Car group tests

Skoda Yeti vs Nissan Qashqai

Can Skoda’s new Yeti go on the rampage and claim the title of crossover king from Nissan’s Qashqai? We put the multi-talented pair head-to-head in a shoot-out on road and off...

After years in hiding, the Skoda Yeti is finally out in the open! The rugged crossover is one of the Czech firm’s most eagerly awaited models ever, having first teased buyers’ interest as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005.

Four years on, fans now have the chance to get up close and personal with the wild machine. Mixing tough four-wheel-drive SUV ability, MPV versatility and family hatch dimensions, the newcomer is aiming to be all things to all owners. From school runs and supermarket car parks to mild off-roading and family outings, the Yeti is hoping to take everything in its stride.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Skoda Yeti

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But the Skoda isn’t the only multi-talented family machine out there. The Nissan Qashqai virtually created the crossover niche when it made its debut in 2006. By combining genuine 4x4 ability with family car flexibility, the Japanese model turned the hatchback market on its head, and soon became a firm feature in the best-sellers’ chart. With its distinctive styling, car-like dynamics, generous spec and competitive pricing, it appeals to both the heart and the head.

To discover which of our pair reigns supreme, we headed to the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands. Read on to find out if the Yeti is a monster hit – or an abominable failure!

Verdict

What this pair prove is that it’s possible to have your cake and eat it. By mixing SUV ability and MPV versatility with hatchback driving dynamics and costs, the Skoda and Nissan are the multi-taskers of family motoring. But which has the decisive cutting edge here?

There is no doubt that the capable Japanese car remains a desirable proposition – it’s good-looking, entertaining and well specced. In fact, for those who count looks and image as high priorities, the Qashqai is a strong contender.

However, those buyers would be missing out on the better car. The Yeti feels much more composed on road and genuinely capable when the going gets tough.

More importantly, its cabin is more flexible and classier, while its lower purchase price and running costs seal the deal. By a surprising margin, the Skoda takes the win.

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