The Skoda Yeti is one of the best choices there is if you’re looking for a genuine all-rounder. It's a car that can do it all; it can manage the weekly shop, cope with the school run, it doesn’t cost the earth to buy or run, it’ll shrug off a little light off-roading and is pretty decent to drive at the same time. However, if you weigh it up against its rivals, the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage it is starting to feel its age against newer alternatives, and now that the Renault Kadjar is on the scene the competition is tougher than ever.
The Yeti comes in two basic trims; Yeti and Yeti Outdoor. Both can be had with front or four-wheel drive, and the Outdoor is dressed with chunky, distinctive body cladding, as well as skid plates at the front and rear, emphasising its ‘adventurous’ character.
Four engines are available: a pair each of petrols and diesels. There is a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 108bhp and, in the Outdoor 4x4 only, a 1.4-litre with 148bhp. The less powerful engine hauls the car from 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds while returning 52mpg, while the 1.4-litre drops that time to 8.7 seconds with a 45mpg economy figure. CO2 emissions figures are 128 and 147g/km respectively, which means that annual road-tax bills for each cost £110 or £145.
We expect the diesel engines to be a more popular choice. Both are 2.0-litre and they come with either 108 or 148bhp. The latter engine can only be ordered with four-wheel drive, but you can have it in either the Yeti or Yeti Outdoor models,
If you’re going for a two-wheel-drive Yeti, we think you’ll be satisfied by the less powerful of the two diesels. However, chose four-wheel-drive and the extra weight blunts its performance. The 0-62mph time increases from 11.6 to 12.2 seconds – and fuel economy suffers, too.
With two-wheel-drive and the less powerful engine you can expect between 62 and 64mpg (depending on which size wheels are fitted) and emissions of 115g/km of CO2, while the 4x4 variant returns 53mpg, producing 137g/km of CO2. This increases your annual tax bill to £130 from just £30. Those who can choose a Yeti for their company car will find the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating is from 20% for the two-wheel-drive car and 24% for the 4x4.
The four-wheel drive system doesn’t have much impact on the performance of the more powerful 148bhp engine, which returns around 55mpg. Its CO2 emissions are 134g/km which equates to tax of £130 per year and a Benefit-in-Kind rating of 23%
The Yeti belies its chunky off-roader looks by offering what is a relatively fun driving experience, with direct steering and decent body control. It does have a slightly firmer ride than some of its rivals but is never particularly uncomfortable. And if it's set up with four-wheel-drive it actually makes for a reasonably capable vehicle off the beaten track, with an ability to handle some pretty difficult terrain.
Practicality is also very good, as you might imagine from such a boxy shape. Four adults comfortably fit inside and the boot is a good size and well shaped. An elevated ride height means visibility is excellent and the cabin is flooded with light thanks to large windows.
The range lineup gets a little complicated. There are Yeti S and Yeti Outdoor S, then Yeti SE and Yeti Outdoor SE. Then there's the Yeti Monte Carlo, the Yeti SE L and Yeti Outdoor SE, with the Yeti Outdoor Laurin and Klement at the top of the pile. Every model comes with air conditioning, a five inch touchscreen that controls a Bluetooth equipped infotainment system, as well as alloy wheels.
Our favourite of the trim levels is the SE which adds cruise control and rear parking sensors, while the air-conditioning is upgraded to a dual-zone climate control system. Not until you go right up through the range to the Laurin and Klement version can you have sat-nav as standard, which is a little disappointing.
The Yeti stacks up pretty well as an ownership proposition. Our annual Driver Power satisfaction survey consistently sees it being scored well and in 2016 it finished 16th overall out of 150 cars. This is a great result for a car which has, after all, been around for quite a while. Meanwhile Skoda as a brand are ranked third overall out of 32 marques, behind only Tesla and Lexus - an impressive achievement.
There's little doubt that the Yeti is a very safe car, too. It was awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating and is fully equipped with airbags, secure ISOFIX child seat anchor points in the rear, as well as a tyre-pressure monitoring system. Anti-lock braking, electronic stability control and traction control are all fitted as standard.