Skoda Yeti SUV review (2009-2017)
"The Skoda Yeti is a great all-rounder, with practicality and affordability in abundance, while it’s also surprisingly fun to drive."
- Surprisingly reasonable running costs
- Impressively practical
- Decent to drive
- Ride is a little firm
- Not the most exciting to look at
- Seats are heavy and difficult to move
There’s nothing quite like the Yeti and very soon, you’ll only be able to buy a used one, since the model is being phased out to make way for the Skoda Karoq. As a result, new, unregistered Yetis are now only available from dealer stock.
In some ways, it’s a pity the Yeti is leaving us. It’s quite different from any other SUV on the market. It has a boxy and functional yet charming design that has found favour among active, independent-minded couples and families alike.
A recent facelift brought it more in line with Skoda’s current family look, but left it fundamentally unchanged, meaning it’s more than capable of taking whatever job you care to throw its way – be that hauling the family to distant relatives, filling up for a camping trip or even moving furniture.
Of course, since the Yeti was launched, a host of rivals have arrived. They include the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. In the face of this onslaught, Skoda recently scaled back the Yeti range to one core model it calls the Outdoor, but in a range of trims.
As its name suggests, it’s for more active (or active-feeling) buyers, so has adventurous styling touches that include tough body cladding and metal-looking skid plates under the front and rear of the car intended to protect its vulnerable underside from scrapes. It comes with two or four-wheel drive as well.
Power is provided by a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The smallest petrol is a 1.2-litre TSI producing 109bhp. That’s not terribly powerful, so it’s only available with two-wheel drive, although you can have it with a manual or automatic gearbox. Either way, it’s capable of up to 51.4mpg.
This economy figure, plus the model’s lower purchase price, means drivers doing less than 12,000 miles a year should consider this engine over all the others, including the more economical diesels. The other petrol engine is a 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI. It’s only available with four-wheel drive, which drags economy down to 44.8mpg.
The 109bhp 2.0-litre diesel with two-wheel drive is the most economical engine. Depending on wheel size, it returns up to 64.2mpg. It, too, is available with four-wheel drive. The more powerful 148bhp diesel is only available in this format and as result, its economy nosedives to 55.4mpg. Still, that’s better than the smaller diesel when fitted with four-wheel drive. It has to work harder and as a consequence returns a best of 53.3mpg. It is cheaper to buy, though, than the 148bhp version.
Perhaps the biggest surprise about the Yeti is the way it drives, which completely belies its boxy, practical looks. Even though it’s a tall, bulky-looking car, there’s very little body lean, and the steering feels precise, so the Yeti never seems top-heavy or cumbersome.Despite its prowess on tarmac, if you show the Yeti a challenging off-road course its traction (with four-wheel drive fitted) is seriously impressive, with its ability limited only by ground clearance and road tyres.
The Yeti’s van-like proportions pay dividends in the practicality stakes; there’s plenty of room for four tall adults, while the boot is not only a decent volume, but a practical square shape, too. The extra height of the suspension and seats helps improve visibility, as do large windows that make for an airy, spacious feel to the interior.
Trim levels consist of entry-level SE, SE Drive, SE L and SE L Drive. ‘Drive’ signifies the addition of sat nav, DAB radio, a heated front windscreen and special alloy wheels. SE L adds xenon headlamps, heated front seats and other convenience items. Every Yeti Outdoor has Bluetooth, air-conditioning and alloy wheels.
The Yeti makes a very safe family car – crash safety experts Euro NCAP awarded it the full five stars in testing and all the safety equipment you would expect is standard. It should be easy to live with, too. It finished 2nd out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK.
It seems that owners are very pleased by their cars and the Yeti has very loyal owners. Act now to catch one before it’s too late.