From £14,245
All the all-terrain vehicle 95 per cent of people need

Our Verdict

Skoda Yeti
The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

The Skoda Yeti crossover is a member of the fastest-growing niche of vehicles

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What is it?

Skoda calls the Yeti a 'crossover with a fresh attitude...combining 4x4 strengths with hatch practicality.' It’s hard to nail down the Yeti from pictures, but in reality it is a finger’s width shorter than the Golf PQ35 platform on which it is based.

It is possibly best described as the missing link between the Fiat Panda 4x4 and larger soft-roaders such as the VW Tiguan and Ford Kuga. The 4.2m-long Yeti is robustly compact, with a near-vertical tailgate and a pleasantly raised (though not high) driving position.

Our test car was a pre-production validation model, powered by a mid-range 138bhp diesel driving a smooth six-speed manual box and a part-time 4x4 system.

What's it like

Although the boot space is a little restricted, the car’s interior package is highly impressive. The upright seating position releases impressive rear seat legroom (which can be varied by sliding the rear seats) and huge headroom. There’s also impressive interior storage - large door bins, a big glovebox, useful centre armrest and various cubby holes.

The cockpit is not exceptionally wide, but the seats are very well shaped and multi-adjustable and you could readily countenance long hours behind the (multi-adjustable) wheel. The fit and finish on these 'validation' prototypes was first rate. All the dash plastics are of an impressive quality.

That sense is underlined by this car’s excellent refinement. VW’s new common-rail diesel is superbly smooth and quiet - I had to be told the car was actually diesel as I wouldn’t have guessed. It’s all the more impressive as other car maker’s Euro 5 compatible engines have got noisier. Skoda also says the switch to common-rail technology also means that the engine’s particulate filter will no longer clog if the car is mainly driven in urban conditions.

The days of slow-witted part-time 4x4 transmissions are over. On the road, the cabin is impressively refined, making it easy for rear passengers to hear what’s being said in the front. Skoda wanted the Yeti to be the ‘benchmark’ for on-road ride and they might well be right.

Norway’s roads are broken and noisy, but the Yeti demonstrated an impressive serenity and suppleness. The positivity of the steering and lack of body roll (it never felt ‘tippy’) is also impressive considering the raised (180mm) ride height. All the controls are satisfyingly light and evenly matched. It’s no driver’s car, but the Yeti is a very pleasant machine to bowl along in.

The engine is smooth and punchy and can easily cope with four full-size adults in a way that suggests this car would make a fine long-distance tourer.

But the most impressive aspect of Yeti is the way it can slide off the blacktop straight into serious off-roading. Its compact dimensions and short overhangs are a great help, but the Yeti’s enthusiasm and capability in extreme situations was a revelation. Even with two wheels off the ground, it could make precise, controllable progress. However, the impressive ‘off-road’ electronic pack - which includes a very capable hill descent control set-up - is a must if you spend a lot of time in proper off-road situations.

Should I buy one?

Is this Skoda’s best car yet? It could be. Well sized, well packaged and impressive on-road and off-road, only the odd styling quirk and strongish pricing stand in its way. In truth, this is all the all-terrain vehicle 95 per cent of people need.

Join the debate

Comments
25

1 May 2009

Might by one. LR should be worried but, mores the point, why would you buy a Q3 or even a Golf for that matter? Absolute hit no doubt. If LR tie in with Fiat do you think they will make a smaller utility model based on the next Panda platform? Could do a Mini style retro looking thing with old school steel wheels and all that - I'm not coming out in favour of retro design - I just think it would be double cool, cheap to engineer, good off road, and it would sell... The LRX just won't work.

Bring back steel wheels.

1 May 2009

Great looking car but Skoda`s unique selling point used to be good quality build for a bargain price...whats happened to that?

Put it on the road for £12k and it makes sense, all the VW brands are going to be falling over each other in the market place at this rate.

1 May 2009

This short write-up on the Yeti contains the word "impressive" no less than 10 times ! - My guess is you were impressed by the car Hilton ...

1 May 2009

Well with that review I'm hoping the Q3 will run on the same platform - is this a Golf based platform and does it share anything in common with the Tiguan?

1 May 2009

Yes, I agree with jonfortwo; What Skoda's achieved in the last ten years is off the scale but 17K looks a bit steep unless that's one of the posher versions. What's the UK starting price?

1 May 2009

It doesn't look very much like the concept - which was a pretty little thing. This looks like a Kangoo, and Skoda have made a mistake. They'll sell a lot - but they would have sold more if they had stuck with the concept car (hidden rear door handles etc.) Amazes me that car companies bring out a stunning concept (remember the Antara?) then actually make a boring box - which the Yeti is.

1 May 2009

Guys I think the car's impressive

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1 May 2009

It's about as handsome as a Yeti.

Don D

1 May 2009

Cracking car. Zeitgeist vehicle - perfect for the times. Skoda will struggle to meet demand. £17K too high a price!? On the contrary this thing will sell and any lost sales due to perceived or imagined too high pricing in UK will be soaked up in Europe in a trice.

1 May 2009

Nice motor, can see it taking Honda CR-V sales, though am not struck on the wood on the inside, maybe Honda should think about making the next Element the size of this and making it here too.

Pricing does seem steep, but Skoda seem to be in image where VW were 20 years with the classless Golf, while VW now looks like you are trying a little too hard, which in turn has moved Audi into the "Are n't I fantastic in my car" sector.

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