What is it?
This week, the Yeti has been the definition of a marmite car. I’d say it’s been an equal 50/50 split of comments like ‘What the hell is that?’ and ‘Yup, I’m feeling so turned on right now…’
Personally, I’ve always like them, the Yeti in my eyes is a stylish and practical substitute to the myriad of boring hatchbacks that are easily lost in supermarket carparks throughout the world, and Ramsbottom.
Our time together was the first week of December, and apart from one day, it was constantly raining. Consequently, the roads were wet, and in the countryside they were covered in mud left by farmers getting on with their daily chores. This in turn meant that on paper at least, testing the Yeti’s on-road manners would be more interesting, but in real life, it wasn’t.
Quite boringly, the 4wd electronic aids helped the Yeti cope really well with the muddy roads and tight, slippery corners. And on the subject of corners, for quite a tall car it doesn’t lean as much as you’d think either, in fact it’s quite a fun car to drive when bustling around country lanes. Obviously it isn’t a sports car, but the steering didn’t feel too bad and responded quite well when being flung around corners.
With it being a tall car, travelling at speed on the motorway you do notice a modicum of wind noise entering the cabin, but crank up Ken Bruce on Radio 2 and all is good again.
These days you don’t need a lot of suspension articulation to travel far off-road, all modern 4x4’s have electronic aids to assist the often hapless driver. Upon pressing the magic button, or as it’s officially named, the ’off-road’ button, numerous things happen to the Yeti. Amongst the many, Uphill and Downhill assist kick in, which means that you’re limited to 2,500rpm to help keep you in control and ABS works in a way that stops you from sliding down a hill at 50mph into a wall. All clever stuff, and effective.
In real life, the Yeti performed well in mud, and getting it into the position you see at the top of the page only took a couple of attempts. I always approach this section of my local green-lane slowly, and as I eased the Yeti’s front off-side wheel downwards into the rut, I offered it a little encouragement with a slight dab of the accelerator which would drive it out again. On my first attempt the other wheels left the ground and scrambled for grip, forward motion lost. Reversing a little I gave it a little more momentum, and after a couple of attempts I got it into ‘pose’ mode. Driving forward from this position was straight forward with no drama or wheel-spin at all.
If you’re used to playing with small SUV’s off-road, then the Yeti will feel right at home, if not then you may be surprised at what it can do.
Previously, when I thought of the Yeti, images from Top Gear entered my consciousness. Remember the episode in which Clarkson arranged for a bunch-load of Firemen to trample through one whilst threading a hose-pipe? Clarkson commented then that the Yeti was study and well built and could pretty much stand up to anything, well, after a week of living with one, I have to agree.
Visibility is wonderful, you get large windows and good sized door mirrors, but what you don’t get is a traditional SUV driving position meaning that you're sat higher than everyone else in the traffic jam, but that’s fine.
The dash layout is good with all knobs and dials to hand, and the centre infotainment screen tells you everything you may need to know.
Behind the gearstick there’s room for small bottles, and although I couldn’t fit my Contigo coffee mug in them, it would fit in the door panel, no great hardship there then. On the subject of cubby areas, there’s a nice grippy hole in front of the gear lever, and the cubby box, although not huge, is quite deep. The passenger glove box is tiny, though the cubby hole that’s mounted in the centre of the dash was greatly appreciated.
Seating wise there’s plenty of space and definitely no shortage of headroom, and for rear passengers the Outdoor has sliding seats for extra convenience. Although I don’t clamber into back seats that often, Muddy Madam Senior informed me that she was very happy back there.
The Yeti's boot capacity is 416ltrs, fold them down and you get 1580ltrs. Remove them completely and you end up with 1760 ltrs. Now, I didn’t do this myself and I’ve been told that it can be a fiddly 2-man job.
Engines 'n' transmissions
- 2WD Petrol Manual - 1.2ltr, 110ps - 51mpg combined - 111mph - 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds C02 = 128 g/km
- 2WD Petrol DSG -1.2ltr, 110ps - 51mpg combined - 111mph - 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds C02 = 128 g/km
- 2WD Diesel Manual with 16” alloys - 2ltr, 110ps - 64mpg combined - 111mph - 0-60mph in 11.6 seconds C02 = 115 g/km
- 4WD Petrol Manual - 1.4ltr, 150ps - 44.8mpg combined - 121mph - 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds C02 = 147 g/km
- 4WD Diesel Manual - 2ltr, 110ps - 53.3mpg combined - 109mph - 0-60mph in 12.2 seconds C02 = 137 g/km
- 4WD Diesel Manual - 2ltr, 150ps - 55.4mpg combined - 121mph - 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds C02 = 134 g/km
- 4WD Diesel DSG - 2ltr, 150ps - 51.4mpg combined - 119mph - 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds C02 = 144 g/km
I liked the Yeti, as did Muddy Madam, and that’s high praise indeed. Whatever the journey, the Yeti didn’t disappoint us, it always felt secure and the 2ltr, 150ps diesel hurtled us along at a nice pace too.
I don’t have the mileage details to hand, but during the week I drove quite a number of short journeys as well as longer, more tedious ones, and the fuel gauge hardly budged. As far as I can remember, this is the first press car that’s gone back with around 1/2 a tank of its original fuel left!
Skoda have a reputation for making solid, well built cars, and the Yeti is no exception. I wouldn’t say that it’s an exciting car, but it isn't boring either, it’s a very good, practical vehicle, and if offered, I wouldn’t hesitate taking one on long term test!