They may be siblings but both Skoda and sister Volkswagen have their own unique approach to design. VW seems to focus on details, and Skoda believes that normal is boring. Looks case in point is the Yeti, which is brimming over with individuality. There are lots of good bits to take in. The bulging out of the round headlights, the attractive SUV underbite of the scruff plate, the way the squared-off wheel arches deliver a well-planted stance, and even the arc of the window line. The Yeti looks attractive from the rear as well, and isn’t very long.
This is an urban offroader, and to give it the agility, it’s only been designed 4.2 metres long. Squeezing into tight parking spaces is no sweat. Interiors Space for rear seat passengers and boot volume is good. Using the adjustable seating, you can slide the rear seats back. The front seats are large and comfortable, door-shut and build quality are tank-like and there are plenty of high-quality bits on the dash.
The only hitch is that the rear air-conditioner vents intrude into the space of the middle passenger. Luggage space under the parcel tray is generous at 415 litres. And there are all sorts of nets, hooks and extras that make this boot user-friendly. The Yeti has a highly sophisticated all-independent suspension. However, it uses a full-time four-wheel-drive system. Under normal conditions, it functions like a front-wheel-drive car. Up to 95 per cent of its power is sent to the front wheels, with more power only sent to the rear wheels if any slip is detected.
The Yeti also has generous ground clearance at 180 mm. The car takes to off tarmac, slushy parts with a surprising amount of confidence. Straightline stability too is good. It’s rock-solid at speeds as high as 160 kph and the little body roll is taken care of by the Yeti’s cohesive handling. It is also effort-free to drive in city traffic. You can dart in and out of gaps and the brakes are progressive.
The two-litre common-rail diesel engine and six-speed manual gearbox are well up to the task. Driving in traffic is no chore, and once the road opens out the Yeti displays impressive pace too. However, while the motor spins past 5000 rpm — high for a diesel — it feels strained and it’s best to short-shift. Flat-out acceleration as a result is more impressive than outstanding and 0-100 kph and 0-150 comes up in 11.2 and 28.4 seconds.
Price: Rs 16 lakh (est, ex-showroom, Delhi)
Length: 4223 mm
Width: 1793 mm
Height: 1691 mm
Wheelbase: 2578 mm
Ground clearance: 180 mm
Kerb weight: 1,543 kg
Engine: 4-cyl, in-line, 1968 cc, turbo-diesel
Installation: Front, transverse, all-wheel drive
Power: 140 bhp at 4200 rpm
Torque: 32.63 kgm at 1750-2500 rpm
Power to weight: 90.73 bhp per tonne
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Fuel tank: 60 litres
Brakes (f/r): Ventilated discs/solid discs
Tyre size: 215/60R16 tubeless
Spare: Full size
If you’re looking for a traditional SUV, the Yeti is not for you. It isn’t imposing enough. However, this compact SUV has the appeal of an off-roader with the convenience of a car. The interiors are just what you expect from a car in this class, seating is flexible and it has that solid Skoda build. With prices expected to start at Rs 16 lakh, here’s yet another Skoda you are likely to see a lot of.