Front-wheel-drive Skoda Yetis are offered with a choice of two turbocharged engines. The 1.2 TSI petrol is the cheapest option, but it revs smoothly and has enough performance for most buyers. Many company car choosers will want to pick the 2.0-litre diesel, though; it has only 108bhp but there’s plenty of low-down grunt for relaxed progress.
Four-wheel-drive Yetis get the same diesel engine or a more powerful version with 148bhp. There’s also a four-wheel-drive petrol edition, equipped with a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged unit. That stronger diesel engine is powerful and copes easily with B-road overtaking, but it is quite loud at most speeds, only settling down when cruising in sixth on the motorway.
Despite these other options, it’s hard to look beyond the lower-powered diesel or the 1.2 petrol, since they both have enough power.
The standard gearboxes are a five-speed manual on the front-wheel-drive diesel or a six-speed manual on the 1.2 and 1.4 petrols and the four-wheel-drive diesels. You can get a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic on the high-powered four-wheel-drive diesel, and a seven-speed version of the same gearbox on the front-wheel-drive 1.2 petrol.
Skoda Yeti Outdoor ride comfort
The Yeti's chassis is based on fairly old technology, and it shows when it comes to ride quality.
Some cars are jittery at low speeds but comfortable once you're cruising on the motorway; others are wallowy around town but fidgety once you're on the open road. The Yeti manages to be the worst of both these scenarios, because it thumps over urban potholes and then jiggles along once you're up to higher speeds.
Skoda Yeti Outdoor handling
The Yeti's slightly firm suspension set-up helps when it comes to handling, for this is a small SUV that is perfectly happy being flung along a B-road. The body resists lean through corners and the direct steering is quick to respond to inputs.
You may be surprised at the off-road ability of the four-wheel-drive Yeti. It has a solid enough transmission set-up and lots of electronic aids that help it to keep going in the slippery stuff, and it offers lots of grip through the corners, too.
Skoda Yeti Outdoor refinement
Even if you choose one of the Yeti's quieter engines, you're unlikely to rave about refinement on the move; that's because as soon as you get up to speed your progress will be accompanied by a fair amount of wind and road noise.
The 1.2 petrol is a refined enough motor and it revs smoothly. However, the diesel engines disappoint, especially the stronger 2.0-litre variant, because they're boomy and cause vibrations to enter the cabin via the pedals and gearlever.
The 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is a lively performer, with enough low-down punch for everyday use and reasonable real-world fuel economy. Just be aware that it can't be ordered with four-wheel drive – but for the majority of Yeti buyers that won't be an issue. This engine gets a six-speed manual gearbox as standard but is also available with a smooth-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission that operates like an automatic.
1.4 TSI 150
This turbocharged petrol engine has plenty of power, with 148bhp. However, it’s available only with the expensive Outdoor Laurin & Klement trim level, and with four-wheel drive, so it’s very much for buyers who don’t care too much about how much their car costs to buy or run. It’s hard to recommend, especially when the 1.2 petrol does such a decent job for much less cash.
2.0 TDI 110
This 108bhp engine is our preferred diesel motor. It's gutsy enough to be untroubled by the Yeti's size - either with front- or four-wheel drive - and it offers lower CO2 emissions than the 148bhp version. It's worth remembering, though, that this engine is available with only a five-speed manual gearbox if you’re picking a front-wheel-drive Yeti; you'll need to go for the more powerful diesel if you want an automatic.
2.0 TDI 150
This version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine has 148bhp and is available only with four-wheel drive and the 'Outdoor' edition that brings more rugged body styling. It's perfectly capable, but not much quicker than the TDI 110 in the real world – and you'll pay more for it on list price, fuel bills and company car tax.