Skoda YETI 2.0 TDi SE

Skoda's rugged Yeti is our favourite from the current crossover crop, can Mitsubishi or the Nissan knock it off top spot?

It’s easy to see why the Skoda Yeti is our current crossover class champ. The car delivers distinctive, rugged looks and a versatile and high-quality interior. Plus, it represents excellent value for money.

Many buyers are likely to be won over by the styling alone. A large wraparound screen and tapered glazing on the front doors provide the Yeti with a dynamic appearance that is less conventional than its rivals.

With its chunky bumpers, sill plates and raised ride height, the car gives the impression that it’s the most capable of our trio over rough terrain – even though it’s two-wheel drive.

There’s plenty of neat detailing, too, such as the bold grille, extra driving lights, black door pillars and flared wheelarches. Open the door, and what strikes you instantly is the sheer quality on offer, with switchgear borrowed from Skoda’s executive Superb. The cabin is also the most flexible on test, with individual rear seats which slide back or forth to boost passenger legroom or luggage capacity as required.

Plus, it’s possible to remove the rear chairs completely, freeing up a van-like 1,700 litres of space. When the seats are in place, that high roof means rear passengers will have no issue with headroom.

The Skoda continues to convince on the road, as it drives more like a hatch than a top-heavy off-roader. The suspension can feel firm over bumpy surfaces, but the upshot is very little body roll and huge grip in bends.

Skoda’s pricing structure does the Yeti no favours in this test, though. While our £17,310 110bhp SE is £1,200 and £1,500 less than the Mitsubishi and Nissan respectively, it has a 30bhp power deficit. Buyers who want a similar output have to pay nearly £20,000 and above, and the 138bhp and 168bhp TDI Yetis are 4WD only. As a result, this car trailed its opponents at the test track, with a 0-60mph sprint time of 12.2 seconds. The 2.0-litre unit is still flexible and quite refined, even though its five-speed box has one less ratio than rivals, but the Skoda isn’t a contender in a straight line.

Thankfully, the brakes are more positive than the other models’, while the superior handling means it’s easier to maintain speed.

The less powerful engine doesn’t have stop-start, but still emits the least CO2, at 140g/km. Combined economy of 52.3mpg impresses, too, although as the engine has to be worked hard, owners will do well to achieve that.

Details

Chart position: 1WHY: With its distinctive exterior, practical cabin and entertaining driving dynamics, the bold Skoda Yeti is our current class champion. Can the entry-level two-wheel-drive model extend its unbeaten record?

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