I've managed to wangle a couple of weeks with Autocar's newest long-term test car and I reckon it could be prove to be one of the best cars we've ever had.

I first drove Skoda's Yeti early last year in hills around Oslo. It struck me straight away as brilliantly conceived: tall, short and capacious. It was light and breezy on the roads and - equipped with a 4x4 drivetrain and hill descent control - superbly agile off-road.

Sitting on my driveway, I can't help but admire the sheer common sense of the Yeti's packaging. It's the same length as a Golf, but delivers more useable space and a more pleasant, semi-raised, driving position.

The real triumph is the triple-split rear seat design. Aside from sliding back and forth, the seats can also tumble fold forward (held in place by built in bungy cords that hook around the front seat headrests).

The real winner is ability to take the seats out altogether and turn the Yeti into a van, though it's a pity the front passenger seat doesn't fold forward.

I've spent a couple of days running around town in the Yeti (ours matches the entry-level 105bhp 1.2-litre turbo and a DSG 'box) and can't imagine a better family car at this end of the market.

Its built like a brick outhouse, sweet-running and is easy to park and squeeze into spaces. And I can well imagine the Yeti coping with everything from the supermarket run to running across fields or driving down unmade tracks when you are on your holidays.

There was some chatter that the Yeti was expensive, but I've checked the website and found the entry-level Yeti (which gets air-con, curtain airbags and a full compliment of stability controls) is £13,995 on the road.

The entry-level Golf, with the same 105bhp engine, is £2k more expensive.

I know what I'd buy.