The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Skoda Roomster Scout is a great family buy with enormous amounts of space for both luggage and passengers, plus reliability and low running costs.
Reasons to buy:
- Decent to drive
How good does it look?
With chunky bumpers, classy alloy wheels and a beefy bodykit, the Skoda Roomster Scout looks the part, and appears prettier than the standard Roomster it is based upon. The slightly curious side profile of curvy windows on the front doors, and a square cut design on the rearmost, as well as the rear door handle hidden in the C pillar still remain, but appear toned down thanks to the more muscular stance of the Scout. Despite the 4×4 inspired looks, it doesn’t have any off-road ability and remains as a two-wheel-drive car.
What's the interior like?
When the Roomster was facelifted in 2010, the quality of materials used in the cabin improved enormously. Where the interior felt spartan before, the adoption of soft-touch plastics and chrome detailing has improved the ambience enormously. The design itself is well thought out, with all the major controls logically placed. The big buttoned stereo, in particular, is a joy to use, thanks to its simple, well laid out design.
How practical is it?
Thanks to its tall, upright stance, the amount of space inside the Roomster is phenomenal. Packing considerably more room inside that the Renault Grand Modus, Nissan Cube and MINI Clubman, the Skoda can carry 480 litres with the seats up, and 1,585 litres with the seats folded down. If you remove the rear seats completely, then there’s a truly enormous 1,810 litres available. Removing those rear seats is a bit of an ordeal though, thanks to how heavy they are. The smart money is on removing the centre seat completely, sliding the two outer seats inwards and creating a roomy four-seater, instead of being relatively cramped for five passengers. Headroom is generous both front and rear, and thanks to sliding rear seats, any number of permutations are possible depending on whether extra legroom or boot space is required. It’s easy to get a comfortable driving position, thanks to multi adjustable seats and steering wheel. For those that like to tow, the petrol engines can haul 900 litres, while the diesel models are capable of towing 1,200kg.
What's it like to drive?
The Roomster has lots of grip and the steering gives decent levels of feedback, but there’s plenty of body lean when driving with vigour. The suspension can get a little ruffled over uneven surfaces, but is calm and comfortable at motorway speeds. The petrol engines are hushed and refined, but the diesel engines create a lot of noise – especially when cold and at idle. Things get considerably better as the speed increases, and when warmed through. Both road and wind noise are well contained, making the Roomster a comfortable cruiser, especially on the motorway.
How powerful is it?
There’s a choice of two petrol and a pair of turbodiesels, with power outputs ranging from 84bhp to 104bhp on the 1.2-litre TSI petrol versions, and 89bhp to 104bhp on the 1.6-litre TDI diesel models. A seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox is also available with the more powerful petrol engine. The best selling diesel engine, the more powerful 104bhp unit produces 184lb ft of torque, can accelerate to 62mph in 11.5 seconds and can attain a maximum speed of 112mph. Performance figures are quite leisurely on all Roomster variants, with its versatility as an MPV a higher priority than hot hatch-like speeds.
How much will it cost me?
Affordable costs are a strong point of the Roomster with competitive insurance groupings and class average residual values. CO2 emissions are similar to other mini MPVs, with petrol engines achieving 49.6mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 134g/km of CO2. As you would expect, diesel variants improve on those figures with CO2 emissions of 124g/km and fuel economy of 60.1mpg. Diesel models pay nothing in the first year for road tax, followed by cheap tax, whereas the petrol versions cost slightly more.
How reliable is it?
Skoda always does exceptionally well in reliability surveys and puts customer satisfaction as a high priority. Skoda dealers are well regarded for their attention to detail and tend to be smaller garages, rather than faceless big dealer groups. This results in customers feeling like they are being taken care of. The only reported problems concern an issue with the diesel particulate filter which can get clogged up if the car only does urban motoring. A regular blast on fast A-roads should help protect it from getting bunged up.
How safe is it?
The Roomster was crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2006 in pre-facelift guise, and scored a top score of five stars. Though it wasn’t the current model tested, it is expected that the score still holds true for the new version, as very little has actually changed. All Scout models feature driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags as well as standard fitment of anti-lock brakes (ABS), brake assist, traction control and electronic stability programme (ESP). In addition, tyre pressure monitors are also standard kit.
How much equipment do I get?
The Roomster Scout is pretty well equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, an alarm system, air-con, electric and heated mirrors and privacy glass all coming as standard, as well as roof rails, front fog lights and an audio system that can MP3 files, as well as there being an auxiliary socket to plug a music player into. There’s an extensive optional equipment list that includes heated seats, rear parking sensors, cruise control, panoramic sunroof and half leather seats. There’s even an innovative system to carry a bicycle in the boot, which opitimises just how versatile the Roomster Scout can be.
The Roomster Scout is one of the more practical mini MPVs on the market, thanks to its upright stance, enormous load bay and the flexibility that the sliding and removable seats offer. That coupled with competitive running costs, top notch reliability and decent equipment levels, and you’ve got a family vehicle that’ll take some beating.