| Week at the Wheel | Skoda Yeti |
Model tested: Skoda Yeti SE Plus 1.8 TSI 4x4
Pricing: £20,440 (£22,380 as tested)
Engine: 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door crossover
Rivals: Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai
CO2 emissions: 189g/km
Combined economy: 35.3mpg
Top speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 8.4 seconds
Power: 150bhp at 4,300rpm
Torque: 184lb.ft at 1,500rpm
Inside & Out:
Despite having sold 100,000 Yetis since its 2009 introduction, this Skoda continues to split opinion and turn onlookers' heads. Proportionately it's spot-on, with a jacked up wheel at each corner stance and chunky bumpers. But the oversized dinner-plate style lights, wraparound screen and gaping wheel-arches still draw people's eyes.
Inside, it's like almost every other Skoda product (Fabia and Roomster excepted), which means quality belying its price tag. Much is borrowed from the larger and more expensive Superb, but individual rear seats can be slid, tumbled forward or removed completely to make the Yeti the most practical Skoda in the range.
Ride & Handling:
Don't expect the Yeti to drive like a traditional junior SUV. It's a cliché but from behind the wheel it really does feel like a car, and a damn good one at that. We'd never recommend taking a Freelander or Qashqai around a race circuit, but the Yeti's different - lifting an inside rear wheel like the best old-school hot hatches when nearing its grip limits.
Of course it's the Haldex four-wheel drive system that posts those limits so high, and when venturing off the black top it remains just as capable. The raised ride height and under-body protection keep it safe from any potential battle scars and there's the option of a dedicated off-road mode, which includes hill start assist and descent control.
It's not just ability that impresses though; it's the way the Yeti communicates with the driver as well. The steering and pedals are well weighted, the suspension supple and the driving position is adjustable and supportive.
Engine & Transmission:
In this case, the engine's a bit of an anomaly, sharing the same 35.3mpg, 189g/km and 8.4-second 0-62mph time as the more powerful 157bhp 1.8-litre TSI unit, but with a 1mph higher top speed.
Only available in the SE Plus models, it's a great engine with linear power delivery and excellent refinement. However, the four-wheel drive system saps some of the power, so we'd opt for the diesel if this is important - in fact it's only because of their excellence the petrol can only muster four stars.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money:
Bridging the gap between the top of the range Elegance and mid-table SE this new spec level comes with plenty of kit as standard - including 17-inch alloys, satnav, climate control, cruise control, parking sensors and Bluetooth. We'd still like to see iPod control rather than the old-school six CD auto-changer found in the boot though.
It's not especially clean or economical either, the 189g/km CO2
figure meaning annual tax is £245 and the 35.3mpg combined economy not especially impressive. Still, insurance is affordable and residuals are strong.