The first time I ever drove the Skoda Yeti must have been in and around 2010. I was at the helm of a radio motoring programme and I had endless requests to review the new (at the time) Skoda Yeti. I can remember that first encounter with the car as I picked it up from VW Group Ireland's headquarters in Liffey Valley. I thought it was one of the funniest looking cars that I had ever seen. Yet once I sat into it, I fell madly in love. In fact, for a long time after that first test drive, I had it on my list of top-five "normal" cars that I would buy... if I had the money.
Many things impressed me about the Yeti, which to some degree remain true today. Firstly, this is a small SUV, however, it feels spacious. It's clever, just like many current Skoda vehicles and the space available within is airy. For some reason, though, I am just not as endeared to it as I used to be. The small SUV segment has grown so much that I'm finding it increasingly difficult to be as impressed as I used to be. This is not my way of knocking this car, or indeed any of the other cars in the segment. It's just that it is difficult to find originality any more. Have no fear though, we believe that in 2018 there will be a new Yeti, and for those of you who have been impressed by the appearance of the forthcoming Kodiaq - we believe that the all-new Yeti will be singing off the same hymn sheet.
I'd still very happily recommend the current Yeti to anyone who is looking for a no-nonsense small SUV - and if you're looking for a good off-roader, then opt for a 4x4 version and you should be very content in your choice.
Unfortunately, our most recent test drive of the Yeti didn't drive on all four wheels. However, the front-wheel drive Yeti is still a nice machine. We drove the 2.0 TDI version which offers 150bhp - and these horses make for a swift car that has very little problems with overtaking. In fact, this machine will bring you from 0-100km/h in a decent 9 seconds. The car can be a little bumpy over uneven surfaces, but on the smoothness of the motorway, it's refined-enough. Where it lacks a bit of refinement on the motorway is with wind noise. This car is slightly aerodynamically challenged and wind can be heard making its way over it. However, once the 2.0 TDI gets up to motorway speeds, it is surprisingly quiet. Off the motorway, the Yeti doesn't suffer from much body roll and the steering is responsive.
Our test car was the Skoda Yeti in Monte Carlo trim. What this means is that you can benefit from nice extras like, a dark-tinted panoramic sunroof, black alloy wheels, and a bolder front grille. The rear seats are separate and apparently, you can even take out the middle rear seat if you want to. The Monte Carlo is nicely connected too and it comes with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Yeti is a reasonably priced car too, and even entry level models come nicely kitted out. To get behind the wheel of the entry-level "Active" version you will be looking at a cost of €23,955 - this vehicle is driven by a very easy-to-live-with 1.2 TSI engine. Our Monte Carla version starts from €31,165. While, the Monte Carlo looks great, we would probably be more likely to recommend saving a few grand and opting for the mid-range "Ambition" trim with the 2.0 TDI engine (€28,840) or even the 1.2 TSI "Style" which starts from €26,875.
While the Yeti may not appeal to me as much as it used to, it's probably still one of my favourites from the segment. It has a quirkiness in its appearance that I like, but it also makes sense in terms of space and comfort.