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Skoda Yeti Elegance review

Skoda Yeti Elegance review 2012
4×4 2.0 TDI CR 170 PS
Another example of Skoda high quality, practicality

Stunning performance from one of Volkswagen Group’s most powerful diesels.

For – A refreshing take on the small SUV.
Against – No automatic available on the 170 PS engine

The Yeti that is reputed to roam the Himalayan region of Tibet may be a legend but its namesake in the Skoda range is real enough. Considering Škoda is a relatively small company it was a surprise in 2009 that it would develop and launch a relatively niche model but refreshing that it was brave enough to use such a bold design. 

The Yeti obviously draws on Volkswagen Group’s enormous parts bin and is derived from both the Fabia and Octavia, its overall length being almost exactly half way between the two. The Yeti is as far away from badge engineering as you can get, having no equivalent in the rest of the Volkswagen brands. The nearest Volkswagen is the Tiguan but that is 200mm longer with a starting price point £4,000 higher.

The Yeti makes a pretty decent fist of the rough stuff
Like its Volkswagen cousin, the Yeti is available in both two and four-wheel drive but is not designed for serious off-road use.  That is not to say that the four-wheel drive Yeti can’t cope off-road as it is equipped with a full range of electronic gizmos. Engaging the  off-road button fitted as standard on the Elegance version provides uphill start assist, downhill assist, and ABS off-road.

Skoda Yeti Elegance review 2012Wide range of prices and excellent specifications
Yetis are available from a very reasonable £14,945 for the 105 PS 1.2 TSI E with front-wheel drive, right up to £23,675 for the 2.0 TDI CR 170 PS 4 x 4 Elegance reviewed here. It always seems a bit risky to have a car that looks like a 4 x 4 but only has two driven wheels, particularly when recent winters are taken into account. You can imagine the embarrassment of getting stuck in the snow.

At this level the specification wants for little with 17”alloy wheels, multi-function, leather-trimmed  steering wheel, bi-xenon headlights with cornering function, boarding lights built into door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, leather trim, heated front seats, Bluetooth hands-free telephone pre-installation, automatic wipers, lights and rear view mirror and electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors.

Despite being four wheel drive with a higher than normal ride height the Yeti drives just like a car and has excellent handling, steering and braking with a remarkably gentle ride. The 170 PS diesel and its stump-pulling 350 Newton metres of torque really makes this relatively small car an absolute flyer which, with reasonable restraint, will still return 45 – 50 mpg.

Skoda Yeti Elegance review 2012The Yeti has an excellent driving position and higher than average viewing height without being an obvious ‘Chelsea tractor’. In line with all Volkswagen Group products the seats are very supportive on long journeys and lumbar support adjustment.

The Yeti has not just been designed to look good but to have real practical benefits. The rear seats are particularly versatile. You can  move the outer two backwards and forwards and fold down the middle seat to make a useful table with a cup holder. The centre seat can be removed and the outer pair moved inwards to create a very roomy four-seater.  All the seats can be folded down individually, useful when carrying longer items and rear seat passengers, and all seats can be folded against the front ones giving a van-like space.

Overall the Yeti is an excellent package ideally in all wheel drive format as it offers interesting styling, a compact shape but with plenty of room, excellent road manners and the high level of quality, fit and finish now expected of Skoda.

Skoda Yeti Elegance review 2012

© Robert Couldwell. August 2012
For publication on Wintons World

 Skoda Yeti Elegance 4x4 170 PS
Engine:2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel
170 PS@ 4,200 rpm
350 Nm @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
6-speed manual
Acceleration:0-62 mph 8.4 seconds
Top Speed:125mph / 200 kph
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined -47.9 mpg
CO2:155 g/km
Emissions class:
Euro 5
Length:4,223 mm
1,956 mm
Height:1,691 mm
1,460 kg / 3212 lb
Wheel-base:2,578 mm
Aluminium front and 5-link rear
Boot capacity:
416 – 1,760 litres
Competition:Kia Sportage, Hyundai ix35, Ford Kuga
For:A refreshing take on the small SUV
Against:No automatic available on the 170 PS engine

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