Review: Skoda Yeti

An economical, good-to-drive family car

22 Jun 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Respectable cabin space

  • Cheap to run

  • Practical

Cons

  • Looks are dated

  • Emmisions are a bit high

  • Wind and road noise in the cabin

Our expert rating

The Skoda Yeti is a five-door five-seat compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). It was introduced at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show and it is the first foray by Skoda into the popular SUV marketplace. Alas, the first pre-2014 face-lift model is no looker, but beauty really is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to motors.

The Skoda Yeti GreenLine II is probably the best secondhand buy out of its line-up for economy. It is not a 4x4 as some of the models are set up to be, but it still has all-wheel-drive styling.

Performance

Under the bonnet, the 1.6-litre diesel engine is a little rough, but it can deliver over 60mpg and its emissions are low, meaning you will pay less road tax. On the road, the Skoda Yeti is as nimble as a mountain goat. It bonds to the road and seems to accelerate far quicker than one would anticipate.

White Skoda Yeti

Ride and handling

It is solid, stocky and only ever feels out of puff when the big bullies of the motorway sit up your backside. With a top speed of only 109 mph it is not meant to compete with the German goliaths.

So having a BMW or a Mercedes glued to your rear bumper can make you feel a little inadequate. Still, the Skoda Yeti is what it is – and twisty B roads are where it shines.

Interior space

Cabin space is respectable enough for four-up, and although the boot isn’t the biggest, the Yeti has lots of helpful load securing rails and shopping bag hooks. The rear seats will fold forward to increase capacity but, cleverly, they can also be taken out so in effect you have a small van.

Skoda Yeti interior

What to know before you buy

The Skoda Yeti is generally a reliable car, but there are some issues to be aware of. Petrol and diesel engines have very high oil consumption, so if the oil has been allowed to run low this can result in engine damage.

Check the level of oil with the dipstick under the bonnet and ensure the low oil warning light in the instrument panel isn’t on. There have also been reports of poor quality paintwork, resulting in a blotchy effect, but this is only really noticeable in sunlight. So, when viewing your would-be purchase, make sure you don’t do it on a gloomy day.

Furthermore, the four-wheel-drive version of the Yeti is terrific for added traction, but because the Skoda isn’t that high, it doesn’t have the ground-clearance of a proper off-road vehicle. Therefore check the sills and underside of the car for scrapes and knocks.

Skoda Yeti boot

Alternative cars

The Skoda Yeti’s most obvious rival is the Nissan Qashqai. The Yeti isn’t quite as refined as the Qashqai because it does let in more road and wind noise, and the Nissan’s cabin looks far less dated.

Therefore, if you like modern interiors then the Qashqai is probably the one to go for. On the other hand the Yeti offers a greater choice of engines making the Czech-made motor a better proposition to go shopping for.

Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai comparisson

Overall verdict

If you are after an economical, good-to-drive family car, then a used Yeti might well work for you. It certainly ticks all the right boxes and Skoda has many trophies in its cabinet to prove it, especially for efficiency.

Indeed, the Skoda Yeti 1.6 GreenLine II won silver at the 2013 Green Apple Awards - the accolade to promote environmental endeavour.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall