Review

Skoda Yeti SUV

£17,210 - £27,545

There's no doubting that if you want a genuine all-rounder – i.e. a car that can do the school run, manage the weekly shop, not cost the earth to buy or run, do a little bit off off-roading and be decent to drive at the same time – then the Skoda Yeti is one of the best choices there is.

Up against rivals like the Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, it does make sense, but it's starting to feel its age compared to newer competition. You can have your Yeti in two different versions: standard or Outdoor. They’re both available in two or four-wheel drive, but the Outdoor gets some chunky body cladding, as well as front and rear skid plates, highlighting its more ‘adventurous’ emphasis.

Under the bonnet, there's a choice of two petrols and two diesels. In the petrol corner, there's a 108bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and a 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre (only available in the Yeti Outdoor and with four-wheel drive). These manage the 0-62mph sprint in 10.7 and 8.7 seconds while returning 52 and 45mpg fuel economy respectively. CO2 emissions stand at 128 and 147g/km, meaning annual road-tax bills of £110 and £145.

The diesels are likely to be more popular, however. They both displace 2.0 litres and come with either 108 or 148bhp. The latter is only available with four-wheel drive, although it can be specified in both the standard and Yeti Outdoor models, unlike the more powerful petrol.

We’d say the less powerful diesel is more suited to the two-wheel-drive Yeti. This is because the extra weight of four-wheel drive blunts performance – the 0-62mph time jumps from 11.6 to 12.2 seconds – and fuel economy suffers, too. The two-wheel-drive version will return between 62 and 64mpg (depending on wheel size) and emits 115g/km of CO2, while the 4x4 version returns around 53mpg and emits 137g/km of CO2. That means your annual tax bill increases from £30 to £130, and, for company-car drivers, the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating jumps from 20 to 24%.

The more powerful 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel works well with the 4x4 system and is actually more economical than a similarly equipped 108bhp engine, returning around 55mpg. CO2 emissions of 134g/km equate to an annual road-tax bill of £130 and a BiK rating of 23%.

Despite its off-roader-esque looks, the Yeti is actually quite good fun to drive, with direct steering and well controlled body lean in corners. Granted, the ride is slightly firmer than that of some rivals, but the Skoda is never actively uncomfortable. With four-wheel drive, it's actually pretty capable off-road, being able to handle some fairly tough terrain.

That boxy shape also means the Yeti is a practical car, with plenty of space inside for four adults and a good-sized, well-shaped boot. The high ride height and large windows all round mean plenty of light gets in and the view out is impressive as well.

Five trim levels are available – S, SE, Monte Carlo, SE L and L&K – and they all come with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, an infotainment system controlled from a five-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone connectivity and alloy wheels. Our favourite of the five, however, is SE, which adds dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and cruise control. However, it's slightly disappointing that you don’t get satellite navigation as standard on any model except top-spec L&K version.

We wouldn’t worry too much about the Yeti as an ownership proposition, either. It consistently scores well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys and in the 2015 edition came second overall out of 200 cars, although in terms of pure reliability it was ranked 31st.

Safety shouldn’t be a concern, either, thanks to the Yeti's maximum five-star Euro NCAP score. As standard, you get loads of airbags, a tyre-pressure monitoring system and ISOFIX child-seat mounts on the outer two rear seats. Naturally, you also get the mandatory electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes.