2014 SKODA YETI REVIEW
What’s Hot: Value-for-money buying, plus more standard equipment.
What’s Not: Minor interior changes, bland new face.
X-FACTOR: A useful and practical small SUV for minimal money, the Yeti is now more attractive than ever.
Vehicle Style: Small SUV
Price: $23,490-$33,590 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy claimed l/100km: 6.0 (77TSI manual), 6.7 (77TSI DSG), 6.8 (90TSI DSG), 6.7 (103TDI DSG) | tested: 6.7 l/100km (90TSI DSG)
Skoda’s realignment of the Yeti range sees prices fall and the model mix shaken up in favour of 2WD variants.
The AWD Yeti 112TSI has been dropped from the line-up, replaced by the front-drive 90TSI that retails for $28,290 in auto-only configuration.
The 77TSI remains in the range in both manual and automatic form, however prices have fallen by $2800 for the base manual, taking the entry-level Yeti down to $23,490.
For the 2015 model year, the Yeti has also lost its distinctive face. New headlamps, front bumpers and front sheetmetal bring Skoda’s latest design cues to the Yeti, and there’s a new tailgate, rear bumpers and rear lights.
A reversing camera and reverse parking sensors are also now standard across the range.
- Cruise control, air-conditioning, power windows, keyless entry and ignition, reverse-parking sensors, reversing camera, 5-inch touchscreen infotainment display, trip computer, 17-inch alloys, USB, Bluetooth audio/telephony
- Yeti 90TSI and 103TDI add: climate control, front lumbar support, front parking sensors, front fog lamps, dusk-sensing headlamps, rain-sensing wipers.
- GPS, premium audio optional in $2900 tech pack. 90TSI and 103TDI only.
- Boot space: 310 litres at minimum, 1665 litres at maximum.
The Yeti's interior changes don't go terribly far. The new steering wheel looks too "generic VW Group" and in our opinion is a step down from the last model's wheel.
Bar a smattering of new trim pieces, the rest of the cabin is unchanged from last year’s Yeti.
But while interior changes are minimal, that means all of the things we love about the Yeti’s interior carry over too.
Things like the Varioflex seating that offers 22 potential seating combinations, the storage drawer under the front seat and the high rear bench that gives kids and short adults a great view outside.
In terms of new equipment, the addition of keyless entry and ignition as standard on all models is welcome.
Also welcome is the reversing camera, reverse parking sensors, touch-screen audio headunit - and that’s just what’s new for the base Active specification.
Move up to the 90TSI Ambition, and you gain climate control, fog lamps, front parking sensors, dusk-sensing lights, rain-sensing wipers, improved cloth upholstery and adjustable lumbar support for both front seats.
Opt for the Tech Pack in the 90TSI or 103TDI and you can add sat-nav, LED tail-lights, a self-parking feature, bi-xenon headlamps and a premium audio system.
The 103TDI Outdoor is also available with an Off-Road pack for $500, which adds privacy glass, a dirt-friendly stability control tune, an off-road mode for the Haldex AWD system, downhill descnet control and different 17-inch alloys.
Seven airbags are still standard across the range, and the Yeti’s five-star safety score remains.
The boot floor is rather high, but the Yeti’s quartet of moveable bag-hooks and their attendant rail system are valuable features for a small family SUV.
ON THE ROAD
- 77kW/175kW 1.2 turbo petrol 4cyl | 6sp manual or 7sp DSG
- 90kW/200Nm 1.4 turbo petrol 4cyl | 7sp DSG
- 103kW/250Nm 2.0 turbo diesel 4cyl | 6sp DSG
- MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension.
- 77TSI and 90TSI are front-wheel drive, 103TDI has Haldex AWD
- Disc brakes
Given there are no mechanical changes to the 77TSI and 103TDI, we spent the majority of our time in the new 90TSI variant.
With 90kW and 200Nm, the 90TSI’s 1.4 litre turbo four offers good power and torque, and sits as an intermediate step between the somewhat underpowered 77TSI and the comparatively grunty 103TDI.
It has, in our view, the best balance of price and performance.
It’s also rather thrifty. Over the course of our test drive, we recorded an average fuel consumption of 6.7 l/100km - 0.1 l/100km less than the factory claim.
The 103TDI remains the performer of the range, with 103kW of power and 350Nm of torque, as well as the all-paw drivetrain necessary to make the most of those outputs on loose and slippery surfaces.
Both the 90TSI’s 7-speed DSG twin-clutch auto and 103TDI’s 6-speed DSG are quick-shifting and well calibrated, rarely making a dud choice when it comes to choosing the right gear for steep grades.
There’s manual gearbox control should you need it, but with programming this good there’s rarely any call to use it.
There are no changes to the Yeti’s suspension, brakes or steering for the 2015 model year, besides the 77TSI’s standard wheel-package being upsized to 17-inches.
There’s a slight trade-off in ride comfort, but the bigger wheels and their lower-profile tyres don’t induce too much jitteriness on rough roads and corrugated dirt lanes.
There’s plenty of bodyroll if you really pitch it into a corner, but this is an SUV after all.
And though it’s a bit roly-poly at times, the suspension is supple enough to soak up the poorly-kept roads found all along NSW's Northern coastline, yet still provide decent roadholding.
It's good on-road manners are typical of the VW Group.
The ESP calibration also keeps the Yeti on the straight and narrow, and works especially well on gravel.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars: this model scored 34.67 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Seven airbags (front, front side, full-length curtain, driver’s knee), three-point seatbelts, anti-whiplash front headrests, ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability control and traction control.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The hefty price drop for the entry-level 77TSI takes it down into territory occupied by the new breed of compact SUVs like the Ford EcoSport and Holden Trax, with the Skoda offering far more space and equipment for the money.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Skoda's price realignments of key Yeti models take the nameplate in the right direction; the Czech brand's small SUV can now compete on an even footing with much smaller, less sophisticated cars like the Nissan Juke and Holden Trax.
The facelift is a little ordinary though, and while the styling is perhaps more palatable to more buyers, the Yeti has arguably lost a lot of its quirky appeal in the process.
That said, the Yeti remains a small SUV that we recommend. It's oft-overlooked and highly underrated, but provides a lot of practical space and lively driving for the younger family buyer.
PRICING (excludes off-road costs)
- Yeti Active 77TSI petrol - Manual - $23,490
- Yeti Active 77TSI petrol - DSG - $25,790
- Yeti Ambition 90TSI petrol - DSG - $28,290
- Yeti 4x4 Outdoor 103TDI diesel - DSG - $33,590
- Tech Pack [Ambition, 4x4 Outdoor] - $2,900
- Off-Road Pack [4x4 Outdoor] - $500