it was released in 2009, I didn’t expect the Skoda Yeti to do as well as it has, because it’s boxy, utilitarian shape seemed out of kilter with the rest of its stylish crossover competition. But the fact is, it quickly become one of the most talked about cars in its segment, and for all the right reasons. Refreshed in 2014, the Yeti line-up offers everything from 2WD city dwelling models to 4WD Outdoor models – and even this style-orientated Monte Carlo edition. Regardless of which model you go for though, Skoda claims that the Yeti offers a balance of performance, style and family practicality. Well, let’s see if it lives up to that promise. The interior may not be that quirky or stylish, but it does offer a familiar Volkswagen Group feel, meaning build quality is great. This chunky steering wheel along with a slightly raised ride height, offers a solid, SUV feel as well. Equipment levels can be lavish if you go for the likes of the flagship Laurin and Klement model, but entry-level Yetis are well-equipped too, with Bluetooth and MP3 compatibility, air con and a host of safety kit. The Monte Carlo model gets dipped in vibrant red and black paint and has a custom body kit, sportier seats and carbon touches added to the dash. The rear and boot is what really impresses though Leg and head room is great in the back, but it’s the flexibility of being able to slide the whole row back and forth and even recline that gives it the edge over some of its competition.
These clever seats also come into play with storage space… Open the boot and there is 416 litres on offer, a tad smaller than the Nissan Qashqai. However, there are loads of different folding seat combinations, courtesy of Skoda’s Varioflex seating system. You can even take the rear seats out all-together, allowing for 1,760 litres. So in this case, it beats the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008 for overall storage space. You may expect the Yeti to be quite bland to drive, but that definitely isn’t the case and you’re sure to be surprised how nippy it feels. It certainly doesn’t sway into bends like its boxy shape might suggest. Its steering adds to this enjoyable feel, with plenty of feedback and weighting that is not too light or heavy – offering a great mid-point between inner city and outer urban driving. The only time you will ever register its boxy looks is when it comes to visibility, but that is for all the right reasons, as there is plenty of glass around. Actually, tell a lie, you will be reminded of its boxy shape at motorway speeds – because unfortunately there’s some wind noise. A plus point for refinement however is its composed suspension set-up. Its ability to tackle multiple environments is reflected in its engine line-up, as the range starts with a 104bhp 1.2-litre petrol, and is topped off with a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which we’re driving now. And with this diesel, you get plenty of punch, and a 0-62 sprint time of just 8.4 seconds, although it is accompanied by a fairly large rumble. The efficiency option is the 1.6-litre Greenline diesel, which will return an average of around 50mpg, not quite on the same level as the Qashqai and its 70mpg figure though. As I mentioned earlier, the Yeti does come in four-wheel-drive, so it’s more than capable of tackling dodgy mud trails and the added traction will easily get you up a slippery hill. Some will argue that crossover SUVs are all about style, and the Yeti goes against the grain in that respect. But the undisputable fact is, it sells. And although it may not be a typecast crossover SUV in terms of looks, it offers a surprisingly