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Drive

The Skoda Yeti

This car could stand up to a judge under oath as one of the most honest cars on the planet


A good example of how Skoda has attracted a new customer base of people no longer simply obsessed by saving cash

We all like honest people. Honest people give us hope. Unfortunately we British often superficially compromise honesty for politeness.

We often see this in restaurants; you are sitting down to the worse meal you’ve had for ages, yet when the waiter says  ‘Is the meal to your liking madam/sir? We  reply  “Yes! It’s fine thank you very much, very nice! Lovely!!”.  Truth is, it was horrible, gave you tummy ache, and the meat was so tough it took your dentures out on a first date.

Under oath

Cars can be dishonest too, but we accept them all the same. We could fill these pages with a list of so called ‘small family saloons’ that just aren’t. Being a six footer is commonplace these days, and yet I can’t sit in the back of many of them without crushing my knees.

The Skoda Yeti does not lie. This car could stand up to a judge under oath as one of the most honest cars on the planet; it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a car built for families who need a working tool.  Rear seats can be tilted, folded, or removed completely to leave a generous 1,760-litres of load space. There’s more hooks than you’ll find in an angler’s backpack, and more cubby holes and storage bins than your newly fitted kitchen.  ‘You get what you pays for’, plus a little bit more, which is maybe why this car has won so many awards. 281,000 of them have sold in Europe in just four years; it is quite a sales phenomenon.

Big brand philosophy is to make a winning formula better.  Skoda have taken no chances with this new Yeti; there’s new headlights, a bolder grille and lower bumper separating new from old. Skoda has also brightened up the cabin, adding piano black and aluminium trim, and leather seats come with top models. It’s comfy inside with user friendly dials and controls, matched with that German infusion of quality that even comes into the feel of the switchgear. But that’s pretty much it. The Yeti needs to be kept original.

Choice

Four versions are available, the standard entry level Yeti, the super economy Greenline, the Yeti Outdoor and the self-explanatory Outdoor Greenline . If you want four-wheel drive it’ll have to be an ‘Outdoor’.  The new car is slightly more rugged looking at the front and rear than before, with kick plates and a deeper grille. If you really are going to take your Outdoor mud bashing, then there’s an optional rough road package to add more underfloor protection. The Haldex 4×4 traction system is good enough to put plenty of off-roaders to shame, yet its car-like feel promotes a feeling of driver confidence over rough terrain - clever ‘Yeti’ wizardry that.

There’s a choice of 1.2 and 1.8 litre petrol, or 1.6 and 2 litre diesels engines, providing a flexible recipe for the compromise choices we must all make between good performance and mpg. We love the refined smoothness of the petrol engines, but it’s the diesel versions that hit the sweet spot. What’s more the diesels return between 48 and just over 60mpg, with CO2 on the 1.6 litre Greenline down to an impressive 119g/km.

On the pricing front, the Yeti is a good example of how Skoda has attracted a new customer base of people no longer simply obsessed by saving cash, although the Yeti’s starting price of £16,600 for the 1.2litre S is pretty decent value.  By way of consumer brand endorsement, Skoda customers are now willing to pay in excess of £20,000 for a Yeti, with the Laurin & Klement flagship setting you back £27,050.

If car and driver genuinely share the same values, then I’d quite like the idea of having a Yeti owner as my next door neighbour ; it’ll mean  they’re honest, unpretentious, and trustworthy. Best check next door and see what your next neighbour is driving...

The Skoda Yeti Outdoor Elegance 2.0 TDI CR 170PS 4x4

0-62mph: 8.4 seconds. Top Speed: 125mph. Economy/Emissions: 49.6mpg. Engine: 2000 cc, Diesel. Price: £24,440.

- Kevin Haggarthy