Where the Skoda Roomster really excels is in the interweave of functionality and originality, a fluid mix that flows throughout the car. In profile, the Roomster’s swooping curves and disjointed window lines may appear clumsy and without purpose, but in truth these inject interest and differentiation into a shape that is necessarily boxy and slab sided. The windscreen and pillar treatment, for example, are almost Saab-like.
Likewise, you might reasonably question the mismatched door lines, but the excellent access the higher rear door provides justifies the unusual design. The design is not fault free – the swooping B-pillar exaggerates your blind spot, and the boot door is so long and low-reaching that it can’t be opened in restricted spaces. But overall it wins more battles than it loses.
It's interesting to look at the original Roomster concept sketches, though, which show something very different from the van-shaped reality. Much lower and sleeker, they treated the windscreen and front door windows as one piece of glass, and had the driver at the head of what are now the rear side doors' windows. It was more Ferrari Breadvan than Skoda people-van. As topological distortions go, it's a big one.
As with its Fabia and Octavia siblings, the Roomster is offered with a pseudo-4x4 Scout option. The ride height is raised by 43mm and plastic cladding replaces the bumpers to complete the off-road look.