Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDi Ambleside
Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDi
You could be forgiven for thinking that Skoda had the family car market sewn up with its Fabia, Octavia and Roomster models. However, the Czech maker never misses a trick, and it has just released its fourth mainstream model – the distinctive Yeti crossover.
Available with a versatile cabin, wide range of petrol and diesel engines and the option of a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, the newcomer promises a broad range of talents.
If you like the styling of the quirky Roomster, you’re sure to love the Yeti. Employing the same ‘wraparound’ windscreen and rising front window line, it looks just as funky as its little brother. And with chunky alloy wheels, flared arches, roof rails and sill protection, the Skoda looks ready to take on the rough stuff. This impression is further boosted by a raised ride height.
Inside, the emphasis is on premium appeal. The touchscreen sat-nav and audio system, steering wheel and climate control are lifted straight from the flagship Superb.
As a result, the leather-trimmed cabin has a classy feel that gives more expensive models a run for their money – and it is head and shoulders above the Nissan. Classic white-on-black dials are easy to read and the switchgear is intuitively laid out, while the driving position is spot-on.
In the back there’s acres of glass plus generous head and legroom, meaning occupants are treated to a bright and airy environment. The trio of individual chairs slide and recline, and the middle one is removable.
Take all three of the seats out and you end up with a huge 1,760-litre load area, but even with them in place there’s a healthy 416-litre capacity – the Qashqai musters 410 litres. On the road, the Yeti demonstrates great body control. Ride comfort is also good, although the suspension is a little firmer than the Nissan’s.
Our car’s gruff VW-sourced 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel provides power and flexibility, but a short throttle travel means smooth progress requires a delicate touch. The engine also lacks the outright punch of its more powerful rival, particularly in the mid-range. At the test track the Yeti did the 50-70mph sprint in fifth gear in 8.4 seconds – a second slower than the Qashqai.
Venture into the rough and the Skoda shines. Its Haldex system can vary the torque to each wheel, and the Yeti is effectively front-wheel drive in normal conditions. Hit the mud and all four come into play. And with hill hold and descent functions, underbody protection, good ground clearance and short overhangs, you can tackle demanding conditions with confidence.
The Yeti also scores on price, because at £21,320 it undercuts its better equipped rival by £2,525. While the Qashqai started the revolution for urban crossovers, this new Skoda is just as capable as its Japanese rival, and – in some areas – even puts it in the shade.
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 138bhp
0-60mph: 11.0 seconds