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

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

    Ford B-Max

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

    Vauxhall Meriva

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

    Citroën C3 Picasso

  • 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


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Skoda range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Alpina’s D3 saloon and estate benefit from the latest BMW 3 Series updates. We've always loved it, but is it still as beguiling as ever in this latest form?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Our first UK drive shows that few supercars offer as rounded a package as Audi's new R8. It isn't the last word dynamically but it still has a lot to offer
  • First Drive
    20 November 2015
    A new 1.8 turbo petrol engine and manual gearbox make the Ibiza Cupra a more satisfyingly brutish, hands-on hot hatch, but it's still not the best of its breed