2014 Skoda Yeti Test Drive Review
2014 Skoda Yeti – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

2014 Skoda Yeti Review

Car Tested: 2014 Skoda Yeti Facelift

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 22.67 – 24.72 lakhs

The Skoda Yeti is even more appealing now with the updated styling and more features

The increasing urbanisation has led to smaller cars becoming more popular, even if it happens to be an SUV. The Skoda Yeti is a very highly rated compact SUV, one which has caught the fancy of many in global markets. However, in India, the Yeti is yet to find success. Skoda was quick to bring its only SUV to India as soon as it made its global debut but the market simply did not accept the car. With the Indian automobile market maturing and customers increasingly running towards SUVs, Skoda is giving the Yeti another chance in the form of a facelift. The updated Yeti gets a slew of changes but is it enough to change its fortunes in our country? A drive around Srinagar helps us get a definitive answer.

Motor Quest: The Yeti is Skoda’s first SUV and till date its only SUV. It went into production in 2009 and was launched in India in November 2010. The current model is in the first generation and the mid-life facelift was announced only last year.

2014 Skoda Yeti Test Drive2014 Skoda Yeti Review

Skoda has made quite a lot of changes to the front of the Yeti but the rear isn’t vastly different from the old car

Exteriors – The 2014 Skoda Yeti has been given a revised front-end which makes it fall in line with the Czech automaker’s latest design language. Gone is the funky looking front where the fog lamp was placed near the headlight, giving the Yeti a lot of character. The new model uses very similar elements like other Skoda cars like the Octavia and Superb. The fog lights have been shifted below while the headlight (uses bi-xenons instead of halogen) now incorporates daytime running lights (a small strip runs on the lower part just like the Octavia). The hood has been revised as well and so has the bumper, the new car getting sharper detailing. The facelifted Yeti also proudly boasts Skoda’s new logo and the mirrors get the silver treatment (black treatment on the 4×4).

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The side profile reveals the new contrast roof colour, new side fender and new alloys

The side of the new Yeti is quite similar to the old car but the revised front-end has resulted in the side fender getting minor design changes which are apparent when closely looked at. The alloy wheel design is new too and the 4×2 (Dolomite design) and 4×4 (Forest design) models have different designs for the wheels. The rear also sees multiple changes but there aren’t too striking. The bumper has been revised (more body coloured now) and the faux diffuser is bigger than before. While the size of the tail lights remain the same, Skoda has given it LEDs and has changed the internals to align the design with their other cars, there is the typical Skoda C shape. Skoda is offering seven colours on the new Yeti and one can choose between three different roof colours – silver, white and black.

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The biggest change on the inside of the new Yeti is the new 3-spoke steering wheel

Interiors – Skoda hasn’t made many changes to the interiors of the new Yeti, the car continues with the same dashboard as before but gets minor changes and the most apparent is the new 3-spoke steering wheel which replaces the old car’s 4-spoke unit. Besides this cosmetic change, Skoda has increased the equipment on the car, the updated Yeti gets a push button start (in place where the keyhole was earlier), 12-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat (with memory to save three positions), cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, light assistant and Bluetooth connectivity for the audio system. The Yeti is offered in only one Elegance trim and thus equipment is generous as this trim is very loaded, however a sunroof isn’t offered which is a grave omission at this price point.

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Space at the rear is ample for two people, there is more equipment in the car

The Skoda Yeti might be small on the outside but it’s big enough on the inside to accommodate passengers and luggage

The updated model uses the Bolero audio system seen on other Skoda cars but the system is a generation older to them and doesn’t have a slick touch interface, it does have front and rear reverse parking sensors but the absence of a reverse camera at this price point is shocking. The infotainment system doesn’t display time either and there is no direct USB connectivity (there is an SD card but one will need a car charger to charge their phones). The new buttons on the new steering makes it even easier to browse through menus or change audio on the go. Quality of materials is very good, fit and finish is excellent and there is nothing to fault as far as the build quality goes, the car simply feels solid. There are plenty of storage spaces inside the cabin including big door pockets, a cooled front armrest bay, ticket holder on the windshield (driver side), etc. The view all around is good from the driver’s seat.

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The boot can swallow quite a lot of luggage and the seats flip forward to boost space

The seats of the Skoda Yeti are comfortable, they offer plenty of back support and the space inside the cabin is itself very generous but only for four people as the fifth passengers has to deal with the transmission hump which passes through the centre. The fifth passenger’s seat belt is oddly placed on the rear roof but is functional. The centre seat flips forward to make way for a rear seat centre arm rest with twin cupholders, enabling you to access the boot from inside the car. The rear seats recline for added comfort but the same is limited due to the parcel shelf. The Yeti performs well in the practicality front, the boot is big and the rear seats can be folded to boost space even further.

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Skoda hasn’t made changes to the engines of the Yeti, same output as before

Performance – Skoda continues to keep the powertrain options the same as before, thus there is no petrol engine on offer and the 2.0-litre diesel mill is offered in two states of tune, 110 PS and 250 Nm on the 4×2 and 140 PS and 320 Nm on the 4×4. The motor with the lower output is matched to a 5-speed gearbox while the more powerful tune is paired to a 6-speed gearbox, both manual units. Skoda continues to stay hell bent on not offering a DSG automatic gearbox on the Yeti which is a shame because it will boost the appeal of the car by several notches. Skoda does sell the Yeti with DSG transmission in global markets while the Octavia sold in India is offered with the same engine, coupled to a DSG box, so getting the automatic version of the Yeti isn’t as tough as Skoda makes it out to be.

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The 4×4 Yeti gets the new generation Haldex clutch which is lighter, no DSG planned

The Yeti’s 2.0 TDI engine offers a lot of grunt for both city and highways

There are no changes to the engines of the car, both the models drive the same as before with the only difference being the fifth generation Haldex clutch (instead of the fourth gen unit which was 1.4 kgs heavier in weight and also heavier to use) on the 4×4 variant. The diesel mill offers plenty of grunt and although the more powerful 4×4 version is more eager, the 4×2 is no slouch. There is good low-end pep but mid-range is where both the engines excel. The 4×4 is more eager on the top-end, both engines having a light clutch and a smooth shifting gearbox. The claimed mileage of the 4×2 Yeti is 17.72 km/l while the 4×4 model returns 17.67 km/l, the difference between both being negligible in spite of the front-wheel drive model weighing a good 98 kgs less.

2014 Skoda Yeti Road Test
The Skoda Yeti has a good balance of ride and handling, it’s a fun car to drive

Driving Dynamics – The underpinnings of the Skoda Yeti haven’t been altered and the car drives the same as before. The Yeti is known for having a fantastic balance between ride and handling, the same was evident on the twisty roads of Gulmarg where we drove the car. There is good amount of grip on offer, more so in the 4×4 version and the vehicle is eager to turn into corners. Although a compact SUV, it drives like a car and that makes it effortless to pilot the Skoda Yeti in the urban jungle. The steering offers good feedback, it weighs up well at speed, inspiring confidence to push harder around the twisties, body control is very good as well.

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Although not a hardcore off-roader, this Skoda can take the less beaten path easily

The suspension of the Yeti is a bit stiffly sprung and although the ride quality is good, the car can be a bit unsettling on really bad roads, more so for those seated at the rear. Hit triple digit speeds and the Yeti’s good insulation and stability helps mask your pace. The brakes offer good performance and make this Skoda stop sure-footedly even in emergency situations. While the Yeti isn’t a full blown off-roader, it can do quite a lot of mud plugging thanks to the plethora of systems on board including an Off-Road mode which limits the RPM and boosts grip by altering the electronic differential lock and ASR. There is also downhill assistant, hill hold control and off-road ABS for improved performance on the road less traversed. The car also comes with a rough road package which basically seals the underbody to prevent it from damage on bad roads.

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Safety is top notch in the Yeti, it comes loaded and got a 5-star NCAP rating

Safety and After Sales Service – The Skoda Yeti was tested by Euro NCAP and got a 5-star rating. The Indian model should fare the same as it is loaded with equipment such as 6 airbags (dual front, side and curtain), ABS, ESC, ASR, etc. There is also tyre pressure monitoring system. When it comes to after sales service, Skoda hasn’t been performing well here and needs to make big improvements. Service quality and honesty from Skoda dealerships isn’t consistent and still needs to be worked upon to ensure hassle free ownership for owners.

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The Yeti will continue to remain a niche car as it’s positioned towards enthusiasts

Verdict – The Skoda Yeti isn’t much different than the old model. While it looks fresher than before, it’s the same to drive but Skoda has tried to amplify the appeal of their only SUV by boosting equipment levels and that does go down well for a car of this price. The Yeti still doesn’t offer seven seats and there isn’t an automatic gearbox on offer, two features which many SUV buyers want in an SUV of this price. While adding two seats is impossible in the current generation model, Skoda should have offered the DSG box. The Yeti is a very good car but in its current guise and price, this Skoda will continue to remain a niche vehicle in our country, appealing to a very limited set of buyers.

The Skoda Yeti is an excellent car which deliveries in leaps and bounds when it comes to performance, dynamics, practicality and off-road ability (4×4). However, the Indian market doesn’t favour 5-seater SUVs, specially ones which aren’t oversized, limiting the success of this brilliant car in our country.

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Skoda is offering a range of accessories for the new Yeti, to be fitted at the dealer

What’s Cool

* Performance
* Dynamic balance
* Space and practicality

What’s Not So Cool

* No DSG option
* Only one trim offered

Alternatives: Tata Safari Storme, Mahindra XUV500

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The Skoda Yeti is a fantastic car but will attract very few buyers in India

2014 Skoda Yeti Specifications

* Engine: 1968cc, 16-valve, DOHC, turbocharged, liquid-cooled, direct injection
* Power: 110 PS @ 4200 RPM (4×2); 140 PS @ 4200 RPM (4×4)
* Torque: 250 Nm @ 1500-2500 RPM (4×2); 320 Nm @ 1750-2500 RPM (4×4)
* Transmission: 5-speed manual (4×2); 6-speed manual (4×4)
* 0-100 km/hr: 10.85 seconds (4×2); 9.91 seconds (4×4)
* Fuel Consumption: 13 km/l (4×2), 12 km/l (4×4)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Multi-link (Rear)
* Tyres: 215/60/16
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Disc (Rear), ABS
* Safety: ABS, ESC, Six Airbags, Front and Rear Parking Sensors

2014 Skoda Yeti Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4222 mm X 1793 mm X 1645 mm
* Wheelbase: 2578 mm
* Turning Radius: 5 metres
* Ground clearance: 180 mm
* Boot Volume: 416 liters, 1485 litres (with rear seats folded), 1665 litres (with rear seats removed)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres (4×2), 60 litres (4×4)
* Kerb Weight: 1445 kgs (4×2); 1543 kgs (4×4)