The Skoda Yeti is perhaps the most rugged-looking of all mid-sized crossovers. While it's closer in concept to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and even the Volkswagen Golf (on which it's based), it looks more like a fully fledged 4x4 than those models.
Most Yetis are front-wheel drive, though, but they do have raised suspension and beefy bodywork that allows them to travel further off the beaten track than a conventional family hatchback such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra or VW Golf. However, if you pick one of the more expensive 4x4 versions, it’ll even tackle some light off-roading while carrying five people in total comfort.
Your first choice when buying a Yeti is between the standard and Outdoor versions. The standard car features stylish body-coloured exterior trim and is only available with front-wheel drive, while the Outdoor has a more rugged appearance and can be specified with two- or four-wheel drive.
The standard Yeti offers a choice of S, SE and Elegance specification, while the Outdoor has a broader range encompassing the top-of-the-range Laurin & Klement, which has all the bells and whistles you could want on a new car. All models feature air-conditioning as standard, but you’ll need to spend a bit more if you want kit like alloy wheels, knee airbags or parking sensors. Every Yeti benefits from parent company Volkswagen's renowned build quality and this model really feels like it’ll stand the test of time better than some rivals.
In terms of engines, the regular Yeti is available with a 1.2-litre TSI petrol, a 2.0-litre TDI diesel and the ultra-efficient 1.6-litre GreenLine II diesel. The Outdoor adds two more powerful versions of the 2.0-litre diesel. All of these engines are economical, yet none feels particularly slow – even the basic 1.2-litre TSI combines 46.3mpg economy with a 0-62mph of 11.8 seconds.
For most drivers, we'd recommend the 1.6-litre diesel for the best balance between performance and wallet-friendly economy. The pick of the trims is the SE, which boasts dual-zone climate-control air-con, cruise control and rear parking sensors.
Many new (and used) car buyers value reliability and ownership satisfaction above all else – and here the Skoda Yeti beats the competition hands-down. It came top overall in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of the Driver Power survey, which ranks cars based on owners’ opinions and their experiences with their car. That's no small feat for any manufacturer, let alone one that was something of a laughing stock just a couple of decades ago.
Find out what we think is the best SUV by watching our video below.