Skoda Yeti SUV

£17,000 - £27,290

The Skoda Yeti is a chunky looking, no-nonsense SUV that oozes character and ability. High ground clearance, short overhangs, a tough interior, a range of punchy engines (the majority of them diesels) and the option of four-wheel drive mean it delivers exactly what its workmanlike looks promise. Rivals include the popular Nissan Qashqai and Fiat 500X.

The Yeti comes in two core flavours: the standard model and the Outdoor. Both are available with two or four-wheel drive, but the Outdoor has tougher off-roader looks. Meanwhile, there are more upmarket Monte Carlo and Laurin and Klement (L&K) versions, both offered only with four-wheel drive.

There's a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The 106bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel is adequate for two-wheel-drive Yetis. It’ll return 62.8 mpg and costs £30 a year to tax (53.3mpg and £130 with four-wheel drive). The more powerful 146bhp version of this engine is offered only in the mid-range to top-spec four-wheel-drive models, where it manages 55.4mpg and costs the same £130 a year to tax.

There are two petrol engines, but the most powerful (146bhp) version that does 44.8mpg and costs £145 a year to tax is reserved for the upmarket L&K four-wheel-drive model. Otherwise, the surprisingly brisk 107bhp version is the only petrol engine you can have in the basic to mid-range two-wheel-drive Yeti and Yeti Outdoor. It just scrapes 51mpg fuel and costs £110 a year to tax.

It looks tough and workhorse-like, but the Yeti is surprisingly fun to drive. The suspension is a little harsh, yet the steering is accurate and the gearbox is smooth enough to allow you to make the most of those turbocharged engines when overtaking.

Thanks to its boxy shape, the Yeti is a roomy car inside, with plenty of space for occupants. The boot is large, too. At the same time, visibility is good thanks to the car's high ride height and large windows all round.

The interior is a little plain in basic to mid-range models, but it's very well built. There are five trim levels, ranging from basic S to top-spec L&K, in addition to the standard Yeti and Yeti Outdoor. The S seems quite basic, but offers alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a five-inch touchscreen. However, our favourite is SE, which brings larger alloy wheels, dual-zone air-con, cruise control and handy rear parking sensors.

Owners rate their Yetis highly for reliability and the model was awarded the full five stars by Euro NCAP crash-testers. Safety features include a driver's-knee airbag and electronic stability control.

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