Skoda Yeti review
The Yeti has it all: rugged off-road looks, a great price, impressive dynamics and a spacious interior
The Skoda Yeti was our 2010 Car of the Year and it has continued to win praise for its fantastic value for money and great handling. It’s a superb family car and it’s clear that Yeti owners agree, too, as it took the number one spot in the 2012 Driver Power reliability survey. There’s a Yeti for every price range, too: you can choose between powerful or efficient engines and opt for basic specifications or a model that’s crammed full with all the gadgets you'll ever need. Skoda is expected to give the Yeti a facelift towards the end of 2013, with a sharper design more akin to that of the Rapid and all-new Octavia, which is also due to go on sale next year. The current engine line-up will be carried over, while its interior dimensions and highly praised off-road ability are expected to remain unchanged.
Our choice: Yeti 2.0 TDI 110 SE
The Yeti's styling won't be to everyone's taste, but the trademark Skoda grille and oversized foglights help to create a smart look. It manages a good compromise between a stylish family car and rugged off-roader, and for the majority of people the Yeti will be spacious enough. The only time the rear can seem a little cramped is with two people that are more than six-feet tall sat behind each other. The Yeti's interior is well built and pleasingly upmarket. Entry-level E models are incredibly cheap but still come with air-conditioning and front electric windows. It's worthwhile upgrading to SE spec, though, as it adds electric rear windows, cruise control and rear parking sensors as standard.
Don’t be put off by the small size of the 1.2 TSI engine – although it’s a bit noisy, it’s a fantastic little engine, very good value for money and unless you cover higher-than-average mileage, it will be more than up to the task. There's also a 1.4 TSI and a 1.8 TSI with 150bhp and four-wheel drive. The diesels are all refined and available with 104bhp, 109bhp, 138bhp or 168bhp, the last three of these are all available with the option of four-wheel drive. The Yeti impresses with its car-like handling and brilliant off-road ability – although the latter applies only to the four-wheel-drive models - which come with an optional off-road button that includes hill descent control and new settings for the throttle and steering.
Many of the components used in the Yeti have proved themselves elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group line-up, with very few problems reported. This was only reiterated when both Skoda and the Yeti topped the Driver Power survey in 2012, with owners awarding full marks in nearly every category. The Yeti was voted top in three categories – reliability, handling and ease of driving – and was also praised for its low running costs and technology. As for safety, it has been awarded a full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. Standard features include ABS and ESP, as well as driver and passenger front, side and curtain airbags.
The Yeti's boot is marginally larger than that of the Nissan Qashqai – trumping its 410-litre boot space figure by just six litres. This figure can be increased to 1,760 litres by folding away the rear seats, which is 247 litres more than the Qashqai and a huge 407 litres more than the Kia Sportage. The clever system allows you to take out the middle seat and move the outer seats towards the middle to increase shoulder room. There are also lots of clever touches, like hooks to hang shopping bags on and a good-sized glovebox. A four-wheel-drive system that softens throttle response for greater control on soft surfaces is available for an extra £1,750. It’s barely noticeable on road but makes the Yeti surprisingly capable off it. The Yeti’s maximum unbraked towing weight ranges from 670kg to 750kg depending on which model you go for, while the braked figures match those of their corresponding Kia Sportage alternatives.
The entry-level 1.2 TSI is surprisingly efficient for a petrol engine, returning average fuel consumption of 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km. The Yeti is best suited to the more frugal and punchy diesel engines, though, such as the 1.6 TDI, which emits just 119g/km and returns 61.4mpg - this makes it exempt from road tax for the first year. The 2.0-litre TDI also manages to return 52.0mpg while emitting 140g/km of CO2. However one problem is that opting for the four-wheel-drive system will dent fuel consumption and emissions significantly, with the 2.0 TDI 4x4 managing just 46.0mpg and 157g/km. Still these versions hold their value extremely well and servicing and other running costs should be very manageable.