The Skoda brand has really become a player in the European market, where the former Iron Curtain brand was the butt of countless jokes and jibes, much like Yugo was in the US. When Volkswagen AG took control of the brand, the cars were rapidly improved, and the current generation of Skodas are now merged with current and modern VAG platforms.
In Western Europe, the brand has an image somewhat analogous to the Hyundai brand in the US. That is, it’s no longer the butt of jokes and the brand is seen as being definitely on the rise, but it’s certainly not yet aspirational or even at the level of mainstream brands like Ford or Toyota. This is despite the current Skoda products being engineered from the same component sets as Volkswagen’s core products, namely the Polo (Fabia), Golf (Octavia), and Passat (Superb).
The Skoda Roomster represents the brand’s new design direction, intended to make the brand’s cars more expressively styled while remaining true to Skoda’s values. The Roomster is a very functional small car that is presumably based off VW Polo underpinnings and is proportioned like vehicles like the Renault Kangoo, which has found success with young and active types despite its origins as a commercial delivery vehicle. This is because vehicles like the Kangoo are tall, can fit really bulky items like bicycles in an upright position, and very inexpensive. In a sense, not really too different from the Honda Element in the US.
The Roomster is less formally styled than current Skoda products but remains identifiable as a Skoda at a glance. Like other similar vehicles, it has a very high roof and a sliding rear door on the passenger side(why doesn’t it have two like most vehicles in this class?). The look is youthful and fun, and it certainly has more than enough space for people and cargo – the car’s height is the key here.
As Volkswagen AG’s entry level brand, Skoda really should try to shoot for younger buyers, and that’s precisely what the Roomster aims to do. It’s commendable that the brand isn’t trying to appeal to these buyers by building an all-too-cliche sports or sporty car, but rather a fun and useful vehicle that can fit younger buyers’ gear and lifestyles. There is no word yet on production possibilities, but such a vehicle seems like it would be a perfect addition to this rising brand.