Top-Gear Roomster test, It shouldn’t be brilliant but it is

Topic in 'Rijimpressies' gestart door Hetzer, 19-01-2008.

  1. Hetzer

    Hetzer Forumguru

    by Jeremy Clarkson


    I daresay we all remember the bad old days when you came back from the shops with a new and exciting electrical appliance. And found it had been sold without a plug.

    Nowadays, though, thanks to the exciting Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994 (No 1768) any domestic appliance with a flexible cable must be fitted with a plug and the plug must be fitted with a fuse link that conforms to BS 1362.

    As a result, you now come back from the shops to find that your shiny new toy has a plug. But that, unfortunately, the product itself hasn’t actually been built.

    Last weekend I bought some outdoor lights for the garden. Except I didn’t. What I actually bought was a box full of pieces that could be turned into some outdoor lights for the garden. By anyone with a simple degree in mechanical and electrical engineering

    Of course, there were some poor-quality instructions which explained that all you needed to assemble your quality product was fingers like cocktail sticks and six and a half thousand tools that you do not own.

    It was truly and genuinely extraordinary to find how little had been done at the factory. And this is not a one off. These days we see exactly the same thing with furniture and all children’s toys. The outdoor garden heater I bought back in May, to annoy George Monbiot, is still in its box in six bits because I simply cannot fathom how they all go together.

    Of course I commend any company that can maximise its profits and quench the thirst of its shareholders. This is all excellent and makes the world go round, but implying on the box that the customer is buying a garden heater when in fact he’s buying a box of pieces: that’s flirting with fraud.

    How long will it be before the box contains nothing but some iron ore, a piece of the Russian gas fields and 6,000 miles of pipeline? How long before Ikea sells you a tree in Finland and a saw? And as we edge slowly towards the meat of this morning’s missive, how long before car makers catch on to the idea that people are idiots.

    At present it costs the car makers a fortune to assemble a car. The parts are made elsewhere and then nailed together by billion-dollar robots at the plant. So how long will it be before Ford notices what’s going on in the garden lamp industry and simply ships the components directly to your home. Along with a scrappy instruction book, saying, in French, that all you need to put everything together is some oxyacetylene, basic arc welding skills, and a robot.

    This isn’t as far fetched as you might imagine, because already almost all the cars we buy are made in kit form. The Aston Martin DB9 is a case in point. It was specifically designed so that the basic structure could be clothed in a different body and sold as something else. The V8 Vantage, for example.

    Then there’s the Rolls-Royce Phantom. It is built in the British factory like an Airfix kit, using parts that come in boxes from the BMW plant in Germany. Great. But think how much cheaper it would be to deliver those boxes straight to your door. Along, perhaps, with some walnut and 14 cows that you’ll need to skin and turn into seats. All you need is a large potato peeler and a sewing machine.

    The ultimate kit car, though, is the Volkswagen Golf. Its underpinnings are used to make lots of other Volkswagens, like the Beetle, as well as by Audi, Seat and Skoda.

    Sometimes I wonder why anyone actually buys the Daddy because it’s possible to buy what’s essentially an identical car. Usually for a lot less.

    But then when I look at those identical cars I stop wondering. I mean, it’s all very well imagining that your new Seat is made from Golf parts but it was assembled by Spaniards. And that’s like buying a garden lamp that has been assembled by me. Yes, it’s cheap, but every time you turn it on you will be electrocuted.

    Skoda, however, is different. As we know from all the excellent new houses that are being built in Britain these days, the eastern Europeans are fine engineers. It is in their culture, somehow.

    So a collection of German parts made by Petr Cech: that should be pretty good. The only problem is that Skoda has never actually made something brilliant enough to overcome the Primark badge on the back. Until now . . . Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for the Roomster.

    Ordinarily, there is nothing on God’s earth quite as depressing as a mini-MPV. Whether it’s a Renault Scénic or a Citroën Picasso or that truly terrible Toyota Yaris van, we know that you are biding your time until you are unlocked from the shackles of life by the blissful relief of death.

    We know that your life has turned out to be nowhere near as successful or as happy as you’d hoped. We know that you have no imagination. And we know that you have no sense either, because a mini-MPV offers exactly the same number of seats as a normal car.

    We can deduce from this that you’ve spent more money on something which comes with a bit more headroom. And what’s the point of that, unless your children are actually giraffes. And if they are giraffes, then you are plainly way too interesting to waste your life in a bloody MPV.

    The only exceptions to this rule, thus far, have been the Ford S-Max and the Citroën Berlingo: two genuinely clever and appealing cars. But the Roomster is better still.

    First of all there’s the price. It’s just £13,500. And for that you get – yes – a Skoda badge. But you also get alloy wheels, antilock brakes, a full-length glass roof, rear parking sensors, an alarm, cruise control, curtain and side airbags, electric windows and door mirrors, a front arm rest, an immobiliser, a stereo capable of handling an MP3 player, a delightful leather steering wheel, a trip computer and an astonishing array of potential seating positions in the back.

    The rear seats, in fact, are so flexible that I managed to get three kids on them. And a full-sized trampoline in the boot.

    Eventually, of course, we arrive at the styling. In the same way that you can discuss the merits of Gérard Depardieu for hours but at some point you have to discuss his nose.

    Yes. It’s odd. I’ll grant you that. It looks like a cut and shut car. A mangled up blend of Postman Pat’s van, a Wendy house and a Lancia Stratos. But here’s the thing. I loved it. I thought it was unusual without being sweet. Striking without being daft.

    I should also explain at this point that while most car makers offer only four colours – silver, silvery grey, greyish silver and grey – the Skoda brochure looks like it comes from Dulux. There’s a choice of five blues, two reds and two greens. Mine was olive metallic and it was great.

    I’m procrastinating. And that’s because the Roomster (was it named after Marc Bolan’s lounge?) has a bit of an Achilles heel. It’s, um, not very nice to drive.

    It should be fine. The front end is essentially from a VW Polo and the back from a Mark 4 Golf. But the steering is far too quick. You ease the wheel a nad and whoa, the whole thing darts left in a scuffle of tyre squeal and body roll. I liked the car so much I wanted to get used to it. But I never did.

    And then there’s the engine. It’s a 1.6 litre VW unit but not one of their best. It’s rough, unwilling to rev and not that powerful. Perhaps the diesel would be better. I hope so because mechanically the only really good bit in my test car was the automatic Tiptronic gearbox.

    Ordinarily this would be enough to render the whole car worthless. But sometimes the driving experience must play second fiddle to the whole ownership package.

    That’s certainly the case with the Volvo XC90 diesel. It’s a dreadful car to drive, really, but it’s so clever and so well thought out we’re on our second. And about to buy a third.

    The Roomster falls into this category. Yes, it’s wobbly and rough, but it’s extremely clever, well equipped and best of all it brought a great deal more light into my life than my new garden lamps. Which, incidentally, are now on eBay.

    Vital statistics

    Model Skoda Roomster Level 3, 1.6
    Engine 1598cc, four cylinders
    Power 105bhp @ 5700rpm
    Torque 114 lb ft @ 3500rpm
    Transmission Six-speed Tiptronic
    Fuel 36.7mpg
    CO2 185g/km
    Acceleration 0-62mph: 12.1sec
    Top speed 114mph
    Price £13,585
    Rating
    Verdict It shouldn’t be brilliant but it is

    bron TOP-GEAR
     

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  2. cant55

    cant55 Lid

    Very, very amusing, indeed!

    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  3. Hetzer

    Hetzer Forumguru

    :ot: ja die Jeremy kan het altijd leuk brengen, ik kijk ook graag naar TopGear op vrijdag avond, alleen jammer van die herhalingen
     
  4. Fabia

    Fabia † In Memoriam

    Volgens mij is het een en al herhaling. Wanneer komt er weer eens een nieuwe serie?
     
  5. EdK

    EdK Forumguru

    Ik denk dat zodra het bij de commercieele zenders de herhalingen ook de neusgaten uitkomt !!
    Maar die herhalingen hebben ook weer hun voordelen !!
    1 je hoeft geen afspraken meer te verzetten
    2 je hoeft geen videorecorder of dvd recorder meer aan te schaffen
    3 je mist niet meer zou gauw een aflevering omdat er toch wel een herhaling
    komt
    4 ...............
     
  6. Fabia

    Fabia † In Memoriam

    Volgens mij vinden de commercielen het alleen vervelend dat ze af en toe de reclame moeten onderbreken voor tv programma's. :ot: Ja ik weet het.
     
  7. Boet

    Boet Actief lid

    Wobbly?

    Rough?

    That Clarkson-character seems a bit spoiled actually...;)
     

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