Collecting the keys to any new car is always exciting, but I was particularly keen to get my hands on the latest addition to the Auto Express fleet.
You see, the Skoda Yeti is a previous winner of our coveted Car of the Year accolade, so it comes with impeccable credentials. What’s more, colleagues had raved about the 1.2-litre TSI petrol model we ran for 12 months in 2010. As a result, I couldn’t wait to see how our new, eco-friendly GreenLine II diesel version would measure up.
Initial impressions have been positive. I was given a guided tour of the Yeti by the sales manager of Westover Skoda in Bournemouth, Dan Jenkins (pictured right), who pointed out the powerful xenon headlamps and handsome 16-inch alloys that come as standard on our range-topping Elegance model.
Inside, I was shown the leather trim, heated seats and dual-zone climate control that all feature on the lavishly equipped flagship. However, I was disappointed to discover that the useful touchscreen sat-nav fitted to our car costs a hefty £1,510 extra.
There are no complaints about the space on offer in the Yeti’s cabin, though. My previous Renault Megane GT Sport Tourer was hugely versatile, but the Skoda is better still.
Its 416-litre boot swallows all my camera gear with room to spare, while the dark tinted rear windows help shield my valuable kit from prying eyes. Yet it’s the way the Yeti drives that’s really grabbed my attention.
From the moment I pulled off Westover’s forecourt I knew the Skoda was going to be special. Beautifully weighted controls, excellent body control and strong grip make the GreenLine II as much fun to drive as my racy Renault.
The Skoda is equally impressive on a long run, turning my 100-mile commute from the south coast to our central London offices into a real pleasure.
The hugely comfortable seats, low noise levels and commanding view of the road all combine to leave me feeling remarkably relaxed and refreshed at the end of every journey. In fact, the only fly in the ointment is the firm low-speed ride.
Even the engine has exceeded expectations. I was worried the 104bhp 1.6-litre diesel would feel puny, but it’s a strong performer, thanks to its muscular 250Nm torque peak.
Better still, this doesn’t come at the expense of economy. All GreenLine II models feature fuel-saving kit such as a smooth stop-start system, regenerative braking and improved aerodynamics. The upshot of these additions is that our car is returning 50.4mpg.
So it’s a good start for the Yeti. In fact, if it continues this exemplary performance over the next 12 months and 40,000 miles, then I’m going to be extremely reluctant to hand the keys back.
“For me the GreenLine II is the best Yeti in the range. It never feels underpowered, returns great fuel economy and handles a little sharper than the standard car.”
Paul Bond, Road tester
“I own a Yeti 2.0 TDI SE, and I can’t sing its praises enough. The quality of the drive and interior, plus the great- value price, have all won me over.”
frenchpress2, via www.autoexpress.co.uk