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2012 Skoda Yeti 103TDI 4x4 DSG Road Test Review Photo:
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What's Hot
Fun, fresh, frugal and capable on road and off.
What's Not
Firm ride, noisy on coarse tarmac.
X-Factor
A flexible interior and plenty of boot space for a clever family transporter.
Kez Casey | Apr, 13 2012 | 10 Comments

2012 SKODA YETI REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Compact SUV
Price: $37,990 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.7 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 7.2 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

There’s no missing the quirk-factor that comes with the Skoda badge. It’s a ‘look’ shared by the range; a kind of handsome-ugly that sets them apart.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Yeti SUV - bug-eyed lamps up front, a big boxy tail and a roof that appears wholly supported by the B-pillars.

But being different is part of the charm of the tough little Yeti. So too is the way it drives: underneath each in the range is an impressive Volkswagen-derived mechanical package with Golf-style performance and economy.

We sampled the 103TDI diesel at launch and have come back for a second look. And, yep, still good.

 

INTERIOR

Quality: Inside the look is familiar Skoda fare, and that’s no bad thing. Instruments are legible, everything is where it should be and controls are sensibly laid-out.

There are a few nice unexpected touches too, like rubber-backed chrome door handles and leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob.

The durable fabric trim looks rugged enough to go the distance, although the car we tested had a couple of trim rattles: one in the climate control panel, another in the rear door trims - nothing major, but niggling all the same.

Comfort: Thanks to its big boxy shape there’s a fantastically spacious feel to the Yeti. The seats register on the firm side, yet hold up well for long-distance driving; the driver’s position doesn’t feel too high but still offers a commanding view.

Back seat space is well sorted and rake-adjustable backrests for each seat, plus a fold down centre-section with padded armrests and cup holders, add a practical surprise. The high and wide centre tunnel makes that position slightly awkward to occupy, but the inclusion of rear air-vents is another welcome touch.

Equipment: The Yeti 103TDI offers a good deal of standard equipment including dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, heated mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, eight-speaker CD/MP3, a cooled glovebox, foglamps, steering-wheel audio controls and trip computer.

Optional equipment fitted to our test car also included ‘Columbus’ satellite navigation with 30Gb hard drive, rear park sensors and the off-road technology pack including hill-start assist, hill-descent assist and off-road modes for ABS, stability and traction controls.

Storage: Boot space can be varied from 310 to 415 litres depending on the position of the rear backrests. With the VarioFlex rear seats removed there’s a van-like 1665 litres of space.

There are also handy storage compartments in the sides of the boot floor and sliding bag hooks, plus large door pockets with bottle holders, a lidded dash-top compartment, cooled glovebox and a useful centre console.

 

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: Skoda makes good use of the 103TDI diesel ngine in the Yeti; you’ll also find it in Octavia and Superb models as well as a variety of Volkswagen models. It provides 103Kw of power and 320Nm of torque from as low as 1750 rpm.

With plentiful torque, and the ability to rev cleanly mixed with the quick-shifting nature of the DSG gearbox, the Yeti provides an eager driving experience that works both in and out of town. It’s zippy and civilised and fun to row around.

When burdened with a heavy load, the Yeti shrugs it off without breaking a sweat, and although we recorded 7.2 l/100km Skoda’s claimed figure of 6.7 l/100km should be easy to meet.

Refinement: There’s no doubt that the Volkswagen group’s DSG transmissions benefit from a healthy dose of torque, which makes the engine and gearbox such a happy marriage in this application.

On road, there’s some intrusive rumble that gets amplified a bit by the Yeti’s boxy wagon shape - especially on secondary and coarse surfaces - and constant wind-rustle around the A-pillars and door mirrors.

Suspension: The Yeti is fitted with conventional MacPherson strut front-end and multi-link rear. The ride is firm but not stiff, and allows for some suspension travel. It copes well with corrugations and broken tarmac; only the worst road imperfections will unsettle the cabin.

Braking: While we’ve noticed some Skoda products are a little over-responsive to the pedal (and will pull up a little abruptly until you get used to them), the Yeti is a smoother. Braking performance from the four-wheel disc brakes is strong and the ABS copes quite well on loose surfaces.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5 stars

Safety features: Standard features include seven airbags (front, front side, curtain and driver’s knee), three-point seatbelts, anti-whiplash front headrests and adjustable rear headrests, ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control and traction control.

 

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Vehicle warranty is three years/unlimited kilometres as well as a three-year warranty for paint defects and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

Service costs: Service costs may vary so consult your Skoda dealer before purchase.

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport SKYACTIV-D ($39,040) - Mazda’s new kid on the block is the current golden-child for fuel economy, performance and a premium interior. (see CX-5 reviews)

Ford Kuga Trend ($38,990 ) - Another fresh-off-the-boat contender, Ford’s Kuga has won high praise in Europe and it is impressive.

The Kuga's age is beginning to show, however. Fuel economy is well off the pace (petrol only) and the interior has last year’s look about it. That said, the turbocharged five-cylinder motor is a lusty, entertaining unit. (see Kuga reviews)

Mitsubishi ASX Aspire Diesel ($36.990) - It may be a smaller unit than the others, but for similar coin it delivers a few more features inside. The lack of an automatic option is a big oversight though. (see ASX reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

When standing alongside its little brother (the 2WD Yeti 77TSI), the price gulf of almost $10,000 to the 4X4 103TDI diesel might look a bit daunting.

But, at $37,990 for a very good diesel, rapid-fire DSG, all the benefits of Volkswagen technology plus sharp on-road performance, the Yeti 103TDI lines up pretty well with its most logical AWD competitors.

Throw in the voluminous cargo bay, generous rear-seat legroom, plus a proven ability to get to some out-of-the-way places, and the Yeti is hard to ignore.

In a packed market segment it won’t be for everyone. But, while there’s some very good competition around, especially the new Mazda CX-5, we’d recommend a close look at Skoda’s surprising Yeti.

 

Pricing

  • Yeti 77TSI six-speed manual - $26,290
  • Yeti 77TSI seven-speed DSG - $28,590
  • Yeti 112TSI six-speed manual - $32,990
  • Yeti 112TSI six-speed DSG - $35,290
  • Yeti 103TDI six-speed manual - $35,690
  • Yeti 103TDI six-speed DSG - $37,990

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 
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