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Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI SE (2010) long-term test review

Published: 09 May 2011

Farewell to our Skoda Yeti - 9 May 2011

Our Skoda Yeti went back a short while ago, so we've had ample time to reflect on its time with us. In short, we're all sorry to see it go.

Skoda has been on a roll for a while and the Yeti represents the best of new Skoda: a bold product that pilfers shamelessly from the Volkswagen parts bin to make a distinctive, practical, unpretentious and quality all-rounder. Only through its Germanic parentage could Skoda afford to offer seven engines, three transmissions and choice of two- or four-wheel drive. It's quite different from other mini SUVs out there.

We sent the car back to Skoda with 14,572 miles showing. Nothing went wrong or needed attention in that time. It sort of makes us wonder if we shouldn't run cars for longer; modern servicing intervals are so long, we rarely get to experience the dealer service on most of our long-termers. With variable servicing intervals, the onboard computer told us we wouldn't have to receive any maintenance until 16 April 2012...

The Yeti scrubbed up brilliantly. It's a bit corny, but you could pass off OY10 CXT as a new car. It pays testament to the quality, hard-wearing materials from which it is made. You notice it inside too - that same sense of VW quality that blew me away in 2009 is still present and correct. Don't believe me? That £1435 optional sat-nav unit is identical to the one in our rather toppier VW Golf R long-termer costing twice as much.

My family loved the Skoda Yeti. It's a very airy cabin, with that huge panoramic glass sunroof flooding the cabin with daylight. And the basic, upright design means great visibility, like in a Mini with its vertical aesthetic. Makes for a roomy car, too. The boot is decent, there's loads of room front and rear, and you can remove the rear seats to turn this into a proper little van.

If you read our full blog below, you'll have clocked that we love driving the Yeti. It has a grown-up feeling rare in this class, riding with a sweet delicacy often missing in mainstream family cars. Performance was never mind-blowing with our lower-powered diesel (a 138bhp 2.0 TDI is also available), but this car just felt right. It was neither slow, nor fast. Just well judged.

Would we order the same spec again? Front-wheel drive is fine for most needs and coped well even in the heavy snows of 2009/10. If you live in Scotland or frequently drive into horsey fields, try out the 4wd. But for most users, 2wd is just fine and you'll save £1705 and 110kg of mass.

We never once used the self-park function, apart from during our long-termers gathering in Wales - to show it off to assembled CAR staffers who'd failed to even notice it was on the car.

Anything we didn't like? Not much. Alas Skoda has nudged prices up so much in recent years that it's hard to describe the Yeti as cheap. Good value at £17,320 perhaps, but no longer cheap. Our 2.0 TDI desperately needed a sixth gear on motorway cruises too.

Running costs? Including options, ours retailed new for £21,234 and our number-crunching friends at Parkers report we'd be offered £15,115 at trade-in, with a likely main dealer sale price of £17,415. We averaged 43mpg over a year, some way south of the claimed 52.3mpg. That is slightly disappointing for a smallish hatch.

So it's farewell Skoda Yeti. You'll make a cracking used car for someone.

By Tim Pollard


 

Weight in cars, heavy seats and the Skoda Yeti - 17 January 2011

Curio fact for the day: the rear seats in the back of my long-term Skoda Yeti weigh 16.5kg each. I only mention it since I've just removed them for a photoshoot and happened to have a set of digital bathroom scales handy. As you do.

It's quite telling that I've only unclipped them twice, both times for photoshoots.  Thankfully the instructions are printed on the back of the chair: slide whole seat forward, fold backrest down fully, pull cord to tilt whole seat forward on hinge, then whip out with two red clips... and take a deep breath.

It's remarkably easy, although you need to be firm of hand, strong of arm and patient of mind. The pew lifts out and feels as heavy as an acre of spuds, never mind a sack.

Now I don't know about you but I'm rubbish at guessing weights. Distances, yes. Weights, no. I read endless press release promo-nonsense claiming half a kilo shaved here, 10kg there and my eyes glaze over. I don't want unnecessary heft in my car blunting performance, handling and economy. But with numbers like these, surely the best way to have fun in a car is to go on a diet, or leave the family behind.

So the weight training involved in removing a Yeti seat made me appreciate some of the weight saving claims. That 16.5 kilo saving puts a good diet in perspective.

I might just jettison all three rear seats and drive the Skoda one-up for its last few weeks at CAR Towers.

By Tim Pollard


The turn of the handbrake - 13 December 2010

There are very few things I dislike about the Skoda Yeti. It's nit-picking, but there's only one fault that springs to mind after a weekend in the Czech crossover. The handbrake doesn't seem to fit in with the flow of the other controls - for those of us with shorter arms, we have to outstretch to pull it up and it doesn't feel as though it's reached the top when it's engaged. I only mention this as the steering and gearlever are both positioned where they should be, and have a chunky, precise feel. Still, nothing's perfect.

By Sarah-Jayne Harrison


A match made in heaven – 16 September 2010         

I recently took the Skoda Yeti up north to introduce it to my sister. She's looking for a new, slightly higher ride and, as she now has two young children, a bit more room than her current Audi A3 offers. All of which the Yeti does extremely well.

I've driven Skoda’s squared-off SUV quite a lot and was quick to recommend it to my big sis as a good option to fulfil her needs. Not only does it offer great room and feel airy with its full-length sunroof, it’s really good to drive too. I drove it to Germany when some of the CAR team went to the Nurburgring 24hr race and, bar the fact that there is quite a blindspot when you’re driving on the opposite side of the road, I enjoyed driving it.

So, the Yeti offers everything required for a family of four, and big sis thought it was great. But could we find a 59-plate Yeti for sale? Not within a 200-mile radius we couldn't. Suggests that people are happy with their Yetis. A good thing.

By Sarah-Jayne Harrison


Pushing all the wrong buttons in our Yeti – 23 August 2010


I’ve (almost) nothing but love for the brawny little Yeti, but in the space of one 70 mile journey to work I inadvertently managed to increase the temperature of the heaters, press the demist and, most painfully of all, engage the heated seats (when it was 25C outside). Yep, that gearshift is FAR too close to the climate controls.

By Stephen Worthy


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Mixed emotions about the Yeti – 13 August 2010


Hopped in associate editor Tim Pollard’s Yeti the other day… and initially came away with rather mixed feelings. The glass roof creaks, the ride isn’t that good, it’s slow, and rather unrefined too (lots of wind noise and an ageing VW Group engine are to blame).

Reckon it must be down to the hype surrounding the Yeti – it’s won lots of awards, including a slot in CAR’s own Top Ten cars of 2009, and has many plaudits in the office. I think I was expecting too much, because a recent revisit revealed a good, honest set of wheels, with lots of space, a well-built and well-equipped interior, and I reckon it looks rather good too – what other car can sit on small wheels and look perfectly proportioned?

By Ben Pulman   


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Skoda Yeti: monster or marvel? - 20 July 2010

Just driven our Yeti for the first time. I ran a Roomster for a year and really loved its eccentric character, but this is way different. In truth it’s got far less character than the Roomster – it’s more generic (less brave) in looks and inside it’s totally VW, even down to the final tactility of surfaces and switchgear. Almost too good to be true, really.

But to drive it’s capable rather than lovable – a charge you can always level at a VW. And I don’t think Skodas should be like that. They should be quirky, surprising, and forgiven for a few shortcomings in exchange for a low price. The Yeti’s neither quirky enough nor cheap. First car I’ve ever driven that’s disappointingly good.

By Greg Fountain  


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We welcome our Skoda Yeti - 18 July 2010

Hmm. Just read Sarah-Jayne Harrison’s online update about her Volvo C30’s brilliant stereo and how much it shades the Skoda Yeti’s. Fair enough, the Volvo’s really is brilliant, and the Yeti’s is compromised by stuffing all the sat-nav gubbins into the space normally reserved for the amp. Yet it’s hardly bad. But when I order mine, I’m going without the electric map thing, because the standard stereo sounds better.

Yes, I’m jumping the gun here. Here I am introducing CAR’s new long-term Skoda Yeti and giving away what I think of it straight away. But nothing else I’ve driven during the past three years can get close to the Yeti’s family-friendly talents in such a compact package at this kind of price. It’s great value so long as you steer clear of optional nav, panoramic roof and the electronic parking aid that this one wears. You know, that thing that twirls the wheel for you while you shove back and forth into tight parking spaces. No, haven’t used it yet.

A couple of thousand miles have proved the Yeti to be inordinately entertaining behind the wheel, far more so than its upright looks and tall stance would have you believe, and the initially bumpy ride has softened to an acceptable degree of suppleness too.

You can cram all manner of stuff into the boxy boot (so far, a highchair has gone in in one piece, and so has a kiddies’ climbing frame – though we had to cheat and fold down a couple of seats for that). There’s room for five proper adults in the cabin, four even with Skoda’s own excellent Isofix baby seat in place, and the finish is almost up to Audi standards.

Ours is front-wheel drive, in upper-mid-ranking SE spec and powered by the 109bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. There’s ample shove and fuel economy is working out around 45mpg so far, though I regularly get trip computer promises of high-50s on my processional A-road commute.

The missus loves it too, and when the time comes to prise her out of her much-loved Mk1 Focus, we’re unanimous about its replacement. But let us enjoy the rest of our time with this one, first.

By Glen Waddington

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By CAR's road test team

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