Skoda Yeti – So far from abominable it’s not true

Next up in our line-up of cars from the important crossover segment is the Skoda Yeti.

Skoda Yeti review


What is it?

Let’s get one thing out of the way straight away shall we? The name. Despite the negative connotations surrounding the name “Yeti” such as it being the “abominable snowman of the Himalayas” and being well, abominable, someone at Skoda decided it was a great name for a car. I don’t agree I think it’s a terrible name for a car but then it is better than “Roomster” and despite the name Yeti (the car that is) is streets ahead of its stable mate in the looks department. The Yeti made its international debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show and in June 2011 surpassed the 100,000 units sold mark. In the UK the Yeti comes in 4 trim levels E, S, SE and Elegance. The model we tested was the Yeti 1.8 TSI 4×4 Elegance with a “Black Magic” pearl effect paint job which has a OTR of £22,960. The Yeti has won a host of awards during its short life including Top Gear Magazine’s best Family Car 2010 and the prestigious Auto Express Car of the Year and has a 5-Star NCAP Crash Safety score: 92% Adult Protection, 78% Child Protection, 46% Pedestrian Protection, 71% Safety Assist.

First impressions

Now our first impressions of the Yeti were destined to be fantastic for two very important reasons. Firstly the car Skoda provided us with was the top of the range Elegance 4×4 1.8 TSI so it had leather, sat nav, “Black Magic” paint job and therefore looked as good as any Yeti is going to and secondly the day before we’d bid farewell to our Proton GEN-2 Persona (review to come). If you have ever sat in a GEN-2 you will appreciate what I mean when I say it’s like going back 15 years in terms of aesthetics and design so leaping out of that into the sumptuously appointed and wonderfully put together Yeti is like giving a full English breakfast to someone who hasn’t eaten for a week. It is said that one cannot truly experience joy unless one has also experienced despair and the Yeti seemed like the perfect ying to the GEN-2’s rather imperfect yang. Anyway enough of the spirituality, the Yeti is perhaps not the most stunning of designs in terms of its kerb appeal but it has a sturdy, no-nonsense and yet somehow elegant look that I found rather alluring.

What’s it like, then?

Sliding behind the wheel for the first time I was struck how roomy it was inside and the large windows and high roof add to this feeling of spaciousness. The seat and steering wheel are eminently adjustable and I found my best driving position in a matter of moments. The controls are well laid out and you can tell straight away that the materials used are good quality (again the Yeti benefiting with a direct comparison to the GEN-2 – note to self…stop doing that!) Rear legroom is good and the “Varioflex” system allows the rear seats to slide backwards or forwards allowing you to increase passenger or boot space accordingly but, let’s face it, that’s why you buy a car like a Yeti; it is very practical.

The Yeti is great fun to drive and my wife absolutely loved it. So much so that she was very sad to see it go. A car that is fun to drive but is also loved by the other half can only be a good thing. The 1.8TSI 160bhp engine was responsive if a little thirsty (I am comparing again, this time with the ultra frugal Mitsubishi ASX) but hey you can’t have everything. Let’s be honest the diesels are going to be the go to guys in the Yeti range but this particular engine was almost sporty and made for a very enjoyable driving experience. On the downside the road noise can be a bit intrusive at higher speeds and the suspension can be a bit bumpy but, really, I had to think long and hard about what I didn’t like about the car and that is all I could come up with and that was only after a long, hard stare out of the window with my tongue protruding from the corner of my mouth.

Should I buy one?

Well if you want a well built, reliable, versatile, practical family car that is fun to drive then you could do a whole lot worse than the Yeti. It is probably safe to say that the looks are an acquired taste but it’s looks did grow on me and I’d be more than happy to own one (and, more importantly so would my wife). We enjoyed our week with the Yeti and did the tried and trusted trip to the beach, school run, supermarket, garden centre and flat out (well almost) up the dual carriage way and all the boxes were ticked. Servicing is either variable according to on board computer (i.e. the car tells you when it needs a service depending on how it has been driven) or is fixed at 10,000 miles and the warranty is the standard 3 years/60,000 miles. The residuals for the Yeti range look good with approximately 40% of the value retained at 3 years 60k miles.

Test car data:

Model tested: Skoda Yeti 1.8 TSI 4×4 Elegance

Price: £22,960 OTR

Engine: 1.8-litre, Petrol, 160bhp

Transmission: Six speed manual gearbox

CO2: 189 g/km

Performance: 124mph, 0-62mph 8.4 seconds, 40.9mpg (extra-urban) (36.9mpg actual),

VED Band J £245

Insurance group: 17

For: Excellent build quality, versatile, fun to drive, practical

Against: Fuel economy, road noise

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