Choose a front-wheel drive Yeti and you’ll have two petrol and two diesel engines to pick from. The 103bhp turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol is all most buyers will ever need, but a gutsier 120bhp 1.4 petrol is also available. Most diesel buyers will choose the 103bhp 1.6 TDI for its adequate performance and low emissions, but there’s also a 108bhp 2.0 TDI. Four-wheel drive Yetis get 1.8 petrols with 150- or 158bhp, or 108-, 138- and 168bhp versions of the 2.0 TDI engine.
The range-topping four-wheel drive Yeti is surprisingly good off-road, because it has all sorts of clever gizmos to help you along in the slippery stuff. Like every model, it offers grippy handling and sharp steering, too, so it’s a hoot to drive on winding roads. Unfortunately, the ride is unsettled at all speeds – unless the road is smoother than a cue ball.
The Yeti lets in quite a bit of wind- and road noise at motorway speeds, while the 2.0-litre diesel engines also disappoint because they’re boomy and cause vibrations in the cabin. The petrol engines are smoother, and the Yeti also has a slick gearshift and well-weighted pedals.
Two-wheel drive Yetis are attractively priced and hold their value well, but the four-wheel drive models are fairly pricey. Fuel economy is good for most models; our pick of the range, the 1.2 TSI, averages 44.1mpg, while the 1.6 TDI Greenline II diesel manages a whopping 61.4mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions – and therefore tax bandings – are also impressive on two-wheel drive models, with the Greenline model pumping out just 119g/km.
Skoda consistently features among the front-runners in the annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey, and whatcar.com readers voted the company their favourite manufacturer in our 2010 Reader Awards. So, owning a Yeti should be a pretty painless experience. Interior quality is also impressive: everything feels solidly constructed, while the upper dashboard plastics are dense and squishy.
All Yetis come with active anti-whiplash head restraints and twin front-, side- and curtain airbags. Models from S trim upwards get a driver’s knee ’bag, too. Four-wheel drive cars have stability control as standard, but on front-wheel drive models, it only comes as standard on Greenline II and Elegance-trimmed models. An alarm is standard across the range.
The Yeti has big windows on every side, so you get a good view in all directions – although the driving position isn’t as high as it is in some crossovers. There’s lots of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel to help you get comfortable, while all the dashboard controls are sensibly laid out and clearly marked.
The Yeti's tall, wide body means there's acres of head- and shoulder-room in the cabin. Rear legroom is good, too, and can be increased by sliding the outer rear seats backwards. You also get a big boot, and the rear seats can be folded down, tumbled forward or removed altogether for carrying bigger loads. This requires big biceps, though.
Entry-level E models get air-conditioning, remote locking, electric front windows and a CD player, while S models add alloy wheels, front foglights and powered rear windows. SE models provide dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and a six-disc CD changer with touch-screen controls, to which SE Plus adds touch-screen sat-nav, Bluetooth and a multi-function steering wheel. Top-end Elegance cars have leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers and xenon headlamps.
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The Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI S is a practical and agile crossover that, with the excellent 1.2 TSI engine, is cheap to buy and run. Shame the ride is unsettled at all speeds.