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 Family hatchbacks

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • McLaren 720S
    Car review
    26 May 2017
    This is the first of McLaren’s new generation of cars — and what a way to begin it is
  • Suzuki Swift
    Car review
    26 May 2017
    Suzuki’s best-selling supermini returns in a new guise and with mild hybrid tech
  • Renault Captur
    First Drive
    22 May 2017
    Renault's big-selling compact crossover gets a mild cosmetic facelift
  • First Drive
    22 May 2017
    The hardcore track-focused Performante has active aerodynamics and more power than the standard Huracán - so, does it unlock the supercar's full potential?
  • Abarth 595 Trofeo review
    First Drive
    19 May 2017
    The 158bhp, 169lb ft 1.4 T-Jet Turbo engine delivers sudden bursts of urgent, energetic driving - but can it be too much sometimes?