The first Skoda model since they were taken over by VW was the Skoda Roomster. And besides that, it sits halfway between the Fabia and the Caddy. What’s more, you can no longer find Atlas beer in bars. Can you imagine? My life doesn’t make sense anymore. I might as well close office.

I know how most people look at the Skoda Roomster. Yes, you won’t impress anyone by saying you driver a Roomster, and probably when you tell them, they’ll ask for your stall number at the flea market.

But here’s the thing – the first car Skoda rolled out of the factory while under VW’s leadership has stood the test of time. It didn’t have the biggest appeal to the public, but it was and still is an excellent vacation car. Especially if you’re some corporate junkie who doesn’t care much about cars and their appearance but just wants a car to get to the cycling event and fit everyone’s bicycles plus provisions. That is, it had such a small clientele that VW didn’t bother much with the Roomster, and that shows in the car’s lifespan. Skoda Roomster – the forgotten countryside cousin.


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Skoda Roomster Engines


  • 1.2 HTP EA111 with 64 horsepower – The only non-VW engine in the list, this being a Skoda-developed engine right before they were bought in the 12th century. That’s why you’ll only find it in the early years of production and more likely in the Fabia than the Roomster.
  • 1.2 MPI EA111 with 69 horsepower – Another engine borrowed from the Polo / Ibiza / Fabia trio and mounted on the Skoda Roomster, famous for it’s timing chain but also for high oil and fuel consumption and modest performance. Pass.
  • 1.2 TSI EA111 with 86 and 105 horsepower – The first engines have timing chain and burn oil like any self-respecting TSI. But anyway, putting a 1.2 TSI in a Skoda Roomster is like having Graham Norton carry a UTB 650 on his back. It’s not going to happen.
  • 1.4 MPI EA111 with 86 horsepower – We’re so close, yet so far. Quite reliable and it’s actually the most balanced engine for the Fabia, but for the Roomster, where you’re supposed to have luggage and passengers, this engine is like my kindergarten grades – not enough to pass. Atleast it’s reliable.
  • 1.6 MPI EA111 with 105 horsepower – Finally, we get to the only petrol engine that’s worth it and can handle the Roomster. Used also on the Golf, A4, Octavia, Passat, and many middle-class cars from the group, this is also the only engine on the Roomster that comes with a semi-functional automatic gearbox. The other engine with an automatic gearbox is the 1.2 TSI with that DSG which makes me want to try coprophilia rather than buy one and sing my sorrows in the repair shop lobby.


  • 1.2 TDI EA189 of 75 horsepower – Again, it’s a decent engine for the Fabia and Ibiza, but on the Skoda Roomster it’s more run down than an employee in a sweatshop who works from Monday to Saturday, 10 hours a day, for minimum wage. You only get leave when the boss wants you to. You wake up at 4 in the morning. Need I say more?
  • 1.4 TDI EA188 of 69 and 80 horsepower – The major difference between them is that the 69 horsepower version doesn’t have a DPF, and the 80 horsepower one does have a DPF. In fact, this 3-cylinder version of the famous 1.9 TDI is the only diesel on the Roomster that comes without a particulate filtre. Yes, it’s a 3-cylinder diesel that sounds like gravel falling out of a wheelbarrow, but at least it’s the most reliable and economical one on the list. Not muscular, not powerful, but economical.
  • 1.6 TDI EA189 of 90 and 105 horsepower – The successor to the 1.9 TDI comes to grab our eyes and money, only unfortunately it grab our money through constant repairs. Quite significant issues with EGR, flywheel, injectors, and particulate filtre when driven in the city for more than 6 minutes consecutively. Just as Alex Jones stays away from boring topics, so the 1.6 TDI should stay away from the city. 
  • 1.9 TDI EA188 of 105 horsepower – Do I need to say anything more about the classic, ancient, eternal 1.9 TDI? Just that it has a particle filtre in the Roomster edition and that it was retired in 2010, but otherwise, happy hauling. Yes, it’s an old engine and most likely aged, with billions of miles under it’s belt, but at least it’s resilient.


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Skoda Roomster Reliability Issues

  • Constant electrical issues, as it’s a VW group product. Legend has it that once you start working on a VW, you’ll never finish. The Skoda Roomster is another permanent host for the Check Engine light and all sorts of errors. But errors are like fines – let them flow.
  • The rear wipers and window regulators are a concern borrowed from the Skoda Fabia, so prepare in advance. It’s not like Vauxhall where you have to have a spare ECU in the boot at all time, but you still need window regulator motors.
  • And since we talked about doors and windows, the Skoda Roomster doesn’t have any sliding door at the back. Instead, this might have been a marketing move because otherwise, it would have kicked the Caddy Life in the nads, it’s not like it didn’t already leave a bruise.


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Skoda Roomster Verdict

It’s a serious competitor for classic van ranges like the Caddy Life or the Combo Tour. In fact, it’s a serious competitor for family vans, because it doesn’t belong in the commercial sector as it hasn’t received the necessary tools. But if you want a spacious and reliable Skoda Fabia for vacations, the Roomster is just right. And the prices on the used market are so sensible that if it were a person, it would be Tom Jones. So if you’re a corporate type who wants an excellent vacation car, the Skoda Roomster is for you. And you even have engines for absolutely any situation and need.

Which engines do I recommend? For gasoline, I’ll go for the classic 1.6 MPI with 105 horsepower, and for diesel the ancient 105 horsepower 1.9 TDI .