Unless you venture off road in your Skoda Yeti or are particularly excessive with the throttle from launch, you’re unlikely to notice whether your model is two or all-wheel drive; the latter's Haldex system adds no perceptible weight to the transmission or clutch. This makes the Yeti an easy car to drive through traffic whichever model you opt for, and it is a crucial bit of information to help selecting the engine of your choice.
The entry-level 1.2 TSI is only available in front-wheel drive. Despite this it’s likely to be one of the best selling models in the line-up alongside the two-wheel drive 110 TDI, which is similarly impressive in real world usage. Don’t be deceived by the engine’s underwhelming on-paper figures. In practice the free-revving TSI motor is a rewarding engine to work around urban roads and even on motorways, and is usefully refined. Okay, so you’ll find yourself without much instant acceleration for overtaking at high speed but the rest of the time the 1.2 does nothing but compliment the Yeti’s well-judged package.
The 1.4 TSI is, likewise, only available as a front-drive model. It adds a useful helping of additional power and torque for a minimal economy loss, and remains a well refined unit that allows for decent progress.
The VW Group’s excellent 158bhp 1.8 TSi petrol engine, which combines direct injection and a turbocharger, is well suited to the Yeti. The unit is smooth, very quiet and has the serious low-down muscle to rival the best diesels.It is available with 2WD and 4WD, as are all the diesels.
The Greenline model gets a 104bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine and five-speed manual, as well as standard stop-start, improved aerodynamics, lowered suspension and a system that can store excess energy produced by the alternator and use it to power the ancillaries at appropriate moments. All of which results in headline figures of 61.4mpg and 119g/km.
The mid-spec 138bhp 2.0TDI is usefully more rounded than the entry-level 2.0 TDI. It offers up decent performance even when the Yeti is fully loaded, giving it appeal for anyone looking for a workhorse.
The more powerful 2.0-litre TDI engine provides and even more effortless, flexible drive, so is the best option if performance really matters to you, or if you plan on using the Yeti for towing or for the van-like carrying capability that its removable seats can provide.
The gearshift offers a pleasing combination of lightness and accuracy; each gear engages positively and the shift action between is fluid and notch-free. We'd recommend the manual over the auto option on every engine.