Skoda Roomster Scout

Skoda Roomster Scout KODA UK 5151

 
 

By Tim Saunders

Room is a necessity for families.

You don’t appreciate this until you become a parent. Thankfully, Skoda realises this and its Roomster, which reminds me of a Pope mobile thanks to the styling at the rear, has bags of space (up to a cavernous 1,780 litres – quite something for a small MPV). Its seats have 20 configurations so that no matter what you’re transporting the optimum amount of room can be utilised. For instance, if bicycles are being carried then perhaps one of the rear seats might be removed but if rubbish is being taken to the tip then the whole lot can be taken out.

Usually I have to make an exploratory trip to every vehicle I test before daring to show it our enormous tandem pushchair but I don’t bother with the Skoda. On lifting the large hatch it fits perfectly with room to spare. In fact there is almost enough room for the some shopping. But more about that later.

What I love about Skodas is that they always feel well built and robust. The Roomster Scout is no different. Once behind the wheel you quickly forget its shape. “There’s so much light inside due to the particularly large rear windows,” my wife Caroline notes. They are larger than the square edged front ones, which remind me of those on an old Saab 900 as you can see in the video at testdrives.biz. There’s a five speed manual gearbox but no engine stop/start and yet the 1.6-litre diesel engine will return a very respectable 60mpg.

Just as well because it has a demanding weekend ahead. On the Saturday we take it to the north of Hampshire to visit some art exhibitions and as ever time is imperative. Quickly I get used to the driving position, which is slightly higher than in a standard car making it good for overtaking and providing an added sense of security.

I forget to put the child locks on the rear doors and as we are making good progress down the outside lane of the accident blighted M3 a red sign depicting the vehicle suddenly appears on the dashboard – Harriett has tried opening her door. Fortunately I’m able to travel from the outside to the inside lane fairly swiftly to park on the hard shoulder and rectify my mistake. Hot and flustered I am grateful for the air conditioning, which is certainly effective.

The driver’s seat seems comfortable enough but extra padding in the lower lumbar region would be beneficial.

I like the layout of the dash in this Scout version which is fairly simple and easy to navigate. The leather steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake give a welcome feeling of luxury.

Generally it’s got enough oomph to hold its own but strong winds and hills can slow progress a little.

In a part of Hampshire with which we are unfamiliar we spend some considerable time trying to find a supermarket but before long stumble across one and despite the pushchair in the boot, there is enough room to accommodate all our purchases, even if some have to go on the floor.

The following day we visit London and make our way once again down the dreaded M3, reaching the capital by 1pm. During our trip I notice that there’s a bit of wind noise through the driver’s door but this is the only complaint. It’s fast and efficient and transports all my family in comfort. Parking is easy enough and the fact that we can travel with the tandem pushchair does make walking around London with our two girls much easier.

After enjoying our day we return late at night and find the map reading lights to be particularly useful. We always get confused when trying to head out of the capital but thankfully successfully retrace our steps from Southwark. We decide to head home along the A3. Now, this is a very poorly lit main road indeed and the Roomster’s headlights could certainly be stronger although full beam is effective but not appreciated by oncoming motorists.

We return home for midnight with our two girls flat out in the rear. The Roomster scores highly for its versatility and ruggedness and certainly makes a very wise used buy. It would be pretty exceptional if the little faults were improved, too.

New price: £9,990 - £16,195

Facts at a glance

Top speed: 112mph

0-60mph: 11.5secs

Economy: 60.1mpg

Power: 105bhp

Watch the video at www.testdrives.biz

 

 

 

Tim Saunders on Facebook
Tim Saunders on Twitter
Tim Saunders on LinkedIn