There is something with Czech carmaker Skoda. They suddenly hit a rough patch when it comes to assigning a name for their cars. Barring their introductory product –the Octavia that sounded as exotic as it performed, they either end up with very bland titiles – the Superb, or downright weird if not hilarious – Laura. So when it came to their much anticipated entry into the SUV space it was no different. The Yeti (traditionally the mythical Himalayan ape-like snowman) first made an appearance in India in the 2008 New Delhi Expo, when it was still at the concept stage. Two years later, it presented itself again and since then the market has been waiting for it to hit the roads. Is it still worth the wait?
The Yeti borrows the same characteristic Skoda grille with the Skoda logo embossed on it, from its stable mates but the two distinct and rather large fog lamps give it a very unique stance.
The car in itself is a mere 4.2 metres long, clearly the smallest in its category and the short head lamps are a sure shot give away. Though, India may be a country in love with larger than life SUVs like the Ford Endeavour and Toyota Fortuner, the Yeti is deliberately a compact size off roader and the advantages of it we found out only later.
From the inside, the Yeti looks very similar to the Laura. As in the case of the latter, the fit and finish is top notch and so is the quality of plastic and upholstery. As in any other SUV, it does have a rather high seating position, but the seats at the front are adjustable for height as well. Once on the move it does feel and handle like a sedan. At the rear, the leg and elbow room is generous though given the small size, it is not class leading.
So is the case with the boot space, which however can be increased manifold by numerous options to play around, with the rear seats.
Ride and handling
The Yeti borrows the same 2- litre diesel engine from the Laura and has a six speed manual transmission to go along with it. The engine as we have already seen in the Laura is quite capable and refined in city as well as the highway. The Yeti is much quieter than the Laura and is a great car to mess around with on weekend drives. The fourth gear is especially rev happy and press the accelerator when you are there and it will overtake whichever vehicle is in sight. However it takes quite a while getting to the fifth and sixth gears and with the market now getting flooded with automatic transmission options, it is time Yeti got a variant of this too.
Also a few now increasingly granted for options like sun roof and cruise control are missing as well.
Clearly, the USP of Skoda in general and Yeti in particular. Though the ARAI figure stands at 17 kmpl for the car, it returned a liberal 16 in the city and well over 19.5 in the highway making it the most frugal vehicle in the R15 lakh plus range.
Mostly vehicles are launched in markets catering to the needs of consumers. But sometimes there are vehicles that are ahead of time and forces consumers to grow up. The Yeti with its sorted drive and practicality is one such car. It does not have the burliness of other SUVs nor their threatening qualities, but it is a car that has various uses.
Skoda’s after sales and service remains a weak link in the chain and the car itself is somewhat pricey but with no real competitor to boot, it remains an attractive proposition.
Good for the city and the highway and easy on your pocket, it is time for India to develop a taste for such vehicles.