What's the used Skoda Yeti estate like?
As one of the first small family SUVs to hit the market, the Skoda Yeti needed to stand out from the crowd. Chunky, Tonka-toy looks, blistered wheel arches, oversized roof rails and lower-body cladding ensured this was the case, and then there was the name: that of a large, hairy abominable snowman.
Fortunately, there is nothing abominable about this extremely practical and immensely likeable car.
Engines: There’s certainly nothing monstrous under the bonnet of a Yeti. The small 103bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine (later uprated to 109bhp) is perfectly pleasant; the larger 158bhp 1.8 is smooth and the later 148bhp 1.4 turbo is an even better bet for its blend of performance and economy. You can even have a 103bhp 1.6-litre diesel that's laughably inexpensive to run, or a bigger 2.0-litre diesel in either 108, 138 or 168bhp forms.
A 2013 update saw Skoda trim its engine lineup, with a 109bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel in two guises producing 108bhp and 148bhp respectively, the only options available.
Trims and equipment: There were initially four trim levels to choose from - S, SE, Monte Carlo and SE-L. Opt for the entry-level model and you will get 17in alloy wheels, parking sensors, heated front seats, heated windscreen and a touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat-nav, a DAB radio, and Bluetooth connectivity as standard. Upgrade to the range-topping SE L Drive model and you'll find unique 17in alloy wheels, silver roof rails, textile floor mats and a full leather upholstery.
With the facelift, these were cut to two core trims from the four that used to be available. They are SE Drive and SE L Drive.
Interior and practicality: Being quite wide and tall, the Yeti has a generous amount of space inside for five passengers. Just like its contemporaries, the rear seats can slide back and forth to increase rear leg room or boot space. Combine this with the Yeti’s boxy shape and versatility is a strong suit; you'll have no problem fitting a pushchair in there and it's more accommodating than rivals like the Suzuki Vitara. The raised ride height and large window area afford the driver great all-round visibility, while the driver’s seat has plenty of adjustment and will suit all sizes.
Ride and handling: The Yeti is surprisingly enjoyable to drive, too, not least thanks to having plenty of traction. It moves around quite nicely with any of the engines under its bonnet, and none of them are especially raucous. The 2.0 TDI versions are particularly punchy and frugal, and at their best employed in the rough-and-tumble ideal of the four-wheel-drive versions.
The consequences of its height, though, are a rather firm ride and a bit of wind noise at speed, which is something that doesn’t trouble rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai. The steering, unlike that of most modern Skoda models, is quite heavy and can make parking more of a chore than it ought to be.
As mentioned, the Yeti was facelifted in 2013, bringing new front and rear bumpers and introducing two model variations: Yeti and Yeti Outdoor. The move aimed to offer buyers a choice based on how they use their car; the standard Yeti for those for don’t need off-road capability and Yeti Outdoor –with different bumpers that increase the approach and departure angles to make it more capable on rough terrain – for those who do. This was similar to the choice offered by the Volkswagen Tiguan.
All good things must come to an end, of course, and the immensely popular Yeti was eventually replaced by the sober-suited but equally competent Karoq in 2017.
What used Skoda Yeti estate will I get for my budget?
Early Yeti models with relatively high mileage can be found for £3000 or less, but if you want to limit the mileage to below 60,000, be prepared to spend between £5000 - £7000 to find a good example. If you want a facelifted Yeti, examples from 2014 with average mileage start from around £8000.
Towards the end of its life, the Yeti was only available in Outdoor form. A 2017 example with average mileage will cost between £8000 and £13,000.
Check the value of a used Skoda Yeti with What Car? Valuations
How much does it cost to run a Skoda Yeti estate?
Certain petrol-powered Yetis are not quite as economical as you might like, with the 1.8 TSI performing the worst at 35.3mpg (under the NEDC fuel tests that were prevalent at the time) and costing £290 per year in road tax. The most frugal is the front-wheel drive 1.2 TSI: early 103bhp examples consume fuel at a rate of 44.1mpg and cost £155 per year to tax, while later 109bhp versions are a little more cost-efficient at 51.4mpg and £120 per year in tax.
Diesel Yetis are generally much more economical, although the worst performing version is the four-wheel-drive DSG 2.0 TDI 138bhp model (43.4mpg and £230 road tax). The more popular two-wheel drive 2.0 TDI 109bhp manages 52.3mpg and £140 a year road tax, but the economy champion is the 1.6-litre Greenline model. It sips fuel at a rate of 61.4mpg and only cost £30 per year in tax.
It’s worth noting that any car registered after 1 April 2017 will cost £180 per year to tax due to updated regulations that applied after that date.
Helpfully, Skoda offers fixed price servicing: a simple oil and filter change costs £99, a more in depth interim service every 12 months or 10,000 miles costs £169, while the full 24 month or 20,000 mile major service is £279.
The Yeti also offers lower insurance groupings than rivals, which should mean that it costs less to insure.
The Skoda Yeti is celebrated for its long-term dependability, according to feedback from What Car? readers in our annual Reliability Survey.
Owners commended the Yeti's reliability, with minimal reports of breakdowns or significant faults. While a small number of readers mentioned minor issues, such as problems with the automatic gearbox and a rare instance of the engine cutting out intermittently, these concerns appear to be exceptions rather than the rule.
The lack of extensive feedback regarding Skoda's dealer network could indicate that visits to dealerships are uncommon, suggesting fewer issues requiring professional attention.
For more information on the used Skoda Yeti’s reliability, as well as any common problems, read our dedicated page.
Which used Skoda Yeti estate should I buy?
If you only need a car for short trips in town, then the 1.2 TSI petrol Yeti is more than up to the job and, thanks to its power-boosting turbo, can cope with the odd longer journey, too. You won’t find one in four-wheel-drive form, but most people won’t need that.
If you plan to frequently carry a car full of passengers, the 2.0 TDI will be your best option. Even the least powerful 108bhp version is fine, with plenty of low-down torque for relaxed progress. However, that version is quite loud at most speeds, only really settling down when the car is in sixth gear on the motorway. If you’re prepared to spend a bit more money, later 148bhp versions are a bit better in this regard.
E trim Yetis have a few luxuries, such as air-con and electric front windows, but, if you can afford it, go for either S or SE: both are much better equipped. S trim adds alloy wheels, front fog lights and electric rear windows; SE cars also have dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and a CD changer. Elegance modes add adjustable lumbar support, heated front seats and leather upholstery.
Our favourite Skoda Yeti: 2.0 TDI SE
What alternatives should I consider to a used Skoda Yeti estate?
If you’re looking for a compact SUV that’s good to drive and has a comfortable ride, then take a look at the Suzuki Vitara. All its engines offer excellent fuel economy, too, thanks in part to the car’s low weight compared with rivals. Its interior is a noticeable step down in plushness compared to the Skoda Yeti, though – the Vitara is full of hard plastic surfaces.
The Nissan Qashqai has a well-made interior that feels quite classy – especially the facelifted version – and offers SUV-fanciers the raised ride height they desire. It doesn’t offer much more interior space than a traditional family hatchback, however, and you pay for its raised suspension and comfortable ride with a fair bit of roll through the corners.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is a little bigger than the Yeti and its low-speed ride is equally stiff, but its interior is finished with nicer materials. You do have to pay extra for the privilege of ownership, though.