of their offerings - the ŠkodaRoomster.
Appropriately named for its abundant cargo volume - all 1780 litres of it - the Roomster may seem out of place on Australian roads, however overseas it has won Car of the Year in Estonia, Finland and Bulgaria, and Family Car of the Year in Sweden and Belgium.
The Roomster adapts to any lifestyle, perfectly suited as a practical two-seater, spacious family car or cargo-friendly runabout.
With ESP as standard and a five-star NCAP crashworthiness rating, it is also one of the safest drives on the market, catering not only for passengers - having achieved a four-star child protection rating - but also by meeting pedestrian protection standards not required in Europe until 2010.
Versatile seating configurations quickly adapt to fulfill a multitude of roles, effective as either a five-, four-, three- or two-seater.
While not a direct competitor for any vehicle on the market, Škoda lists the Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza 2.0i and Mazda3 as its primary competition.
The Roomster is offered with a choice of two engines: a 1.6-litre petrol which develops 77kW of peak power at 5700rpm and a maximum of 155Nm of torque at 3500rpm, and a 1.9-litre TDI diesel which develops 77kW of power at 4000rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1800rpm.
Both the petrol and diesel models share a five-speed manual transmission, whilst the petrol has the option of a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic which sends power to the front wheels.
Standard equipment includes:
- Remote central locking
- Front and rear power windows
- Electrically adjustable heated rear-vision mirrors
- Climatronic air conditioning system
- Eight-speaker radio/CD/MP3 in-car entertainment system
- Cruise control
- Alloy wheels (6J x 15-inch, with 195/55 tyres)
- Multi-function onboard trip computer
- Leather-bound steering wheel.
Standard safety features include:
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
- Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
- Engine Braking Control (EBC) which prevents the driven wheels from locking if the accelerator is lifted suddenly.
- Front, head and side airbags (six, in total).
- Five stars for occupant protection and four stars for child protection.
- A deformable bonnet and de-coupled or covered rigid forward structures distinctly reduce the likelihood of serious pedestrian injury.
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