Skoda Yeti: Road Test

13 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Skoda Yeti: Road Test

Skoda Yeti

: Road Test

Cheeky Czech offers all the practicality you’d expect from a compact SUV with a tenacious offroad attitude to boot

Skoda Yeti 77TSI and 103TDI

Road Test

Price Guide (recommended price before statutory delivery charges): $26,290/$37,990 (77TSI/103TDI)

Options fitted to test car (not included in above price): Sat Nav $2890, Metallic Paint $490, Rear Parking Sensors $640, Offroad Technology Package $TBC

Crash rating: Five-star (EuroNCAP)

Fuel: 95 RON PULP/Diesel

Claimed fuel economy (L/100km): 6.6/6.7

CO2 emissions (g/km): 154/174

Standing out in a crowded market segment isn’t an easy thing to do. The compact SUV sector is busier than ever, fiercely competitive, and still expanding. Being a newcomer to such a dynamic marketplace can, therefore, be a little intimidating.

So what does it take to prove oneself in an already established arena? A good price? Check. Practical packaging? Check. Quality engineering? Check. Distinctive looks? Check, again. Or should that be Czech again!

All of the above qualities are possessed by the Skoda Yeti. And while it’s unique appearance may not be to everyone’s taste, there’s no disputing the soundness of Yeti’s underpinnings, which it shares with its twin-under-the-skin, Volkswagen Tiguan.

Presently, Skoda offers two versions of the Yeti locally. A petrol-powered front-wheel drive model dubbed 77TSI (referencing the engine’s output in kilowatts and the method of its induction) and a turbodiesel all-wheel drive offering called 103TDI. Both are available in conjunction with the choice of manual or DSG (dual-clutch automated) transmissions, and both are offered with an extensive optional equipment catalogue.

This situation sees the Yeti range split by what can only be described as a rather vast chasm in its pricing strategy. But fear not. Skoda Australia has a third model on the boat, the 118TSI. which it says will slot neatly between the current twosome when it arrives in March (2012).

Testing a manual 77TSI and DSG-equipped 103TDI, we found that vast chasm pertains to more than Yeti’s pricetag. The performance difference, too, is very apparent.

Yeti 77TSI is powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol developing 77kW/175Nm. The figures are lean and in a vehicle weighing neigh on 1400kg motivation is unhurried, and more often than not relies on the driver to anticipate changes in grade ahead of time and downshift to avoid losing pace.

A good thing, then, the six-speed manual gearbox’s action is light and accurate. The clutch, too, is well assisted, though its high, narrow friction point can take a little getting used to.

The constant provocation required to keep Yeti 77TSI at parity with traffic takes its toll on fuel economy. During our time with the little monster it averaged 7.8L/100km– more than a litre above the ADR testing average.

Around town Yeti 77TSI is delightfully light, easy to park and offers excellent all-round visibility. The logical layout of the dashboard and an uncluttered instrument panel offer all the mod cons you’d expect at this price point, with no unnecessary frills.

The only off-putting aspects of Yeti’s cabin were a small sun visor that was next to useless when flipped around to the side window, and a driving position that was fiddly to perfect. The tilt/reach steering column didn’t offer quite enough travel to position itself in relation to the seat which meant sitting closer than preferable to the pedals. It’s a small gripe, and one that probably wouldn’t affect taller drivers.

Moving to the diesel-powered Yeti 103TDI we found a more resolved and cohesive driveline that makes good use of Volkswagen’s six-speed DSG automated manual transmission to offer not only more enthusiasm around town – and when overtaking – but more effortless subjugation of large hills when laden with passengers and baggage. And this despite being around 200kg heavier than Yeti 77TSI.

Fuel economy was also closer to the claimed average, Yeti 103TDI consuming 6.8L/100km (as tested).

The initial delay (or lag) experienced in many turbodiesels simply isn’t a factor in Yeti, only a brief moment of hesitation from the DSG before setting off, which is easily countered with a bit of anticipation (or familiarity) from the driver.

The all-wheel-drive model also feels more stable than its front-drive counterpart, tackling wet weather or unsealed roads with aplomb. We didn’t get quite as adventurous as those attending the Yeti’s local launch late last year. but the car did prove itself more capable than many others in this class.

Yeti is more stiffly sprung than some class competitors, and this helps it corner with more tenacity. Yeti uses steel components (where VW’s Tiguan uses aluminium) in the construction of its suspension, but essentially the MacPherson strut (front) / multi-link (rear) arrangement is the same.

The quicker ratio of the electro-hydraulic rack and pinion steering also aids in nimble response, and when parking, while the optional Offroad Technology pack’s Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Assist (part of an offroad-orientated stability control and antilock brake package) keep a watchful, albeit slightly cautious, eye over proceedings on loose surfaces.

Up back, Yeti’s practical side sees it offer between 310 and 415-litres of boot space with the rear pews in place (depending on their position).

The rear seat is split into three components which are foldable, and even removable. Skoda calls this clever design Varioflex.

The cargo bay is covered, serviced by a 12V power outlet and offers plenty of underfloor storage – alongside a full-size steel spare wheel.

Were Skoda to position Yeti to be slightly more competitive against its cousin Tiguan (which is currently priced from $28,480 to $42,990) the choice would be clear cut.

As it stands, however, the only true decider will be the added versatility and funky looks in giving Skoda a much needed edge in this bustling, burgeoning marketplace.

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Published. Wednesday, 8 February 2012

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