Performance doesn't feel lacking, and what's on offer is made easily accessible thanks to a precise five-speed manual transmission with a range of suitably spaced ratios.
The diesel engine is comparatively agricultural compared to newer, or larger displacement, equivalents though. It's quite coarse, especially under load or at speed, but not to an overtly unpleasant extent. Once cruising the engine settles to a quiet thrum but there's always a slight diesel edge, unlike others that descend into comparative silence.
Our test car also exhibited a slight powertrain shunt when lifting off the throttle. While not intolerable, it became somewhat of an annoyance after a while.
Compensation comes in the form of the fact that the engine appears capable of returning good economy figures. The Skoda averaged an indicated 65mpg during our test, which took into account a wide variety of roads and speeds but little traffic.
The Skoda also rides in a clean, controlled fashion. Body roll is minimal, while the supportive seats hold you in place with ease while cornering. It steers in an easily controlled fashion too, with a linear and well-weighted response.
Inside you'll find comfortable seating for four adults, a neatly designed and smart-looking cabin and myriad practical touches, such as a large glovebox and a ticket holder. A fifth adult can sit relatively comfortable in the central rear position but will feel a little perched, so probably won't want to endure longer trips. Visibility is good too and the overall result is a cabin that feels both relaxing, useful and hardwearing.
There are some slight curiosities though, like the absence of a passenger vanity mirror and a somewhat offset seating position that leads you to feel like you're sitting rather closer to the central tunnel and dash than you'd like. There's also some notable wind noise at speed – but road noise is low.
Standard kit isn't exactly stellar but at least includes the likes of air-con, a trip computer, front fog lights, electric windows and electric heated mirrors.
As you might hope, the Spaceback scores highly when it comes to rear storage. The car has a footprint that's approximately the same size as a Volkswagen Golf but offers significantly increased boot space, for example.
With the rear seats up there's 415 litres on offer, compared to the Golf's 380 litres. Drop the rear seats and the available space rises to 1380 litres, compared to 1270 litres.
The boot is easily accessible too but there is no spare wheel; instead you get an oft-useless repair kit. This, reputedly, is to save weight – but we'd rather have the reassurance of a physical spare wheel.