Skoda Yeti – The abominable snowman

The name of a car is sometimes reason enough to buy it. Sometimes, the name would just actually speel out the qualities of the car much to the likes of the Honda Civic and the car in question now, the Skoda Yeti. Yes, this car has been launched in India within barely 10 months after the display at the Delhi Motor Show in 2010, early on. Skoda Auto India have actually tried to present a car to the Indian car buying public much to their confusion. Which segment does this car actually represent? It doesn’t look like anything on the market now. It can be called a sporty hatchback but its tall stance belies that. It doesn’t have the girth of an SUV however looks like a mini SUV. When I first saw the SUV{should I dare call it that?} in flesh, I was taken aback. This vehicle looked much better in flesh than in the pictures. Here, I am now really tempted to drive this SUV and here goes the review for it.

Looks

Its definitely love it or loathe it. A quick poll in our office{with even the watchmen and receptionist included} showed that every one loved this car. This means that Skoda Auto India have got their first main thing right and that is in the looks department. Viewed from the front, the new Skoda Yeti in India looks like a bigger Skoda Fabia. The head lamps are the first thing that would strike any one. The somewhat square head lamps flanked by round fog lamps. The typical Skoda grille is there giving a family face to the Skoda Yeti. There are also day time running lamps inside the head lamps however those are disabled for India. The air dams are also rectangular and outlined by fiber scuff plates. There are two soft kinks on the bonnet. The windscreen is also sort of raked.

The outside rear view mirrors are huge and chunky and they have the side indicators integrated into them. The sides are actually quite boxy and the waistline is also not that huge. There are huge chunky roof rails as well. The talking point is the 16 inch multi spoke alloy wheels which fill up the wheel arches quite well.

The rear is also quite boxy with a huge glass area with a single wiper doing duties. Actually the car resembles more like an extended wheel base Maruti Wagon R. The tail lamps are also semi circular. The bumper is also quite big and has been integrated neatly with a scuff plate like the front one doing guarding duties. The reflectors are also placed in the rear bumper.

Interiors

Typical Skoda Auto India high quality interiors define the Skoda Yeti. The doors shut with a solid feel, expected only from the Germans. The dashboard looks more like the one from the Skoda Laura. Even the 4 spoke steering wheel is derived from the Laura. The steering wheel however is devoid of steering mounted audio controls. That is not a bad thing after all however like the Toyota Fortuner carrying over the Toyota Innova’s interiors, I definitely feel that such an expensive and up market car should have been given more distinguishable interiors.The dash itself is made of very high quality materials and every surface is soft to touch. A clean line seperates the upper and lower dash. The front seats are way comfortable once you are seated in them. I felt myself a bit struggling to adjust in the driver’s seat because of my 6ft 4 inch frame however once I found a comfortable position, it was all good. The other things adding to this convenience was the 8 way adjustable power seats for the front passengers. The headrests are also of the adjustable types. The steering wheel, hand brake, gear lever and seats are all in leather though.

The rear seats are also comfortable and much in the Honda CR-V ballpark. This is because of the individually reclining seats. When you want just 4 passengers to be seated, the rear middle seat flips forward to act like an arm rest. There is a rear AC vent as well with separate controls. There are many small storage spaces inside the cabin. The rear seats though feel a bit upright. The boot space is a goood 415 liters however the rear seats have a 60:40 split seat arrangement and this liberates a huge 1665 liters of luggage space.

Handling and ride quality

The new Skoda Yeti in India from Skoda Auto is based on the Skoda Laura platform. This means it should be an agile car nee SUV with a good enough ride quality as a plus. This SUV stands at 4.2 meters and isn’t too long. 2 inches short and this would have qualified for an excise SOP. The car gets an all independent high tech suspension system. It however is a bit on the firmer side. This car also uses a full time four wheel Haldex drive system. This one is variable just like the one found in the Honda CR-V. Normally the SUV sends 90% of its power to the front wheels however when the rear wheels begin to slip or lose grip, that’s when more power is sent to the rear ones.

The direct steering though a bit lacking in the feel{we have been spoilt by BMWs recently, I think} is quite a good unit. It does exactly what it is said to. However the Skoda offering can definitely teach a thing or two to the much expensive and highly acclaimed Honda CR-V. This small SUV corners like it is on rails and there is little body roll going around fast corner. However the astonishing thing is that even at high speeds around corners, the ESP rarely cuts in to spoil the fun. All this translates to a slightly lumpy ride around city. The small potholes or sharp ruts do upset its apple cart a bit.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

As of now, the Skoda Yeti is been offered with only one engine option and it is the 2 liter Common Rail Diesel from the Laura. It has a 6 speed manual gearbox. As I know, from previous experience from the Skoda Laura, this engine only has the slightest hint of turbo lag at low speeds. It produces 140 Bhp of power and 32.63 Kgm of torque. This engine isn’t peaky like the unit from the Chevrolet Cruze and this means driving even in city traffic isn’t a chore. The gear box is also very good with its slick movements and the ratios well spaced out. NVH is also well taken care off and there is only a hint of engine noise at very high speeds. For the record, the 0-100 kmph comes up in only 11.2 seconds and the top speed is 162 kmph. The SUV does feel sprightly to drive with the responsive engine and tandem of smooth gearbox.

Halting the 1.5 tonnes of metal is the 4 wheel disc brakes supported by Brake Assist, traction control, ABS and ESP. This is one of the safest SUV in the Skoda Auto India range of vehicles with a wide array of safety features like Hill Holder Clutch, electronic differential lock, 4 air bags, collapsible steering wheel and 3 point seat belts for all the occupants.

Fuel efficiency which is so paramount to the Indian customer is appreciable with the SUV returning 12.5 kmpl in the city and 19 kmpl on the open highway.

Verdict

The Skoda Yeti is really a commendable offering from Skoda Auto India. This is because of the niche clientele it would be catering to. However due to its widespread appeal as a costly hatchback, small SUV and even a sedan it would be well received. This was confirmed by the approximately 1500 bookings that the company received within the first 7 days of its launch. The mini SUV has all that people would want. Its stylish, spacious, has a small footprint, near perfect ride and handling, fuel efficiency and power. The only thing that may go against it is its high sticker price and poor image about Skoda Auto India service part. The Skoda Yeti is been offered in two trims, Skoda Yeti Ambiente and Skoda Yeti Elegance. The 4 wheel drive is standard on both the trims. The Skoda Yeti Ambiente version misses out on auto dimming rear view mirrors, climate control, cornering lights, 6 CD changer and touch screen audio controls. The Skoda Yeti Elegance however gets all these and special versions of the driver aids. The Skoda Yeti Ambiente sells for Rs. 17.03 lakhs{ex-showroom, Mumbai} and the Skoda Yeti Elegance goes for Rs. 19.25 lakhs {ex-showroom, Mumbai}.

Skoda Yeti Technical Specifications

Engine

Engine Type: High-pressure direct injection system in-line, liquid cooling system, Turbocharged diesel engine, turbocharger with self-aligning blades, 16V DOHC, transverse in front
Displacement cc: 1968
Power (PS@rpm): 140 Bhp @ 4100 rpm
Torque (Nm@rpm): 320 Nm @ 1850 rpm
Valve Mechanism: DOHC
Compression Ratio: 18:1
No of Cylinders: 4
Cylinder Configuration: Inline
Fuel Type: Diesel

Dimensions and Weights

Overall Length (mm): 4224
Overall Width (mm): 1796
Overall Height (mm): 1692
Wheel Base (mm): 2577
Ground Clearance (mm): 181
Boot Space (liter): 417
Kerb Weight (kg): 1549
Gross Vehicle Weight (kg): 2072
Number of Doors: 5

Fuel Economy

Mileage Highway (km/liter): 12.5
Mileage City (km/liter): 19
Mileage Overall (km/liter): 15.75

Capacities

Fuel Tank Capacity (liter): 60
Seating Capacity (person): 5

Performance

Maximum Speed: 162 Km/Hour
0-100kmph: 11.2 seconds
1/4 Mile: 18.01 seconds

Transmission

Transmission Type: Manual
Gears/Speeds: 6 Gears

Suspensions

Rear Suspension: McPherson suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser
Front Suspension: Multi-element axle, with one longitudinal and three transverse links, with torsion stabiliser

Steering

Steering Type: Direct rack and pinion steering with electro mechanical power steering
Minimum Turning Radius (meter): 5

Brakes

Front Brakes: Ventilated Disc brakes with single/piston floating caliper
Rear Brakes: Solid Disc brakes

Wheels and Tyres

Wheel Type: Alloy Wheels
Wheel Size: 7.0 J*16″
Tyres: 215 / 62 R16

One Reply to “Skoda Yeti – The abominable snowman”

  1. Since the Yeti, is an SUV how do you think it matches up to the Fortuner and the Endeavour. Does it match them in off roadablity and ruggedness. I guess the Endeavour is one of the most practical SUV around.

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