August 11, 2013

Review: 2013 Škoda Roomster

This summer, we made a new friend: Jasmin is a warm-hearted, many-sided person with a sunny disposition, and quite without fear. She currently lives in Prague, but her life story spans three continents. She speaks three or four languages fluently, and will engage in a lively conversation about almost any subject you care to bring up, in several languages at once if necessary.

Jasmin had made the trek from the Czech Republic to the Netherlands, accompanied by her diminutive shih-tzu puppy Gracie, in Jasmin's Škoda Roomster, stopping here and there on the way to visit Jasmin's many friends.

Photo Cellotrixx via Wikimedia Commons

The Roomster is a worthy match to Jasmin: it also is versatile, up for anything, and offers plenty of room inside for friends. With its slightly raised seats it embraces you with an easy welcome. In the front, the wraparound windows give you a good view around. Children rejoice: in the back, the windows are actually taller than in the front, defiantly going against the current trend of the disappearing side window.

Not only that, in the Roomster's "VarioFlex" seating arrangement all three seats in the back row can be moved forward and backward independently: if you're trying to fit three child seats in the back row, this might make all the difference between success and having to buy a big minivan to accomodate your third child.

Flipping down the back of the middle seat allows the safe transport of a cello. Removing the middle seat altogether makes space for street gear like a skateboard. Removing one or both side seats allows you to carry one of more adult bicycles. Toss out all the back seats and the rear of the car becomes one cavernous cargo space for transporting whatever is important to you.

Jasmin kindly let me take a spin in her Roomster. The car had nimble handling (parking in Holland's tiny parking spots no problem), its five-speed gear box was pleasingly smooth, and its 1.2L gasoline engine (with less than 70HP - it was a few years old) did very well in city traffic among the vigorous-driving Dutch. It also carried Jasmin and her puppy on the German Autobahn just fine. The only change Jasmin would like to see in her car is improved fuel consumption.

Indeed, the 33 mpg reported by German drivers is distinctly underwhelming for a 1.2L engine - but that might have to do with the German driving style. British drivers report an average of 37 mpg. Of course, opting for a turbodiesel engine can get you a much larger improvement: in fact, the 1.2L TDI engine in the GreenLine II Roomster averages 46 mpg even when driven by Germans: that's more like it.

If I were the owner of a small business: a baker, say, or a florist, this versatile car could be my carry-all vehicle, inside and outside working hours. Its low price, and low fuel consumption, is friendly both to small businesses and families. It would be more than fine for a family of four with one or two cellos.


Škoda Roomster

1.2 TSI 86PS GreenLine II
Type S 1.2 TDI CR 75PS
Year 2013 2013
Emissions rating  
MSRP £ 12,615 £ 16,195
CelloMom Rating
Fuel Economy:
City/Hwy quoted 33 / 48 mpg 47 / 64 mpg
Avg. quoted 41 mpg 56 mpg
Avg. actual 33 mpg (37 in GB) 46 mpg
Carbon emissions, quoted 134 g/km 109 g/km
Engine 1.2L TSI 4-cyl 1.2L TDI, 3-cyl
Power 85 HP @4800 rpm 74 HP @ 4200rpm
Torque 160 Nm (112 lb-ft) @1500-3500 rpm 180 Nm (133 lb-ft) @2000 rpm
Transmission 5 spd Manual 5-spd Manual
Fuel Unleaded gasoline Diesel
Length, mm(in) 4214 mm (165.9 in)  
Width, mm(in) 1684 mm (66.3 in)  
Height, mm(in) 1607 mm (63.3 in)  
Weight, kg(lbs) 1146 kg (2526 lbs) 1239 kg
Trunk volume, liters(cuft) 480 / 1585 L (17/56 cuft)  
Turning radius, m(ft)    
Top speed, kph(mph) 107 mph 103 mph



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