The foolish could easily dismiss the Roomster as just some novelty niche irrelevance that Skoda could do without. Foolish, because the Roomster represents a milestone in the rejuvenation of the Skoda brand, and is exactly the type of car Skoda needs to be making – cars that show practical needn’t mean boring, and cars that are much more than just watered down, re-badged VWs.

It is in fact a model for how platform sharing should work. Yes, there are the economies of scale of lower parts costs and component modularity (the chassis mixes original construction with parts from the Fabia and both new and old Octavia).

But this is combined with intelligent, consumer-focused design. Your preconceptions are most likely informed by the quirky exterior and similarity to MPV-from-a-van rivals from Citroën and Renault, but these are turned on their head by a surprisingly good drive, with genuinely practical design reinforcing this feel-good factor.

You realise that what you thought was either frivolous or functional is useful, enjoyable and desirable.

Top 5 Compact MPVs

  • The BMW 2-series Active Tourer goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf SV and Ford C-Max

    BMW 2-series Active Tourer

    1
  • B-Max's unique construction means it doesn't need conventional B-pillars

    Ford B-Max

    2
  • It’s longer and more expensive, but does bigger mean better?

    Vauxhall Meriva

    3
  • Quirky Citroëns are back, but is square the new cool?

    Citroën C3 Picasso

    4
  • Ford Tourneo Connect
    The Tourneo Connect, left, is the five-seater; on the right is the Grand Tourneo Connect which is available with seven seats

    Ford Tourneo Connect

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Skoda range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Space and practicality has never been an issue for the Seat Leon ST, and thanks to a Cupra 280 engine it's now fast, too - but does it gel as a package?
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Ariel's third model is the best yet - in fact, it's one of the best driving experiences we've ever had
  • Car review
    23 April 2015
    Mazda's Skyactiv tech revolution transforms its cheapest model
  • The new Espace is a seven seater and described by the company as a 'crossover'.
    First Drive
    23 April 2015
    Renault replaces its classic flagship MPV with a new take on the seven-seat utility vehicle, but it's not for sale in the UK
  • First Drive
    23 April 2015
    You won't find another premium, all-wheel-drive, seven-seat compact MPV like BMW's xDrive 2 Series Gran Tourer, but is there a reason for that?