Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI Urban – Review
By Liam Bird
For a while it seemed, you weren’t allowed to like 4x4s anymore. The merest mention of the words ‘range’ or ‘rover’ in the same sentence and you would have your local Chums-of-the-World representatives chaining themselves to whatever most resembled a production line before you could say “the end of the world is nigh”. It was said the majority of 4x4s were bought by fashion conscious families who never so much as mounted a kerb. Being seen on the school run in a two tonne monster with a transfer box became “so very last year, darling”.
So what is one to do if the drive isn’t made from billiard board smooth tarmac? If there isn’t enough room in the eco-hatchback for all of your lifestyle accessories or children? What if you can’t help but wonder if selling the Mud-Plugger was a bad idea after-all? Skoda thinks it has the answer. Step forward the Skoda Yeti Urban.
Aimed squarely at the likes of Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke, not to mention Mini’s styled-by-steroids Countryman, the Yeti Urban is designed exactly for those who like the looks, but not the running costs, of a regular 4×4. Skoda’s marketing department clearly knows an opportunity when they see one. The truth is it’s not a 4×4 at all. The Yeti Urban is strictly 2-wheel drive only.
“Ride is smooth”
It may have lost a driven axle but, on the road at least, the Yeti is far better to drive than its looks and high-rise stance would have you believe. The driving experience is more akin to a well-sorted hatchback than it is to a checked-shirt-n-country-music type 4×4. Because of its stiff chassis you can carry speed through corners without ever feeling that the Yeti is being asked to do more than it is capable. The ride is smooth and composure good. Thanks to its neutral handling balance and well-weighted steering, something about it just feels right. The 1.2-litre, 105-bhp turbo petrol unit as fitted to “my” Yeti (there’s a diesel option too) provides surprisingly sprightly performance. Despite having to work the gearbox a little harder on the hilly bits the change is both smooth and precise.
Inside too, the Yeti is equally pleasing. Neat and solid feeling switchgear fill the cabin. If it wasn’t for the badge on the very comfortable steering wheel, it wouldn’t take much to convince you that you were sitting in an Audi or one of VW’s finer saloons. The large glass area, slim pillars, a ‘command’ driving position, plus of course the extra kit that comes as standard on Urban spec Yetis – Bluetooth, sat-nav, Digital radio – make the vastly spacious interior a very nice place to be.
It’s versatile too. Each of the rear seats can be slid or tipped forward or removed completely. This enables a myriad of seating and load-lugging options. Thanks to the positioning of clever hooks and lashing eyes you’ll never have any trouble carrying your passengers, mountain bike, Labrador or take-away curry home again.
“Nothing not to like”
So should you get one? After all, the Yeti is never going to challenge a Defender’s off road ability when the going gets tough. But then again, are you? With the right tyres fitted even a 2×4 is more than capable of getting you off a muddy festival car park or snowy driveway. Will you really ever ask it to do anything more? If the urban jungle is your default habitat and you’re yearning for something a little more adventurous, then a Yeti Urban should definitely be on your radar. Quite honestly there’s absolutely nothing not to like about this car.
Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI Urban
Engine: 1197cc 8V 4Cyl petrol turbo
Power: 105BHP @ 5000rpm
Torque: 130lb ft @ 1550-4100rpm
Transmission: Six Speed Manual, front wheel drive
0-62MPH: 11.8 sec
Max Speed: 112 MPH
Combined MPG: 44.1