Four years ago, when Czech car maker Skoda launched its first SUV, the Yeti, in India, there was no “compact SUV” category in the market. Even in today’s ter ms, the Yeti probably fits squarely in this category, but in 2010, India did not have an appetite for a car as European as the Yeti, and it never found many takers. However, the Yeti did remain a desirable car in the minds of the consumer, and always had capablity to hold its own on the road.

Times have changed, and so has the consumer, so Yeti is making its second coming. Is it still desirable?

Subtle Changes

Skoda would like you to believe there are dozens of changes, but Yeti 2.0 essentially retains the stance and technology of the outgoing version. At just over 4.2 metres long, it will not inconvenience you in city traffic, while 180mm ground clearance ensures you g et that vantage view that is so essential in an urban SUV.

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Some changes are worth mentioning, though. The front headlamps are new, with horizontal daytime running lights seen in the new Octavia. The tail lamp cluster is also new, but the car retains the hatch-like persona with its chopped roof. Yeti 2.0 is a chip off the old block.

Intel Inside

Apart from a new steering wheel, the interiors are pretty much unchanged, and there is little to complain about. The Yeti has an uncluttered dashboard design and remarkable build quality. There is nothing flashy as some cars these days tend to be (read Mahindra and Hyundai) but barring a USB slot, there is nothing you would really miss. Bluetooth connectivity makes up for it. The wheelbase at under 2.6 metres makes the rear seats a trifle cramped, and the car is not wide enough to accommodate three adults at the rear, so it is strictly a comfortable four-seater with a decent 416-litre boot.

Pleasant Drive

The car is offered in two variants — front-wheel and allwheel drive—that share the same 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine. India does not get petrol versions, and they may not be required either. Nobody would buy a Yeti only for daily commuting. The engine has been tuned according to the vehicle’s capabilities so that front wheel drive versions makes 110 PS power and 250 Nm torque, while the allwheel drive gets bumped up power at 140 PS and 320 Nm torque. The latter also gets an extra gear in a 6-speed manual transmission, but an automatic variant is absent.

Both versions are fun to drive. For everyday use, the 4x2 is more than sufficient. The low-end torque ensures smooth in-gear acceleration without compromising on top-end power. The suspension is on the stiffer side, as you would expect from a European car, but it corners remarkably well and that more than offsets the demerits.

The extra power and torque in the 4x4 comes in handy when off roading, but Yeti is not really a true blue off-roader. Its biggest advantage is the dimensions, which never overwhelm you, and the knowledge that you are in control, always.

The biggest criticism for the outgoing Yeti was its price, and that only gets worse with the new one. At Rs. 19-21 lakh in Delhi, this is not a cheap vehicle. It does not behave like one either, but at that rarified price altitude, buyers would become aware of how close they are to an Audi Q3 or a Toyota Fortuner, and most may choose to climb on.

VW Golf crowned World Car of the Year 2013

Autocar India
First Published: 21:16 IST(28/3/2013)
Last Updated: 15:10 IST(30/3/2013)
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The Volkswagen Golf has been declared the 2013 World Car of the Year at the ongoing New York International Auto Show. This is the second consecutive year that VW has won the prestigious title and the fourth time since 2009. The VW Up! won in 2012, the Polo in 2010, and the Golf VI in 2009.
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The Golf was chosen from an initial entry list of 42 new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of 10, then four finalists: the Mercedes-Benz A-class, Porsche Boxster / Cayman, and the combined entry Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 / GT 86, and the VW Golf. 

To be eligible for the overall WCOTY award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2012 and ending May 30, 2013. Vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of 66 top-level automotive journalists from 23 countries around the world. They include Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India, and Renuka Kirpalani, editor, the Autocar Show. 

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, said: “To win this award again shows that the Golf is and remains in a class of its own all around the world. This car sets new benchmarks again and again, not least in terms of efficiency and environmental credentials. Soon, for instance, it will also be launched as a plug-in hybrid and as a 100 percent electric car.”

The World Car Awards jurors observed that, “Honed over seven generations since its original launch in 1974, the Golf is as close to the perfect hatchback design as any car company has come yet. Right sized, but spacious, practical and comfortable inside, the latest Golf has been brought up to date with a fresh if evolutionary design, a range of new engines, plus an impressive list of equipment and safety features. What’s more, it’s fun to drive. If ever there was a car for everyman, the Golf is it.”

Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Volkswagen Up! in 2012, the Nissan Leaf in 2011, the VW Polo in 2010, VW Golf in 2009, the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio in 2008, the Lexus LS460 in 2007, the BMW 3-Series in 2006, and the Audi A6 in 2005.

Meanwhile, the Jaguar F-Type bagged the 2013 World Car Design of the year award, beating the two other finalists, the Mazda6, and the Aston Martin Vanquish.   

 

The Porsche Boxster / Cayman was declared the 2013 World Performance Car, beating the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta,  and the combined entry Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 / GT 86 to the title.  

Finally, the 2013 World Green Car title was awarded to the Tesla Model S which beat the Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid.

Now in their ninth year, the annual World Car awards have become one of the world’s most prestigious, credible and significant programmes of its kind. 

2013 World Car of the Year: Volkswagen Golf
 
2013 World Performance Car: Porsche Boxster / Cayman
 
2013 World Car Design of the Year: Jaguar F-Type
 
2013 World Green Car: Tesla Model S

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