Long-term tests

Skoda Yeti

We’re still not sure about the badge, but everything else about crossover is brilliant – so it will be sorely missed!

What's in a name? That’s the question I have been pondering 
ever since our 
Skoda long-termer arrived last year. Some are obvious. Puma: fast and agile. Cube: functional 
and practical. Cayenne: 
mystical and strong. But 
Yeti? Abominable snowman? Honestly, you have to wonder!
Down at my local pub, every man needs to be able to hold their own when talking about their car. My peers all know how big, fast and expensive their motors are. But when I tell them I’m running a Yeti, that’s it – conversation over! I doubt Skoda’s boffins thought about the male ego during the arduous process 
of selecting and trademarking the name, but I wish they had.
Of course, in this instance, anybody put off by the bizarre badge will be missing out. 
Our reigning Car of the Year more than makes up for its quirky name, as the nimble hatchback handling and off-
roader visibility combine with the kind of fit and finish you expect from more expensive cars.
And that’s going to make saying goodbye a real wrench. 
You see, the Skoda is shortly due to be replaced, and its tyre tracks will take some filling. Over the past year, it has been a fantastic family car for the Gibson tribe.
A summer holiday in Cornwall was a notable high point. Boot space for the trip was boosted by the addition of a Thule roof box, which is easy to fit and an ideal solution if extra load capacity is needed. The bars and box fit on 
to the standard rails, and can be purchased through Skoda dealers (for £161 and £295 respectively).
Equally impressive has been the firm’s famed customer service. The 1.2 TSI’s variable maintenance regime allowed the car to reach 18,000 miles before requiring attention, and Prestons of Writtle in Essex did the job with real efficiency – and all for only £164.96. Mind you, I did have to pop back to get the oil filter replaced – these were on back-
order when the car first went in.
Unfortunately, the cruel winter weather has highlighted 
one downside of the cheeky crossover, because despite those go-anywhere looks and snowman-
inspired name, it was no better at coping with the deluge of white stuff than a conventional hatch.
Our two-wheel-drive version was at the mercy of the gritters 
in the run-up to Christmas. I’m sure 4WD variants fared much better, and winter tyres could have helped, too, but even I was caught out by the sudden Arctic blast. Not that I was ever stranded – it’s just that other motorists expect a car which looks like the Yeti to be a 4x4, and ours isn’t!
Colleagues have been universal in their praise, and the classy cabin is standing up to hard use extremely well. Niggles have been few and far between, and only the design of the rear seats merits a mention: when the centre armrest is folded up, its colour-coded trim is exposed 
to the contents of the boot, so it risks getting grubby. But that’s it!
Perhaps the vehicle-naming department could have taken 
its inspiration from the Superb family car. The Skoda Brilliant has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

Extra Info

“I managed to prise the keys out of Pete’s hands for a few days and was reminded why we named the Yeti our 2010 Car of the Year. It drives more like a sporty hatchback than a low-slung crossover, and its cabin is smart, well appointed and solidly built. But the highlight for me was the 1.2 TSI engine; it’s an absolute gem.”

Ross Pinnock, Road test editor

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