Skoda Yeti review

Our Rating: 
2014 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Can Skoda’s ageing mid-size crossover keep up with new challengers such as the Nissan Qashqai and Fiat 500X?

Sturdy, good to drive, practical, excellent residual values
Cabin looking a touch old, boot on the small side, emissions a bit high

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The Yeti as it stands is coming to the end of its life, and Skoda has plans for a two-tier replacement involving a larger seven-seat version. Despite that, Skoda’s crossover remains competitive against its newer rivals, with a very likeable, no-nonsense character. 

Skoda's SUV line-up to grow

While you might automatically assume that the tough-looking Yeti is best suited to a diesel engine and four-wheel drive, actually it’s the front-drive petrol model that makes the most sense. It has perky performance, surprisingly good real-world fuel economy and is much more refined than the diesel.

Next Skoda Yeti: details

If you’re doing big miles or you live at the far end of a rutted track, then fair enough, a diesel 4x4 is best, but for the rest of us the 1.2 TSI will do nicely. It’s a mark of the Yeti’s quality that it remains so competitive in the crossover and compact SUV class after such an extended period on sale. 

Our Choice: 
Yeti 1.2 TSI 110 SE

The Skoda Yeti is a rival to the likes of the Peugeot 2008, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Soul. It arrived back in 2009 and its success was almost immediate, offering great value for money and huge amounts of practicality.

Since then it has received only a minor facelift, with a new nose and rear lights and subtly revised looks. There’s only one basic 5-door body style – a boxy, upright one with plain looks so typical of Skoda.

A new Outdoor trim was also launched with the facelifted model and comes complete with some rugged underbody protection and plastic wheelarches to make it look more like an off-roader. 

There’s no performance version of the Yeti as such, but buyers can have it in Monte Carlo spec, which has a sporting look thanks to a contrast black finish for the roof, mirrors and the 17-inch alloy wheels. There are also some (faintly silly) fake carbon-fibre inserts and a smaller looking three-spoke steering wheel in the cabin. The standard trim levels run from S and SE to the top spec SE L.

The Skoda Yeti comes fitted with hill descent control and all-wheel drive versions have a sophisticated Haldex clutch design that provides maximum traction when needed. A lighter 4x4 system on the latest models means all-wheel drive versions are slightly more economical than before.  

The engine range has also been rationalised, with the old 1.6 TDI 103bhp diesel engine dropped in favour of a 108bhp 2.0-litre TDI unit that’s actually 1g/km better off in emissions terms, and also has a little more torque. There’s a 148bhp diesel too, which can be had with four-wheel drive or a surprisingly frugal 1.2 TSI 108bhp petrol unit. All engines can be had with the optional DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Engines, performance and drive

There’s nothing surprising here – the Yeti uses Volkswagen Group engines that are as effective as they are familiar

The Skoda Yeti has always had an edge over its crossover rivals when it comes to driving dynamics and as the updates were so minimal the new car maintains this advantage. Aside from its higher driving position, the Yeti feels just like a regular family hatchback when you’re behind the wheel. 

There’s excellent grip, sharp steering and far less body roll than in the Nissan Qashqai, while the Yeti’s lively nature means it’s far more fun in corners than any crossover has any right to be, even if its steering doesn’t feel quite so well resolved as that of the Qashqai.

The pay-off is a slightly firmer ride quality than in rivals, although you really wouldn’t call it uncomfortable. The Skoda is just as happy cruising at motorway speeds as it is tackling the cut and thrust of urban driving.

Opting for four-wheel drive gives this family crossover excellent grip in mud, snow or other rough terrain, while the system also softens throttle response to minimise wheel spin and helps the car to descend steep hills in a slow and controlled fashion. An off-road button on the dash automatically controls the traction control, hill descent control and braking and it means the Yeti is incredibly simple to drive off-road - sorting out most problems and lack of grip without you even realising there was an issue.

The only problem is that the tall and boxy design is bad for aerodynamics, so there is quite a lot of wind and road noise at motorway speeds, and the diesel engines are quite loud and rumbly - the 1.2 TSI engine is definitely the one to go for if you're looking for a quiet and refined town car.


The 1.2 TSI turbo petrol engine is a decent performer. It doesn’t feel out of its depth in such a large car, and good mid-range torque means there’s plenty of pulling power when you need it. The engine will be a little underpowered when the Yeti is fully loaded, but most of the time it’s more than capable. 

With the demise of the 1.6 diesel and 1.8 turbo petrol options, the only choice for more power in the Yeti is to go for the 2.0-litre diesel in either 108- or 148bhp forms. The more powerful engine comes with 340Nm of torque, 90Nm more than the 108bhp version, which will come in very handy if you’re using the Yeti to haul heavy loads, tow anything or you've bought a 4x4 model with some proper off-roading in mind. If you’re just using it to cruise the motorway network, then the 108bhp version is just fine and you’ll only feel the relative lack of torque if the car is fully laden. 

On both engines, the standard six-speed manual transmission is just fine – slick and easy to use - but the DSG dual-clutch automatic option is losing its once-unassailable lead in the sector. Newer transmission designs (ZF’s brilliant eight-speed conventional automatic for instance) are now making the DSG feel a little slow to kick-down and occasionally lost looking for the right gear. It’s a good option for town-dwellers, less so for those looking for a little driver engagement.

MPG, CO2 and running costs

Decent economy but CO2 needs improving

Here’s where the Yeti trips up a little compared to newer rivals. Although the latest-generation Volkswagen Group engines have been transplanted in, and some of the older units like the 1.6 TDI and 1.8 TSI have been dropped, the fact is that the Yeti’s older design means it can’t compete when it comes to emissions. 

The core Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi diesel has 99g/km emissions and therefore free road tax for the first year, and that’s something that shows the Yeti in quite a poor light. The greenest version is now the 108bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel and that can manage, at best, 118g/km, which means paying £30 a year to keep it taxed. It’s hardly an outrageous amount, but it gives other crossovers a clear advantage.

The petrol Yeti, in spite of it being our favourite engine overall, is worse off again. A rating of 128g/km means it will cost £110 a year to tax, a figure that increasingly looks a bit hefty.

Official combined cycle economy figures are 51mpg for the 1.2 TSI petrol and 62mpg for the 108bhp diesel, but in reality most will probably get closer to 40mpg in daily driving. That’s still not too bad though, and a diesel Yeti should go at least 450 miles between fills, maybe a little further if you’re careful and keep the air conditioning switched off.

Incidentally, Yetis now come optionally with a new app called Smartgate that links to phones and tablets and can download driving data for review later. That might help owners tweak their driving style to extract a few more mpg. All Yetis come with stop-start, brake energy recuperation and a gearshift indicator to help keep things as economical as possible.

Insurance groups 

Yetis range from a low of insurance group 13 for the 1.2 petrol to a high of between 18 and 22 for the higher-powered diesels and Monte Carlo models.

All versions are fitted with a tilt-sensor alarm along with curtain airbags, passenger-airbag cut-off, electronic stability control and front fog lights. There’s also a tyre pressure monitor and Isofix child seat anchors for the outer rear seats. SE-L models get cornering fog lights.


In spite of its ageing design, the Yeti remains a car that’s strongly in demand on the used market and that goes pretty much equally for petrol and diesel models, although the higher-spec 4x4 versions might be slightly harder to sell on – Skoda buyers still look at pricing first.

Overall depreciation runs out at approximately 48 per cent retained value after three years, which is at the higher end of the market for a brand such as Skoda.

Interior, design and technology

The Yeti has some dated components, but comfort and quality are excellent

A reputation for putting function over form hasn’t stopped Skoda from cutting a dash in the crossover class with the Yeti. 

Rather than go for a soft, rounded look like the Qashqai, the Yeti has raided the off-roader wardrobe and adopted full-on 4x4 styling. For the latest model, there’s a new nose featuring a wider grille with distinctive bonnet peak. The lights are reminiscent of the Octavia hatchback’s, but the rest of the car remains largely the same as the original Yeti.

The upright body, tall roof, chunky roof rails and vertical tailgate mean the Skoda stands taller and looks boxier than its rivals. As a result, it stands out from the crowd. 

Since its most recent update, the Yeti has been offered in two distinct model lines. The standard Yeti comes with body-coloured lower bumpers and sills, while the Yeti Outdoor version gets traditional black plastic cladding and front and rear bumpers that have been optimised to give the best departure and approach angles when off-roading. 

Inside, there's a relatively plain, but still attractive, fascia made of rugged, yet still soft-touch, materials. Like the Skoda brand itself, the Yeti is all about form following function. There’s little in the way of fripperies, but the ergonomics are generally excellent, the driving position high-set but comfy and the overall sense of quality is really very good. Higher-spec Yetis can actually feel quite plush, in fact.

On the outside, while the black-roofed Monte Carlo editions look pleasingly mean, we’d avoid the white-roof option (it looks a touch silly) and there are some seventies-style beiges and browns that are probably best left in the catalogue and away from the road. 

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The only flaw in the Yeti’s interior is that it’s soldiering on with the older-tech Volkswagen Group sat-nav and infotainment. OK, so that’s the definition of a first-world problem but it’s certainly less slick and overall less capable than the newer systems seen in the likes of the Fabia, Octavia and new Superb

The Yeti’s touchscreen system is simple enough to use and it works just fine, but there’s none of the slick menu controls and expensive-looking graphics that you get with the latest Skoda models. A five-inch touchscreen, with Bluetooth, is standard while more expensive models get a larger 6.5-inch screen and DAB. The basic system comes with a slot for an SD memory card, a USB port, an aux-in socket and two 12v power sockets: one in the dash, one in the boot.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

Yetis are spacious and practical, but growing families will run out of seats

The Yeti’s square, upright styling plays dividends when you get inside – it’s very spacious for what is really quite a compact car on the outside. As standard, with a spare wheel, the boot has 416 litres of luggage capacity and if you fold the back seats that can be expanded to 1,580 litres, which is pretty good.

Best family cars

The Yeti has an extra trick though, as all three rear seats, which can be individual tumbled and folded, also remove individually (be careful – they’re quite heavy). That operation gives an extra 180 litres of load space, bringing the total to 1,760 litres. On some models, a folding front passenger seat is also available, making it easier to load long items.


With a ride-height of 180mm, the Yeti proves itself to be a proper crossover and if you go for the Outdoor version, with its cut-back bumpers, you’ll actually be able to scramble up and down some seriously tough terrain. The height also means that the loading lip of the boot is at a nice level for putting in heavy objects – if you’re of average height, it’ll be more or less at your waist level.

The space inside is tall and mostly square, with no major intrusions or obstructions, although there are some wide gaps between the floor and the backs of the folded seats.

Leg room, head room & passenger space 

Space in the back seats is a Yeti strong point, as long as you’re only carrying two rear passengers. The back of the centre rear seat can be folded down to make a tray table with integrated cup holders (although it does leave a gap leading into the boot) and if you lift out the middle seat entirely, the two outer seats slide in and back a little to give a touch more leg- and shoulder room. That centre rear seat is just too narrow to be of much use for sitting in though – it’s effectively a jump seat for short journeys.

Growing families will be frustrated with the back seats – there are only Isofix anchors for the two outer rear seats, and the centre rear seat is too narrow to fit a bulky child car seat. Skoda has a larger, seven-seat SUV in the works. For families with more than two kids, it can’t come soon enough. 

Up front, comfort levels are extremely good – the seats are supportive but not over-firm, and the driving position is high enough to give good visibility but not so high that you feel perched up like a van driver. 

Some rivals do offer a bit more space in the back, but the Yeti’s deep glass area actually makes it feel more spacious than it is, which is good news if you’re lugging kids around.


It’s not the biggest boot in the class at 416 litres but the Yeti’s square shape means its boot is versatile. You can even buy add-on extras such as deep luggage nets and baskets, dog guards and even an internal bike rack for handling the detritus of your life. 

There is, however, no getting away from the fact that the current Nissan Qashqai, the Yeti’s most serious rival, beats it for boot space by 15 litres. Not much, but it can make a difference. 

Depending on the engine, the Yeti can handle a maximum internal payload of 645kg while the maximum towing weight, braked, is 2,100kg (for the 2.0-litre diesel).

Reliability and Safety

No quibbles here; the Yeti is solidly built, safe and has been around for a long time

The Yeti was actually the top-rated SUV in the Auto Express Driver Power rankings in 2013 and by 2015 it had only slipped to 2nd place, so it’s not a car that’s likely to give much bother. 

Owners gave the car top marks in almost every individual category and it was the top model for reliability, handling and ease of driving. Average running costs and impressive in-car technology also counted in the Yeti's favour, while drivers love the peace of mind that comes with the car's standard safety features, which include ABS and ESP, plus front, side and curtain airbags.

The Haldex 4x4 system in the facelifted car has been seen before in the Octavia 4x4 - so it shouldn't cause any problems - but the new fog light design has moved them into the path of danger for small shunts and scrapes when you are driving off-road. 

The Yeti gets a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, and comes with the usual selection of airbags and electronic aids, although rear side airbags are a £295 option and such niceties as a city braking system are thus far unavailable.


The standard Skoda warranty carries unlimited mileage for the first two years, but is limited to 60,000 miles in the third year. Buyers can extend the warranty out to as much as five years though, at a cost of £630, and there’s a three-year, 30,000-mile service package for £479. 

Skoda also provides its own ‘E-Surance’ package as part of the warranty, which guarantees that your Yeti, if damaged in an accident, will be repaired at a Skoda main dealer no matter what your personal insurance policy stipulates. There’s also a three-year, Europe-wide roadside recovery package as standard, and a 12-year anti-perforation warranty. 


The Yeti comes with its own on-board electronic diagnostics, which will indicate when you need to service the car, usually at 20,000-mile intervals. Skoda does recommend that owners bring it in every 10,000 miles if mileage is low, or if you’re doing lots of rough-tough driving such as off-roading or towing. 

Disqus - noscript

This car does not achieve 5 in any category so how does it end up with 5/5 overall score
Looks and badge still a big let down + not really that cheap considering spec of rivals

Let's be honest - the badge is only a let down for Jasper Carrot wannabees. Skoda's reputation over the last decade (if not longer) has been fantastic - excellent reliability, build quality and customer service. They're also still excellent value for money once you look at all the standard kit.

It's just a shame that there are still ignorant people around who are stuck in the 80s when it comes to Skoda.

Call this an in-depth test? How can a road test not mention refinement or ride quality?

If the badge is a big 'let down' for you, don't you think that says something about how you've been manipulated by marketing?

Couldn't agree more Michael.
I think Hamish must drive or aspire to an over-marketed brand (VW, BMW or Audi perhaps). The car [for him] is less important than the badge.
On your defense Hamish, your comment ref. 5 stars is spot on. It's an ageing design with a lacklustre dash design (my opinion), poor efficiency, poor high-speed ride and wind noise. Oh, and I think the styling merits only a 3-star only rating.
Makes you think about brown envelopes doesn't it?

The 'boxy design' is actually a plus-point for those of us who need to fill our vehicles with stuff.

And compared to so many overstyled SUVs out there, the Yeti has a cool business-like appearance.

Lots of cars manage to make the most of interior space without looking boxy. The Yeti doesn't look business like - it looks like a mobility vehicle compared to most of it's competition. It has the sort of looks only a mother could love....LOL!

Well, none of you have ever driven one then, obviously. The only SUV that comes close is the Kuga, & that's 6k+ more expensive in top spec form to match the Yeti, not as quick, as economical or clean as the Yeti either. The only thing that's comparable in efficiency terms is the X1. Now talk about looks...So I suggest before bashing it, try it first! You'll be truly amazed.

Had one for 10 months, nasty piece of over-rated junk that never seemed to be out of the dealer. Is this the worst Diesel engine made today?

Brilliantly marketed and the iSheep happily repeat the "virtues" that the various reviewers read from press releases. Reality is, this is a hugely over-rated car.

Glad to see the back of it when I found a mug dealer to p/x it with

VW has
problems with galvanization of certain car models (I’ve read about Passat and
A4 and Skoda Yeti). I have a 2010 Yeti where I found rust on all 5 doors in 2012. It was repainted in summer
of 2012 and now in 2013 the same problem pops up again. VW will not fix the
problem again because it is a few months over a 3 year warranty. But it's the
same problem that occurred after only 2 years. They made the paintjob just to
keep me happy until the 3 year guaranty period passed. I have talked to paint shops and been told
that if there is a galvanization problem it is no use to cover it with new
paint. The only way to solve it is to get new metal that is galvanized in a
correct way. But I guess that VW has no interest in changing my 5 doors. When I
talked to the VW authorized paint shop, they told me that VW has had this
problem with a few of their models. Now I’m stuck with a Yeti that is rusting
rapidly (the rust expand quickly when the galvanization is bad). The biggest
problem is not that a fault has occurred on my car, but that VW is hiding the
problem to save cost.

Martin my 2010 Yeti has just been sprayed again bubbling and rusting won't buy another.

Troll Alert! Reality is, this car has more satisfied owners than any other - proven fact. If your statement is true, then you have been very unlucky, as 99.9% are perfectly reliable.

I got my new Yeti in April and its not bad but certain things do let it down, I'm 6'4" tall and i can stretch my legs out in driving and passengers seats so plenty of legroom, its great that you can remove all the seats easily for carrying loads of stuff too but the things i dislike are.
1: Engine is quiet but road noise is terrible! don't buy one if you actually want to listen to the radio or handsfree phone as unless you are on perfectly smooth road surface you cannot hear the sodding thing grrrr.... why have a stereo if you cannot hear it? suggest Skoda add more sound deadening to the next version.
2: The seats are firm and decent shape BUT if you want comfort don't buy a Yeti! they are terrible and you can feel every sodding ripple in the road that shakes you and the passengers to such an extent i actually hate having to drive any long distances, you arrive at your destination like you have ridden the Paris Dakar rally! just not good enough for a car that isn't the cheapest available..... i test drove a Suzuki 4x4 and it was very comfortable and I will probably buy a Suzuki next.
3: The windscreen wipers are crap in any heavy rain and virtually stop moving for a few seconds...... also the sodding rear wiper turns itself on when you don't want it to grrrrrrrr again Skoda try using more powerful wiper motors in future.
As you may guess i am dissapointed with the Yeti and wish i'd never bought it, my mistake was believing magazine/website reviews and only having a test drive in a town centre where the road surface was like glass, do the people who do the reviews actually drive them or do they just say they are best thing since sliced bread because Top Gear rave about them?.
I went for a drive in a Dacia Duster and bearing in mind its almost half the price of the Yeti its actually more comfortable and the road noise is no worse.....
Can anyone recommend a car that has five doors, room for a dog crate and above all is built for comfort (not bothered about 4 wheel drive) where you can drive all day and be able to walk when you arrive at your destination and also cost around the same as a Yeti?

'Genuine Off Road Ability?' This is a joke , right? Or do they mean it can negotiate a driveway with no problem?

Last updated: 7 Oct, 2015