The Skoda Yeti

The practicality of an off-roader with the ease of driving of a family car, the Skoda Yeti goes up against the toughest terrain around but can it hold its own against its more expensive rivals?
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It’s a name that conjures up images of mountains, woodland, snow, inaccessibility and mystery. It’s also a bold name, in that, had the car not been any good there’s be a whole host of ‘abominable’ jokes being written about it. The good people at Skoda though must have had faith, because the Yeti is superb. Well, actually it’s not superb, that’s another Skoda model, it’s excellent.

Driving through some of the toughest off-road terrain around in the depths of Scotland would be a tough test for a car twice the price of the Yeti, which starts at around £14,000, but the muddy crests and potholes proved no match for the rugged Skoda.

In fact, at times it was hard to tell you were even off road, it was possible to have a conversation at the volume you’d have on a trip to the shops, despite wallowing through deep muddy trenches. It really is quite remarkable.

Looks wise, it’s not as aggressively large as you’d associate with a 4x4, so it should slip under the anti-SUV brigade’s radar, but, at just 4.2m long there still feels to be ample space in the inside. The rear seats can be folded, turned round and even removed if you need more room still.

The Yeti comes in a variety of engine sizes and configurations, from 1.2l-litre turbo petrol to 2.0 TDI, and 2-wheel drive to 4x4.

The 4x4 I was driving came equipped with a hill descent mechanism that involved putting the car in neutral, tapping the break and letting it head down the hill. A very eerie feeling but it worked. It also had an off-road button that tweaked the traction control and ABS and varied the torque to each wheel. With these settings in place, no obstacle was too much trouble for the Skoda.

It’s also a rather good-looking car - spotlights, grilles, neat chunky bodywork – it’s all rather stylishly understated. And I think that’s what this car does best. If you’re not interested with the superficiality of a fancy badge and want something that’s value for money and does the job then this is the car for you. Take my word for it, it’s a brilliant car.

Indeed, so impressed was I by the Yeti that I may well buy one when it comes to changing my current car.