Skoda Yeti SUV

£17,000 - £27,290

The Skoda Yeti is a crossover with chunky looks, a practical interior and plenty of character. It has a high ride height in the style of an SUV, a robust cabin and a wide range of engines (most of which are diesels) as well as either two or four-wheel drive, so it is as tough as it looks. It goes head-to-head with other crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage.

There are two versions of the Yeti – the standard version and the Outdoor model. Both of them are available with either two or four-wheel drive, but the Outdoor variant has a more rugged off-roader-like appearance. Classier models are also available in the form of the Monte Carlo and Laurin and Klement (L&K) editions, both of which are four-wheel drive only.

Both petrol and diesel engines are available. The 109bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel suits the two-wheel-drive Yeti well and is very cheap to run, returning 62.8mpg and costing £30 a year to tax. The same engine is also available in the four-wheel-drive Yeti, but here running costs increase (53.3mpg economy and £130 a year tax), while it also feels a little sluggish due to the extra weight of the 4x4 system.

The more powerful 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine is available only with the four-wheel-drive Yeti, but it's much better suited to that model and marginally more economical, at 55.4mpg, although annual road tax still costs £130.

Petrol engines start with the 109bhp 1.2-litre TSI, which is only available with the front-wheel-drive Yeti, but is quite brisk, good for 51.4mpg economy and costs £110 a year to tax. There's also a more powerful 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol, reserved for the 4x4 Yeti, which returns 44.8mpg and costs £145 a year to tax.

Despite its rugged looks, the Yeti is really quite fun to drive. The ride can be a little firm, but the steering is responsive and both the manual and DSG automatic gearboxes are smooth and suit the petrol and diesel engines well. There's always plenty of shove for overtaking.

The Skoda's large, boxy proportions make for a lot of space inside, so passengers aren’t short of room. It has a big boot, too, while a high ride height and big windows mean visibility is good. The interior is rather uninspiring to look at unless you go for one of the high-end models, but it's very well built at least.

The five trim levels start with the entry-level S and rise to the top-spec Laurin & Klement version, all of which are available as either the standard Yeti or the Outdoor variant. The S is obviously the least well equipped, but it does come with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The mid-range SE is our pick, though, as it includes useful features such dual-zone air-conditioning, parking sensors and cruise control.

Reliability is one of the Yeti's strong points, as it has been a consistent top performer in our annual Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. It also received the full five stars from Euro NCAP's expert crash-testers, while standard safety equipment includes a driver's-knee airbag and electronic stability control.