Long-term tests

Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI

Our man has been on the hunt for the best version of our Car of the Year, and it looks like he’s tracked down a winner!

  • the Yeti has been pressed into service as a camera car – and it’s easily up to the task, with its panoramic sunroof. The front section opens like a conventional tilt/slide design. My two daughters also love looking out of the massive expanse of glass when the car is on the move. It makes for an airy cabin.
  • WE’VE come a cropper with a punctured Skoda before (in our old Octavia Scout), as the firm’s cars don’t tend to have spare wheels. Our Yeti does – but only because we specified the optional space saver, at £55. We think it’s worth every penny for the peace of mind.

WE’VE found it! The Yeti is alive and well, and living in the Auto Express car park...

Persuading me to take the keys to a model that shares its name with the mythical abominable snowman wasn’t difficult, as the Yeti has just been crowned Car of the Year at our prestigious New Car Awards. The crossover has impressed at every opportunity – so we couldn’t wait to add one to our long-term fleet.

That explains why I donned my khaki in search of the best possible Yeti combination. And I’ve found it – in the shape of the two-wheel-drive 1.2 TSI.

Now, the thought of a crossover model the size of the Yeti powered by a tiny 1.2-litre petrol engine sounds a bit ambitious – especially for someone like me, because as staff photographer, I spend most of my time on the motorway. But don’t forget, this turbocharged powerplant has already proven itself in the VW Polo and Golf.

So, how does it cope in the Yeti? At first, the engine felt a bit tight, and it took some time getting used to a petrol model after having run a succession of diesels. But now, after a few thousand miles, I’m converted. The engine has loosened up, and if you use the full rev range and all six gears, there’s plenty of fun to be had behind the wheel.

The tall top ratio also means you can cruise at motorway speeds happily – although you’ll have to drop down to fifth if you need to accelerate quickly, and there’s not a huge amount of torque on offer.

My only other initial reservation about life with the Yeti concerned its dimensions. For the past year or so, I have looked after a Subaru Legacy estate, and I knew getting all of my kit into the boot of the Skoda was going to be an issue. Its 416-litre load area should be fine for most people – you can even slide the rear seats forwards to increase the area. But with all of my camera gear, it can be a bit of a squeeze.

Our car’s cream leather upholstery will also prove difficult to keep clean. The rear armrests are particularly vulnerable, as they are exposed to the luggage bay when they’re in the stowed position. I’ve taken to covering them up to stop them from picking up scuffs from my heavy camera cases.Mind you, this is my only real criticism of the Yeti, because the rest of the interior is of a really high quality.

Most of the plastics and trim finishes feel as though they’re from a premium model. Plus, having run a Superb for a year, it’s good to see things like the excellent touchscreen sat-nav being carried over from the firm’s more expensive cars.

The Yeti hunt continues, then. The difference is, now we’re only on the lookout for complaints – because they’re so few and far between...

Second Opinion

“Yeti mixes the premium feel of a saloon with the dynamic sharpness of a hatch and the practicality of an MPV. Pete’s criticism of the boot is more about its dimensions than outright volume – the area is short and tall, rather than long and low.”

Ross Pinnock Road test editor

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