A 110kW/250Nm turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, dual-clucth six-speed automatic transmission, 4Motion all wheel drive and 17-inch black alloy wheels all sounds like the ingredients for a sporty Volkswagen Golf, but it isn't. This is the new hero of the Skoda Yeti range.
It’s called the Outdoor 110TSI 4x4 and it certainly adds some spice to the lineup of Czech Republic brand’s funky small SUV.
Sure there are some terrific small SUVs in the market, but the non-conformist looks of the Yeti and its Volkswagen Group engineering should put this sporty Yeti on your shopping list.
Vehicle Style: Small SUV
Price: $32,990 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo petrol | 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 6.6l/100kms | Tested: 8.1l/100kms
Priced at $32,990 (plus on-road costs) the Yeti Outdoor TSI 4x4 is, by a margin of $6,000, the most expensive Skoda Yeti but it has the goods to back-up that price premium – the new turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and Volkswagen Group's fifth-generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive attesting to that.
Like other all-wheel drive compact SUVs, the Skoda Yeti Outdoor isn’t from the Nissan Patrol/Toyota LandCruiser school of heavy-duty ‘outdoorish’ action but it’s zippy around town and practical... and probably good enough to get you close to the snow in winter. There is a standard Rough Road Package providing protection for mechanical components underneath and the 180mm ground clearance surpasses many rivals.
Apart from those sporty alloy wheels, there's plastic side protectors, extended bumpers, fog-lights, and silver roof rails to confirm the Outdoor is the leader of the Yeti tribe.
The handy 321-litre boot and sliding (or removable) rear seats provide substantial luggage-carrying versatility and you get the impression the Skoda Yeti Outback 4x4 can handle the whacks, bumps and knocks inherent with families and those whose passion for sports or recreational pursuits extends beyond spectating.
- Standard Equipment: Cloth seats, dual-zone automatic climate-control air-conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry
- Infotainment: 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, 12-speaker audio with Bluetooth integration, satellite navigation
- Cargo Volume: 321-litres rear seat in-place; 1,665-litres rear seats removed
Space – and lots of it – is the Skoda Yeti’s interior trump card. That flat roof ensures there is plenty of headroom front and rear and everywhere you look there are storage nooks and crannies.
For instance, there is a drawer under the front passenger seat and a flat storage box in the centre of the dashboard – handy for keeping items out of sight when parked.
Driver and passengers enjoy ample legroom and the cockpit allows multiple adjustments of the steering wheel and seat so drivers of all sizes should find comfort. Pleasingly, those in the rear have their own air-vents.
And turning to cargo space, should you have occasion for some substantial loads the Yeti beats rivals in that department with Skoda’s VarioFlex system which allows for the three rear seats to be folded flat either individually or as a unit, you can keep the centre seat in-place and fold the two outboard ones away or you can remove all three for a van-like load-lugger.
Volkswagen Group’s high standard for material quality is obvious throughout. Our Yeti Outdoor ran the standard cloth trim (leather is an option) and items like knobs, buttons, infotainment are all very familiar from Volkswagen-badged vehicles.
Likewise for the styling, as it's very Volkswagen Group with twin gauges in a compact curved binnacle, a nice three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and even the infotainment and climate control systems and the gear-lever are straight Volkswagen.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: Turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol – 110kW/250Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed dual clutch automatic with sequential manual mode, all-wheel-drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, Multi-link independent rear
- Brakes: Four-wheel discs
You only get one chance to make a first impression and the Skoda Yeti Outdoor 4x4 scored on that front with an immediate sense of ‘tightness’, refinement and good dynamics – Volkswagen Group hallmarks of course.
Those traits carried forward throughout our week with the Yeti.
The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine is a ripper with excellent response (albeit with the usual DSG automatic transmission clunkiness at low speeds) and a pleasing exhaust note when working hard.
Ride and handling too highlighted Skoda’s Volkswagen Group lineage. So we’re talking European firm and sporty and - notwithstanding its off-road credentials – little body roll and surprisingly crisp steering response.
While mechanical and wind noise were both hardly noticeable, the 17-inch Michelin Primacy tyres were a smidge noisy on coarse chip roads.
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
Safety Features: Seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, all-wheel-drive, electronic differential lock, ISOFIX and top-tether child seat mounts, hill-hold control, downhill assist, front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Five years/unlimited kilometers
Servicing: 12 months/15,000kms. Capped-price servicing: 12 months/15,000kms $280; 24 months/30,000kms $648; 36 months/45,000kms $549; 48 months/60,000kms $481
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Fiat 500X and its close relative the Jeep Renegade give the Skoda Yeti a run for its money as they too shun convention in the compact SUV looks department. But they carry a price premium – the all-wheel-drive version of the Fiat starts at $37,000 (plus on-road costs) and $39,000 (plus on-road costs) for the Renegade.
Nissan’s head-turning Juke employs a terrific turbocharged 1.6-litre engine with 140kW/240Nm on-tap and the all-wheel-drive Ti-S model is sharply priced at $33,490 (plus on-road costs).
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Notwithstanding the highly-credentialed rivals in this segment, there is a lot to like about the Skoda Yeti Outdoor 4x4.
For starters you get the unbeatable Volkswagen Group quality interior materials, technology and production standards.
That flexible interior and multiple cargo combinations are endearing to families, sports enthusiasts and outdoor types and the slick VW chassis and suspension combines with a zippy turbocharged 1.4-litre engine to deliver good performance and excellent dynamics on most road surfaces.
Yes, the looks of the previous generation were somewhat polarizing but this current generation – while still distinctive – won’t offend.
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