The Skoda Yeti became something of an icon for Skoda. It was a ground-breaking car for the Czech manufacturer at its launch in 2009, and nobody had seen anything quite like it before. In recent history Skoda was known for reliable but admittedly predictable cars, so the Yeti was to become something of a trailblazer for the SUV market, with its chunky styling and tall body making it an ideal family car. The Yeti was a great success, earning itself rave reviews, securing bumper sales for Skoda, and forming an innovative blueprint for rival cars to try and create their own versions.
The Yeti range went out of production in 2017 and was indirectly replaced by the Karoq, but by no means does this make it an old car. The Karoq generally feels a little more sober and conformist in comparison to the quirky Yeti. Sadly you can no longer buy a new Skoda Yeti, but pristine used examples are still available on the market and used values are still strong, making a used Yeti a reasonable and good value investment.
This article will offer reviews of the Yeti's design, interior, engines, trim levels and other useful factors to give you the ultimate buyer's guide to the Yeti range. If you are looking for lashings of practicality and space in a clever package, look no further than the Skoda Yeti. Let's look at the Yeti in more detail to find out why this is such a popular family car, and why it makes a great used car purchase.
When it first appeared on the roads in 2009, the Skoda Yeti was a vehicle unlike anything that had come before. Tall, slab sided, squared off at the rear and featuring distinctive wrap around effect rear windows, the Yeti looked like a high quality product. Even now it looks modern, and its design holds its own against newer models from rival manufacturers. It looks like a rawer version of the Skoda Roomster, yet the Roomster looks rather odd in comparison. The Yeti pulls off the quirkiness much better.
The Skoda Yeti was originally launched as one rugged-looking version, and was later split into two models, with the standard Yeti gaining a more contemporary look with body-coloured detailing, and the Yeti Outdoor retaining the chunky off-road looks and black plastic bumpers. The Yeti Outdoor has good ground clearance and the bumpers are designed to give it enhanced approach and departure angles for those who want to take it off road, aided by the optional four wheel drive system. The Outdoor was the last of the two models on sale when it was discontinued.
As you would expect from Skoda, the Yeti has been thoughtfully designed and cleverly packaged, with useful features inside and out including removable and adjustable rear seats, and a large tailgate which gives access to a huge, square load area. The Yeti was definitely designed with families in mind and is swimming in practicality. It received a mid-life facelift in 2013 which involved minor tweaks to the engine range, equipment and styling, most notably replacing the split headlights with single units, and arguably making it look a little more conservative in the process.
The first thing that will strike you when you clamber into the Yeti is how cavernous it feels inside, and how much space is available. The tall, square and wide body makes it feel very roomy and the roofline is high so even taller drivers and passengers will be able to get comfortable. Otherwise, the interior of the Yeti will be fairly familiar to existing Skoda owners, but this is definitely a good thing.
The dashboard and controls of the Skoda Yeti are comfortingly familiar, with lots of components shared from elsewhere in the Skoda line-up and wider across the other VW Group brands. Skoda's trademark white backlighting gives everything an expensive-feeling glow and contrasts nicely against the dark plastics and seat fabrics.
Otherwise there is little to get excited about inside in style terms, but everything is nicely laid out and feels high quality to touch, with well-damped controls and soft plastics used throughout. Some might say the Yeti's interior is a little restrained and conservative, but if you're looking to inject a little more colour into your Skoda Yeti, the Monte Carlo special edition features bespoke colours and brighter interior trim.
It is very easy to get comfortable inside the Yeti SUV, with high-mounted front seats giving a decent view over the bonnet and around the car. The seats are comfortable and supportive and adjust in a number of ways, and the steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake to help the driver get into the perfect driving position.
Ergonomics are good, with everything in exactly the right location and within easy reach of the driver. The interior of the Yeti is a pleasant environment to be in, and if you can find one with the optional panoramic glass sunroof, the interior feels even more airy and bright.
Reviews of the Skoda Yeti usually rave about its practicality, and it is easy to see why. The practical and innovative rear seats win the day in this vehicle, with a multitude of adjustments and the ability to be removed entirely. They are split 40/20/40 and allow for long items to be loaded between the rear seat passengers. The load space is large and square and the boot lid is big as well, so you will have no issue loading bulky items into the car. The doors all open wide, so getting in and out of the Yeti is an absolute breeze, and as a taller than average car there is no need to bend down to get in.
There is plenty of head, leg and elbow room for five people in the Skoda Yeti, including in the rear, and none of those five will be complaining about a lack of space. Somehow the car feels bigger inside than it looks from the outside, which is quite an achievement considering that SUVs are generally designed to look as big as possible these days. Even with five people on board there is still lots of space for luggage in the boot.
The strongest engines in the Yeti are the diesel versions, which deliver a strong combination of performance and fuel economy, and will have the needs of most buyers well covered. However, for the petrol engine purists among us, there are also a number of petrol units to choose from.
The entry level petrol engine is the turbocharged 1.2 TSi, which offers 105bhp. This unit feels surprisingly sprightly with decent acceleration. It only feels slightly lacking in performance at higher speeds or when attempting overtakes on fast roads. In later versions of the Yeti it was upgraded to 109bhp.
The next engine up the range is a 1.4 TSi offering 148bhp, which was added to the range later. This unit is known for being nippy and offering characterful performance, but still returns reasonable fuel economy.
The petrol range is topped by a smooth and linear 1.8 TSi which has four wheel drive as standard and delivers a decent 158bhp, in return for around 35mpg.
The entry level diesel powerplant is a 1.6 TDi with 103bhp and seemingly colossal fuel economy, for those who prioritise frugality and a low running cost over performance. Expect a return of over 50mpg from this engine.
There are then a series of practical and economical 2.0 litre diesel units offering either 110bhp, 140bhp or 170bhp, depending on your taste for performance. The larger two have 4x4 as standard equipment, and despite this the 140bhp version still returns a respectable 45mpg. Fuel consumption was definitely a priority for Skoda, and this is where it shows its strength over some other cars, due in no small part to the fact that it has fitted turbochargers to every engine variation.
Most of these engine versions are also available with Skoda's DSG automatic gearbox as an option, which is well regarded for offering quick gear changes without impacting too much on fuel economy. The Yeti is front wheel drive as standard, but if you fancy tackling rougher terrain or the odd snow blizzard, a number of the models are also available with four wheel drive.
The Skoda Yeti is pleasant and reassuringly predictable to drive. The squared off rear and high driving position make the Yeti easy to park and manoeuvre around in town traffic. The gear change is slick and positive, and because all the petrol and diesel variants are turbocharged, there is usually enough power on tap to ensure the Yeti feels nippy and delivers enough performance for most situations.
The ride quality is excellent and composed, and as none of the models come with huge wheels as rival SUV manufacturers are often tempted to fit, the Yeti doesn't crash into bumps and potholes. The car steers agilely and feels sure-footed on the road, particularly so if fitted with the capable four wheel drive system. Skoda have carefully tuned the Yeti's suspension to give it a balance between good handling and ride quality, bearing in mind its tall body. When you're driving the Yeti it feels difficult to make the car put a foot wrong.
As with other models in the range, the Skoda Yeti is delightfully well-equipped as standard, and the trim levels broadly follow the same pattern as the rest of Skoda's offering.
If you opt for the entry level S model, you will get 16" wheels, heated seats, air conditioning, Bluetooth, sat nav and a DAB radio.
Upgrading to SE buys you a little more equipment including 17" alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control and rear parking sensors.
For more money the luxurious SE L comes equipped with extra touches including full leather seats, and individual 17" alloy wheels.
The cheerfully-named Monte Carlo, named in honour of Skoda's contribution to the world-renowned rally, comes with some more colourful and sporty touches if that takes your fancy, including bespoke colours and bright inserts in the seat trim.
Over the course of its production there were a number of other trim levels including SE Drive, SE Business and SE Technology which offered variations on the SE specification depending on which gadgets the buyer preferred. For those who appreciate the finer things in life there is also the elegant Laurin & Klement version, which is packed with luxuries.
Data from Euro NCAP shows that the Skoda Yeti achieved a full five stars in its crash test, demonstrating that it is a reassuringly safe family car. The Yeti comes with a full brace of airbags, ABS and ESP among other safety equipment, and if you have a 4x4 version then you will benefit from the safety of the extra traction and grip.
As a VW Group product the Skoda Yeti benefits from the group's extensively tried and tested mechanical components, which feature in millions of cars around the world. Replacement parts are plentiful and generally not too expensive, and the Yeti is relatively inexpensive to fix. The Yeti has proven itself to be a faithful friend to its owners, but of course for extra reassurance it is always worth considering purchase of an extended warranty, to be prepared for the unexpected.
Providing its services are completed on time and all wearable items such as timing belts and filters are renewed, the Yeti does not suffer from any major reliability or performance issues, and there are few horror stories. Diesel versions are fitted as standard with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) which can gradually block on vehicles which are regularly driven on short journeys, so they need to be driven on long journeys fairly regularly to keep them clear and fully functioning.
Only new car list prices are generally predictable, and because the Yeti is now only available on the used market its prices can vary widely depending on a range of factors including mileage, trim, engine and condition.
Early cars with higher mileages will cost from around £3,000 - £4,000, rising to a cost of around £20,000 for newer and higher specification cars or those with extra equipment added as an option when it was new. However, bear in mind that a used Skoda Karoq is available for around £20,000, so there may be value in comparing the two cars to see which you prefer. The Yeti has a particular charm about it!
It is worth consulting a used car advice website for more reviews, or second hand car ads to find the right Yeti for you, as there is plenty of choice available on the used market.
Over the course of its 8-year reign the Skoda Yeti has built itself a firm reputation for practicality, space and reliability. It is capable on the road and can also venture off the road if the fancy takes you. It is a talented car with Tardis-like room inside for families and all their associated luggage. It is also an attractive vehicle which became one of the earliest SUVs on the road, and set the beat for its rivals to try and follow.
It is a shame that the Yeti is no longer in production because it was somewhat before its time, and it can still be considered modern by today's standards. However, eagle-eyed buyers will still be able to find recent examples on the used market in almost as-new condition, and secure this popular car for themselves. Satisfaction is almost guaranteed.