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First UK drive: 2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.

First UK drive: 2014 Skoda Yeti
Now back on UK soil, the facelifted Skoda Yeti continues to impress.

   



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| First Drive | Stow-on-the-Wold, England | Skoda Yeti Greenline |

Overall rating: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

We try the revised Skoda Yeti range for the first time in the UK, with chances to drive both the Yeti and its more rugged Yeti Outdoor sibling on both tarmac and mud. Despite having a less idiosyncratic face, the new version is unlikely to be a lesser-spotted creature as it continues to be a brilliant blend of practicality and refinement at a reasonable price.

Key Facts

Model tested: Skoda Yeti SE Greenline II 1.6 TDI
Pricing: 19,605 as standard, car as tested 19,670; Yeti range begins at 16,600
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door crossover
Rivals: Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai
CO2 emissions: 119g/km
Combined economy: 61.4mpg
Top speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 12.1 seconds
Power: 105hp at 4,400rpm
Torque: 250Nm at 1,500- to 2,500rpm

In the Metal: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

The split between Yeti and Outdoor is reasonably simple - the Outdoor is actually the continuation of the pre-facelift car, complete with plastic cladding in all the right places and optimised approach/departure angles for better off-roading. It's also the only one available with the Volkswagen Group's 'hang-on' part-time all-wheel drive, which is front-wheel drive until you need some torque sent to the back axle. If you miss all the lower-body protective mouldings, Outdoor versions also come with silver wing mirrors as a helpful identifier.

The new car is the Yeti, even though it doesn't get an extra word in its name. This is the urban animal, with a smoothed off, colour-coded body designed to appeal to those who want the SUV's high-driving position benefits without the need for any sort of mud-plugging capability. And even in non-Outdoor format, it's a good-looking machine. The nose is a bit more generic than it once was but there's no real angle from which the Yeti looks ungainly, if you like this sort of boxy, no-nonsense approach. Which we do.

Inside, the Yeti is huge with headroom akin to the Sistine Chapel's, and the superb Varioflex fancy folding rear seats are all present and correct. The new bits are the three-spoke steering wheel, additional seat fabrics and decorative trims designed to pump up the premium feel. It's a success, because there's not a dodgy plastic in sight and everything feels classy.

Driving it: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

There are two petrol engines and four diesels, with manual and DSG automatic gearbox options of varying ratios across the range. Plus, of course, you can specify the Outdoor with 4x4 tech. We opted to drive the Yeti SE Greenline II on the road, which is at the more affordable end of the range both in terms of purchase price and running costs.

The lasting impression of the Yeti's dynamic character is a good one. There are no real areas of complaint, in fact. It resists roll brilliantly for something so high-sided, especially in Greenline II trim (it rides 25mm lower for aerodynamic frugality), has surprisingly excellent steering and a competent chassis that provides a serene ride 95 per cent of the time. Very occasionally, the damping seems to get out of sync and the car can bobble along a bit, but it'll take large undulations in the road to reveal this minor flaw.

The 1.6 TDI is a strong unit and remains silky from idle to near-redline, although there's no real reason to thrash the Yeti through the gears. With five speeds, it can sometimes get a bit flustered as is vacillates between wanting third or fourth in urban environments, but again this is nothing major - mainly because the gearshift is a pleasing and precise thing to use anyway. You're better off surfing the Yeti's sub-3,000rpm muscle, because peak torque is all done with after 2,500rpm. Drive it in that manner and it will keep up with any traffic flow you'll encounter, returning exceptional economy in the process.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Three trim lines are available across all cars, which are S, SE and Elegance. The Outdoor line also gets the all-singing, all-dancing Laurin & Klement range-topper. SEs are 1,510 more than S models, Elegance cars add 1,825 over the SEs and the L&K is 2,100 more than an Elegance, and starts at 25,490 - quite a lot of folding for a Skoda Yeti, but it will come with everything on it, including satnav, a full L&K-monogrammed leather interior and a panoramic sunroof. However, S models are fitted with such toys as air conditioning, 16-inch alloys and electric windows, so on balance you'd say Yetis were well-specified across the line-up.

The Greenline II is the super-eco warrior, with its aforementioned lower ride height, 16-inch alloys with low rolling resistance tyres inflated to a higher pressure, start-stop functionality with battery charging via the car's kinetic energy, a longer final drive ratio and a lower idle speed all going to return 61.4mpg and CO2 of 119g/km from the only engine you can have, the 105hp 1.6 TDI. That's no VED in the first year and 30 annually after that. Its benefit in kind (BIK) is 18 per cent and you'll need to splash out 18,095 for an S model.

Worth Noting

As per our SEAT Leon ST UK review of last week, those of you who fancy a petrol Yeti would be well advised to try the 1.2 TSI option. It proves a willing performer in the Skoda's sizeable body and maintains its velvet smoothness right up to 6,000rpm. It's also the cheapest way into Yeti ownership, if you opt for the basic S model with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Summary

The Yeti and its Outdoor sibling will continue to be as hugely competitive in this segment as ever, and Skoda's aim to shift even more units in 2014 looks eminently achievable off the back of the SUV twins. They are big inside, well-equipped for a reasonable price and possessed of excellent on-road manners. Overall, while the face is just a little less distinctive than it once was, the two-tier Yeti range goes from strength to strength.


Matt Robinson - 31 Jan 2014



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2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.



2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Yeti. Image by Skoda.
 






 

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