We would put the Skoda Yeti in the same league as the Subaru Forester. They aren’t exactly SUVs but do have the ground clearance like one. Spacious inside? Absolutely! Capable of lugging goods around? Most definitely. And they most definitely do not drive like SUVs, but more like regular cars!
The Skoda Yeti is a very understated, fly under the radar kind of vehicle. You could drive past one and not even give it a second glance, but that is the part of the charm. A reason for that is its plain Jane looks but the main reason we feel is because of the colors the Yeti is offered in. They are all very subdued, almost older person type colors with no fuss or pizzazz. Fortunately, the 2.0L diesel engine that powers the Yeti is anything but subdued! One can also have the peace of mind knowing that Skoda is basically backed by the VW group so you have the flexibility of interchangeable parts, not to mention the same fit and finish that one expects from VWs. The 2.0L turbo-diesel engine comes in 2 specifications, one producing 108 HP and the other 138 HP. We had the opportunity to test out the 4X4 version (the 4X2 FWD version was released after our test was completed) and boy were we surprised at the results.
Plus: The Skoda Yeti is as utilitarian and rugged as it gets (for something that isn’t a full blown SUV). With multiple seating configurations, high ground clearance and torque-y motor, it tackles both on road and off road conditions with ease and aplomb all the while maintaining its composure. The Yeti does this without much fuss. The interior is well laid out and comes with all the creature comforts that one would expect from a VW Jetta. It is also very stable at highway speeds and we didn’t face any trailing issues on the road. The 6 speed manual gearbox is snappy and the shifts short, crisp and precise. The all time 4WD definitely helps and we were pleasantly surprised by the road grip despite its relatively high center of gravity. Once you are in the power band (between 1800 RPM and about 3800 RPM), there is more than enough torque to keep you smiling and you will have to be careful not to break the speed limit! The Yeti did remind us of the Nissan Cube we tested in the sense where you could just dump a whole bunch of stuff and be on your merry way (of course we did say the interior of the Cube was Spartan but the Yeti’s is anything but!).
Minus: Turbo lag. Until about 1800 RPM, you basically don’t have much, but cross that number and you are in for a push you to the back of the seat moment when the boost kicks in. And we were a little disappointed with the relatively low red line (only 4200 RPM) and usable power band despite the fact that it is a diesel. The looks can go either way, it is very non-assuming and the colors offered are just the same. The cost is also quite high and we think it is going to be out of reach for a lot of people. Moreover, people will definitely think that they can get a lot more for their money. The biggest gripe we do have is the lack of good service especially since we have heard several horror stories of customers taking their vehicles to the dealership for services. Skoda should definitely take note of this if they haven’t already.
Overall: We really loved the Yeti. It is not your run of the mill vehicle and the people that buy one know exactly what they are getting into. This is very evident from the fact that you don’t see too many on the road. It is not a vehicle you buy to show off, but it is one of quiet confidence and quality. Due diligence is definitely required on the dealership the vehicle is purchased from especially considering all the negative feedback that has been received. It might be a little on the higher side in terms of cost, but which European brand isn’t? But for the price, we would find it hard to find a more capable vehicle (in India at least). This is a vehicle we would definitely recommend purchasing.
The Skoda Yeti is currently on sale in India from Rs. 15,20,000 (~$25,000) to Rs. 19,00,000 (~$32,000) depending on options.
View the complete specifications of the Yeti.