Skoda Yeti GreenLine TDI

Our class champion shows no sign of giving up its crown yet

The Auto Express Car of the Year 2010 is still at the very top of its game. Rugged looks help the Skoda Yeti stand out, while a tough and versatile interior makes it very user-friendly. Better still, it’s great to drive and cheap to run. Only the gruff-sounding 1.6 TDI lets it down.

The brilliant Skoda Yeti really needs no introduction. Our Car of the Year in 2010 has won numerous road tests and still sets the compact crossover benchmark.

Even now, nearly three years after its debut, the bold Yeti stands out from the crowd. With its Tonka toy-like lines, raised ride height and chunky details, it looks more like a traditional off-roader than its rivals. And our eco-friendly GreenLine version’s smaller 16-inch alloy wheels (the standard SE gets 17-inch rims) and 25mm lower ride height can’t diminish the Yeti’s considerable visual appeal.

There’s a similar no-nonsense approach inside, where you’ll find a slickly designed and logically laid-out dashboard. The high driving position gives a commanding view of the road, while the robust fit and finish means the Skoda should stand up well to the rough and tumble of family life.

And although it can’t quite match the Peugeot for standard equipment, the Yeti still comes with plenty of desirable gadgets. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control and parking sensors are included, as is a six-CD multi-changer. The only significant omission is Bluetooth connectivity, which isn’t even an option – you have to upgrade to the £20,665 Elegance model in our pictures if you want to make hands-free calls at the wheel.

Fortunately, there are few complaints when it comes to space. Passengers in the back get more head and legroom than in either the Countryman or 2008, while the individual rear seats slide and recline for extra comfort. There’s also loads of useful storage, including a lidded cubby in the dash and huge door bins.

The Yeti’s boot is the biggest here, too, with a healthy 416-litre capacity. When you tumble the Varioflex rear seats forward, the available space increases to 1,580 litres. You can also remove the seats completely – although they’re quite heavy and cumbersome – to free up an estate car-rivalling 1,760 litres.

Neat touches include heavy duty shopping bag hooks, a 12V power supply and a handy elasticated luggage net.

On the road, the Skoda’s composed, car-like handling really impresses. Direct and well weighted steering, strong grip and excellent body control combine to make it the most fun car of our trio to drive on a twisty back road. However, the trade-off for this impressive agility is a firm low-speed ride – it just can’t match the 2008 for comfort.

That’s not the only weak link in the Yeti’s armour – the 104bhp, 1.6-litre TDI engine meant it couldn’t match its rivals at the track. Not only was the car slower from 0-60mph, it trailed during the in-gear tests, too. And in the real world, you’ll need to work the five-speed manual gearbox hard to keep up with the Skoda’s two more powerful opponents.

Still, what this car lacks in performance, it makes up for with 47.5mpg economy and solid 46.3 per cent residual values. And while it has the highest claimed CO2 emissions here – at 119g/km – it’s still a cheaper option for company car drivers than the Countryman.

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