Dave Conole drives and reviews the Skoda Yeti.
Sure, it’s an odd way to introduce the Skoda Yeti but appropriate. Why? Barring a couple of things, it’s a pretty decent car for what it is.
The Yeti provided is the entry level version; there’s a 1.2L, petrol fuelled, TSI engine from Skoda’s owners, Volkswagen, a six speed manual, 77 kW and two wheel drive.
Skoda quotes zero to one hundred as 11.4 seconds. Economy is quoted as (manual) 6.0L per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle from the 55 litre tank. It’s a figure very much in line with what A Wheel Thing achieved.
It’s certainly less funky and somewhat divisive than the original design. The nose is almost pureVW Polo with Skoda’s trademark inverse moustache grille, a more refined, four door, profile without the quirky window line design and a straightforward looking liftback rear.
The Yeti featured clover leaf style 17 inch alloys with 225/50 Pirelli tyres.
On The Inside.
It’s a mix of blandness, some average ergonomics and design engineering, comfortable seats and good viewing. Being a manual, there’s the forward throw of the gear lever, a smooth and non notchy one at that.
The problem here is where the top of the lever ends in the throw; with hand on top it’s right next to the rotary dials that Skoda has chosen for the Yeti, which allowed, all too often, the hand to brush against those dials (air direction, fan speed, temperature) and move them.
All. Too. Easily.
The Yeti’s main claim to fame is the rear seat row being configurable. That may be the case but I had trouble moving one and couldn’t move another. The cushioning itself was finely balanced between support and comfort. It’s surprisingly spacious as well, with a decent sized cargo area of 377L with the seats up and over 1200L folded.
The dash layout is generic, with a small LCD screen displaying an unusual look to the radio stations in the console; it also appears that this car’s GPS wasn’t either enabled or configured for Australia.
Maps brought up a blank screen while Navigation was in all languages and areas bar Australia. The aforementioned issue with the dials is easily addressed by using buttons, it would certainly alleviate the inadvertent moving.
The dash screen itself is, not unusually, pure VW as well.
On The Road.
It takes a bit of time to get going but once spinning at around 2500 the Yeti moves along smoothly and without fuss. Overtaking needs a change of gear (or two, or three) as does climbing the two roads at the base of the Blue Mountains, in Sydney’s west.
Ridewise it’s well proportioned, in that the front and rear feel equally sprung and the tyres add a good measure of compliance for a somewhat plush feel, given its basic orientation. It’s also well weighted in the steering, given a feeling of confidence and not overly assisted.
There’s a small measure of tyre squeal whel pushed into certain roundabouts but the Yeti never feels as if it will lose traction. Overall, it’s a confident chassis to drive.
Compared to the VW Polo tested the week before, the manual Yeti seemed a bit less powerful but made up for it with a better suspension setup. It’s “new tech” by having a keyless start and “old school” in some basic ergonomic failures.
It’s roomier, both for humans and cargo and will be ideal for a small family and sole business owner.
For more details and pricing head to www.skoda.com.au.