The Skoda Yeti has been around for a few years now without changing that much and that’s no bad thing. There’s a new and larger one on the way in the next year or so but that doesn’t mean the current car is getting stale. It still has plenty to offer, especially when you can get this stylish feature packed Monte Carlo edition for less than £28k.
It competes in the ‘crossover’ sector against some talented rivals that maybe have a more contemporary look but with a Yeti you know where you stand. Those with longer memories will remember that, some years ago, a venerable gentleman demonstrated a helicopter could land on it, highlighting the robustness of the vehicle. It still feels capable of handling most of what a motoring life could throw at it. At the time of writing Skoda have announced that they’ve built 500,000 Yeti’s so customers obviously like it.
Our version came with a 2.0L 168bhp (258lb/ft) turbo-diesel, four-wheel drive and the Monte Carlo trim pack that adds a smart paint job and extremely comfortable fabric seats with a nice bright design. Buyers can choose from a variety of engines and trim packs from a basic 1.2L TSI engine driving just two wheels, which, for many buyers who never venture on the gnarly stuff, would fit the bill quite nicely. You can get leather and a sunroof from a choice of many options so there’s something for everyone. See the test car’s specification below.
The Skoda Yeti is a fine drive belying it’s boxy dimensions. It handles very well at speed on windy B-roads and is comfortable and composed at motorway speeds. There’s a bit of wind noise but nothing out of the ordinary and the driving seat gives a commanding view of the way ahead. With this powerful diesel engine acceleration is quite sprightly and there’s ample power for overtaking.
It’s a heavy old lump though and I doubt that a 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds matters that much to most owners. I suspect that the lighter petrol engines would feel more perky and refined and, according to the figures, there’s not that much penalty on fuel consumption. The more powerful 1.8L TSI engine available in the posh Laurin & Klement version also offers 4WD, although if mud-plugging is required then the diesel is the better option. Emissions on our test car were, unsurprisingly, a bit on the high side at 164g/km(manufacturers figure).
The inside is perhaps looking a bit dated, not that I could care less. The attractive fabric seats were, as mentioned, comfy and supportive and, in this case, heated too. Rear-seat passengers get plenty of legroom and the boot will accommodate holiday luggage for the family hols. There’s cupholders, deep useful door pockets, and a central cubby.
The dashboard is the standard Skoda fare as you can see in the image. The navigation isn’t the latest thing but it’s easy to use and does what it is supposed to do. There’s a twelve volt socket (there’s one in the boot but a second would be useful up front), USB and AUX sockets and the speakers deliver a commendably good surround sound. Shifts with the familiar VW Group DSG were smooth and quick (there’s a manual ‘box on offer too) and I didn’t feel the need to use the manual option. There’s a Sport mode too but its only purpose in this car is to use more fuel. I guess it is just easier and cheaper to leave that option on board rather than have to reconfigure the unit. It’s there if you want it.
Although some rivals look more sleek and sexy these days I still have a fondness for the more traditional look of the Yeti. It looks purposeful and as you can see, is entirely happy out in the countryside with mud and leaves under it’s smart 17” ‘Origami’ wheels rather than just posing in the city streets. I have proved it is entirely happy on rainy, blustery school run days and with Isofix it feels safe for the kids. A quick run through a forest track proved no obstacle. In 4×4 guise it feels much more competent than the ubiquitous ‘crossover’ norm.
The award-winning Skoda Yeti then is one of my favourites of the year despite its ageing profile. It will be interesting to see how it evolves when the new versions appear and I hope the company doesn’t muck it up for the sake of some trendy new ideal. Leave well enough alone I reckon. Geoff Maxted