Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Three petrol engines and three diesel engines are offered on the Roomster. The entry-level model is a 1.2-litre petrol with 70bhp which is only available in S trim. It's a three-cylinder engine, so has a distinctive note but it's not very quick with a 0-62mph time of 15.9 seconds. That said, it's fine around town and economy is a useful 43mpg. A better choice for most is the 1.4-litre petrol with 85bhp which is happier when joining fast flowing traffic.

The top petrol is the 1.6-litre with 105bhp which covers the 0-62mph mark in a more sprightly 10.9 seconds. This is also the only engine in the line-up available with an automatic gearbox, called Tiptronic, although models fitted with this transmission see economy drop from 40mpg to 37mpg. The diesels kick off with a 1.4 TDI with 70bhp. Like the 1.2-litre petrol it's only available in S trim, but it's very affordable and cheap to run with average fuel economy of 53mpg.

The same engine is available with 80bhp and is not only quicker from 0-62mph (taking 14.7 seconds instead of 16.5 seconds) but it's actually slightly more economical too. The other diesel the well proven 1.9 TDI which has been used across the Volkswagen Group. It's pretty noisy and not very refined, but does deliver punchy performance and has good pulling power.

0-62mph takes 11.5 seconds and economy is 53mpg.

Compact dimensions combined with wheels pushed out to the corners of the car helps the Roomster feel nimble. This might be surprising as it's a tall car that looks like it might be prone to body roll. But it actually goes round corners very well, and offers decent grip when pressing on. Its long wheelbase contributes to a composed ride and electro-hydraulic power steering helps retain some feel through the wheel.

It's easy to drive, and feels safe and predictable on the road - an ideal formula for a family car. Electronic stability control, which can help the driver retain control of the car during a skid, is available as an option.