When you cross Marmite with Monsters Inc
1) Creaks from A-Pillar - fixed under warranty - known fault.
2) Tracking - affect all VAG cars.
I was originally looking to replace the aging Audi A6 with a new Fabia, however after seeing the TV advert, I wanted a Yeti!
I have owned this car for 16 months, and it has been a joy. Its unusual looks set it apart from other mainstream cars. I have to admit it is a Marmite car; some love the looks, some hate it. For me, I really like the Tonka Toy look and the bug eyes in the front!
I came from an Audi A6 Estate, and that was capacious; the cargo space in the Yeti is definitely smaller, but aided with those clever sliding seats and the folding seats, it is as practical as the Audi. The higher load area also means it is deceptively large (I don't have a spare wheel). The front passenger space is again very generous, although the elbow room is smaller than the A6, it is perfectly adequate. The rear passenger room is surprisingly large, it has more leg room than the Audi, and the rear seats could be adjusted for angle, perfect for long journey naps. However, the middle rear seat is quite narrow. I am one of the lucky individuals that do not have the rear air vents, which protrudes some rear leg room.
The front seats are very supportive, I could drive 250 miles without stopping. They are a bit on the hard side, but I doubt soft seats would provide as much support. My car is equipped with 4 electric windows, which should really be standard in every car nowadays, however, it also has good air conditioning. When I first used it last summer, it was abysmal, however since the system is now fully performing (run it?), it provided a really comfortable summer this year (I actually had to turn the temperature up as it was too cold).
Coming from an automatic, I am glad that the 1.2 engine was flexible and does not need to change gear often to increase progress; the low gearing also allow an unstressed motorway journey. However, whilst wind and engine noise are low (similar to my A6), tire roar is an issue on mine on the rougher roads. After researching on forums, it seems the Michellin tires fitted have been superseded by some other tires which improve the noise level. I would consider changing to another brand of tires when it's time to change, as currently it is really quiet on newly paved road, but on corroded roads, it is really protruding.
Covering both power and economy, this engine really impresses me. My 2.6 Audi sounded brilliant, and had power whenever you wanted it, especially in the lower rpm. However this 1.2 turbo direct injection engine really surprises me. I was expecting poor acceleration and a lack of response, however it exceeded all of my expectations. As a person who has regular access to cars from 1960's Triumph TR4a to BMW X5 3.0 to BMW 323ia Convertible to a diesel pick up, I am not going to lie and say it goes like a rocket or accelerates as fast as a Skyline. The power from this little engine is simply unbelievable though. Average town driving, going up and down hills are more than adequate, I rarely push more than 1/4 of the gas pedal to get some progress.
In gear acceleration was also impressive with the aid of the turbo charger. I could go in 3rd gear from 20 mph to 70 mph without much loss in progress. 5th gear acceleration is also very impressive, you can travel from 30 mph to well above the national speed limit. However, acceleration in 6th gear from 50 mph to 70 mph is a little bit sedate. The best I could describe is that it is like driving my brother's 1.8 Mondeo, which has a lower kerb weight.
In terms of economy, I currently average around 37 - 38 mpg in town driving, which includes going up and down hills regularly and 2-3 mile journeys. On the motorway at a steady 70 mph, the computer works out I could average around 48 - 55 mpg. In the real world, a 250 miles motorway journey including 10 miles of London city traffic at an average speed of 51 mph averaged to be around 51 mpg (manually worked out at the pump). So basically, it does better than the official mpg figures on motorway, whilst remained less economical in town than the official figure suggest.
Possibly my favourite part of the Yeti. I have driven many SUVs in the past; X5, Range Rover, Cayenne. I have to say the Yeti does not drive like those at all. The light 1.2 engine and FWD set up makes it very nimble, the front turns very quickly in corners, it actually felt like I am driving a much smaller and lighter car. The hard suspension is not everyone's cup of tea, but on British B roads, it is a treat! It also provided great support and controllability on the motorway. I test drove the 170 TDI prior to purchasing my car, and I would say although the 170 TDI is much more planted in the corner (4WD), it is less nimble and it feels like driving a much bigger car.
Through servicing and warranty, I have also driven a fair few miles on the Fabia; for some reason the Yeti felt more lively in the corners that the Fabia, and the Yeti also provided excellent feedback to the driver. The only minus point for the hard suspension is in town where many roads are potholed, and the car sometimes bounced around if not driven carefully.
The standard Swing radio is adequate, however since the price of Bolero radio is now lower (RCD 510), I decided to swap for it and it has 6 CD Changer, Infinite Radio Station that automatically update (useful when driving cross country) and SD card. The front speakers are good, but I can't understand why Skoda decided not to provide rear speakers as standard when it costs peanuts to do!!
Overall, I have to say I am really impressed. For the price I paid, I could have a VW Golf, Ford Focus, Nissan Qashqai etc. However the Yeti's unique styling and think outside the box design really impressed me, coupled with excellent all round ability of a van, SUV and hatchback, it is a really good package. In fact the only regret I had is not ordering the panoramic sunroof, but this would mean moving up a model and spending another £3k.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th August, 2011