Urban-derived Yeti is competent and practical, with all the driver engagement which made its forebear such a success

What is it?

The facelifted Skoda Yeti, and the sister car to the recently launched Yeti Outdoor.

Unlike its all-wheel-drive sibling, this Yeti is offered in front-wheel-drive form only and gets a more urban-ready look. 

The boxy styling of the previous model remains, but elements of Skoda’s new design language, including its more prominent logo and a larger front grille also feature.

It’s admittedly a mild facelift, and this Yeti has arguably lost some of its rugged charm, but splitting the model line-up allows Skoda to pitch to two different sets of customers.

Three engines are available from launch, with a 104bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol going alongside a pair of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDI diesels, offering 104bhp and 108bhp respectively.

Skoda is pitching its new pair of Yeti models straight at the crossover class leader, the Nissan Qashqai, as well as the Hyundai ix35 and the Kia Sportage.

It’s an important market for the Czech car maker, and one that’s almost doubled in size since 2008, accounting for a claimed 200,000 sales in the UK alone in 2013.

What's it like?

Even in base 1.2 TSI form, very competent indeed. This Yeti is energetic and agile, and while the engine needs to be worked harder than higher-capacity units to perform, it doesn't feel overburdened and noise is never an issue.

Beyond 2000rpm there’s a reasonable amount of torque, and the six-speed manual gearbox offers up a decent shift action and well-spaced ratios. Our only complaint is that taller drivers would likely prefer the gearstick to be higher, making it easier to reach.

On Gloucestershire’s waterlogged roads, the Yeti felt capable and for the most part well planted. There’s some fidgeting from the rear end when taking corners at speed, and the ride does border on the firm.

Both, however, are relatively minor grumbles in what is otherwise a pleasant driving experience.

Inside, the Yeti's cabin remains pleasantly finished and spacious. There’s a good amount of adjustment both in the steering wheel and the supportive front seats, with the upright driving position providing excellent views of the road ahead. Even adults allocated to the rear row of seats will be comfortable, with enough legroom and headroom throughout.

Most of the cabin fixtures and fittings, especially on the mid-level SE trim we tried, are borrowed from the previous Yeti, meaning they’re functional and for the most part pleasing to touch. A new three-spoke steering wheel design is a notable improvement over the somewhat budget-looking four-spoke item found in its predecessor.

As with the pre-facelift Yeti, rear seats can be slid forwards, folded up or removed altogether, increasing available load space to a total of 1760 litres. With the seats in place, standard load space is 416 litres, a small way off the 430 litres of the Nissan Qashqai.

Should I buy one?

If you’re tempted by the more city-orientated Yeti, and you won’t be doing the miles to warrant a diesel or don't need four-wheel drive, then absolutely.

Back to top

This Yeti is as refined and engaging to drive as it ever was, and while it’s not quite treading on the toes of the Qashqai just yet, it’s certainly worthy of maintaining a place on our list of crossover class favourites.

Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI SE

Price £18,110; 0-62mph 11.4 sec; Top speed 110mph; Economy 46.3mpg; CO2 142g/km; Kerb weight 1259kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 104bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 129lb ft at 1550-4100rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Add a comment…
fadyady 31 January 2014

Annoyingly boxy but...

... to be fair good access and egress for those advanced in age, obese or rheumatic