However vague the off-road credentials of a new soft roader might be, manufacturers love to give us a chance to drive them in the wilderness. It doesn't matter that 999 out of every 1000 that get sold will never have to deal with anything more strenous than leaving a slightly damp grass carpark – claims for real prowess in the wilderness are still reckoned to matter to punters, and make for more impressive pictures.
Of course, there's a very real risk attached to this strategy: the fact that some modern SUVs are almost comically inept when asked to deal with anything sticky. I once managed to get a Ford Maverick mired in what was little more than a muddy puddle. Other manufacturers have built elaborate pretend off-road courses to a trigarnomic precision intended to flatter their models' indifferent ground clearance and approach angles.
Which is why I reckon Skoda deserves some credit for having organised the toughest off-road challenge I've encountered this side of a Land Rover launch. The new Yeti might not be the toughest-looking appliance, and the company admits that 80 per cent of the ones sold in Britain are likely to be two-wheel drive. But a four-wheel driven one in standard spec apart from winter tyres managed to conquer some of the nastiest terrain that Scotland had to offer. That included a scramble up a steep, rutted track that would have stopped almost all of its rivals, some nasty axle-twisting ruts and even a chance to take one wading through Loch Ness. An experience made more interesting by the waves being lashed up by gale force winds and breaking over the bonnet.