Skoda’s motto is “Simply Clever” and as with every other car from the Czech firm there are little touches littered around our long-term Yeti designed to make everyday life easier.
Thankfully I’ve had no call to use the ice scraper hidden in the filler flap but the umbrella that lives under the passenger seat has been pressed into service several times. Our Yeti also comes with a boot light that doubles as a torch, positionable hooks in the boot to keep bags upright and a clever partition net screen to keep luggage where it belongs.
They’re little features but show an encouraging degree of thought for the customer that’s sometimes sadly lacking.
Another neat feature is the VarioFlex seating system which allows for a host of ways to arrange the rear seats. With a couple of button presses your Yeti can become a four-seater, three-seater or even a two-seater. With all the seats out the wide boot opening and high roofline mean the Yeti can do a decent impression of a small van. The only issues are that the seats are fairly heavy and there’s a pronounced step in the load bay with all three removed.
Still, it’s another facet of the user-friendliness that has so impressed with the Yeti.
As a family with three young children we’ve asked it to cope with a lot. Some of the interior materials feel a little cheap but nothing has broken or even come loose and the cabin cleans up quickly and easily – a bonus in any hard-working family car.
Size-wise the Yeti loses out a bit to rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca but I’ve found that it still provides decent interior space and all five of us fit with little complaint. The payoff for that is a relatively small boot that will only just cope with a week’s worth of luggage.
Other quibbles include an awkwardly weighted tailgate that can be hard to close, and a driving position that won’t suit everybody, but overall the positives easily outweigh the negatives.
For me, chief among those positives has been the Yeti’s performance. The 1.2-litre petrol with its relatively meagre 108bhp has proved far more flexible and capable that I expected. Even with a fully laden car it’s never felt like it’s struggling. What’s more over the course of thousands of miles the economy has refused to fall below 43mpg – I’ve driven a lot of supposedly more economical diesels that haven’t done any better.
Combined with a raised seating position and soft suspension setup it all makes for an easygoing, comfortable way to get around.
A decent spec that includes dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and go, and cruise control helps reinforce this feeling, as does a media system that, while not the newest, is still one of the best to use.
Even as it nears the end of production the Yeti is proving popular. In fact, sales have grown every single year since it was launched and it’s easy to see why. Starting at less than £18,000, it offers a blend of value and practicality while bringing some much-needed character to a largely homogenous segment.
Our time with the Yeti is now at an end but there won’t be a Skoda-shaped hole in our lives for long. Big brother the Kodiaq is on the way to see how it copes with the horror that is Allan family life. Expect our first full report soon.