The new Octavia has given Skoda a much needed boost and the company has finally started ascending the sales chart in the Indian car market. The face-lifted Rapid and Superb are doing quite well too and the only segment remaining for Skoda to plant firm feet in has been the SUV class.
The Skoda Yeti has been on and about for quite a few years and still hasn’t grabbed many buyers owing partially to the fact that it really hasn’t been much of a head-turner. However, the new face-lifted Yeti, with cues from Skoda’s new design language, car like dynamics and good offroading capabilities, promises quite a comeback for the company’s otherwise low selling SUV.
The new Skoda Yeti sticks to same size, shape and proportions of the older model, is still smaller than the likes of the XUV and shorter than the most C segment sedans. The improved design features include bolder and well defined lines, sharper creases between surface changes on the bumpers, quarter panels and the hood, which all together provide for a more pronounced, aggressive front facia.
New headlamps have LED daytime running lights and the old round fog lamps are now replaced by rectangular ones. The grille appears sharper and the chin of the car looks much more chiselled. Although the side profile still makes the Yeti appear boxy in the middle and the rear, the redesigned bumper, two crease tailgate, and a restyled faux rear diffuser give it a very masculine and well-defined appeal.
The interior package, which feels straight out of a modern day chariot, comes with a lot of leather and chrome. A brand new three-spoke multifunctional steering wheel wrapped in leather, cruise control, keyless entry with a stop/start ignition button, a tyre pressure monitoring system with a reset button, an electric-powered driver’s seat with memory storage for upto three different driving positions, automatic door mirrors, and climate control are just some of the goodies offered in the new Yeti.
The car has always had very decent legroom for both front and rear passengers, and though it is essentially a four-seater, the Yeti allows five to seat quite well. The boot is a big 415 litres and is increased multiple times over if the rear seats are folded forward. The pedals get steel surface finish with rubber ribs to provide for extra pedal traction.
The Yeti still runs on the older powerhouse and the only upgrade is the 5th generation haldex clutch which provides a much lighter operation. The much tried and tested 2.0 litre common rail turbo diesel gives a peak output of 109 bhp and torque of 250 Nm. The 4×4 variant also gets the same motor but with a much better tuning that helps produce 138 bhp and a peak torque of 320 Nm. The 4×2 gets 5-speed manual transmission and the 4×4, with its greater power output, gets a 6-speed one.
Direct steering and fuel efficiency
The 4×2 engine at 109 bhp is quite fun to drive. The turbo lag gets spooled beyond 2000 rpm and the car pounces ahead with a charge. The 4×4 engine has a slightly greater turbo lag, but the moment it gets past the 2000 rpm mark, provides for a strong mid-range and great top-end power. Highway cruising is fun and the very capable 4×4 system provides for confidence even in low grip situations.
The car produces an ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure of 17 kmpl. In real world driving conditions this comes to 14 – 15 kmpl.
The Skoda Yeti is a comfortable car both on and off the road. A direct steering gives great response and feedback. The all-wheel drive variant comes with excellent grip and helps with handling. The new clutch is lightweight and is extremely smooth and great for city driving. Braking effort is also quite good except for an occasional lack of feedback.
Safety features include stability control, front, side and curtain airbags, active anti-whiplash head restraints, electronic theft deterrence and engine immobiliser with a floating code system along with a security code input for the main infotainment system. There is also an off road ABS system which exploits the wedge effect by blocking the wheel under the braking effort and pushing the ground before it, adding to the efficiency of it all. There’s also the auto dimming mirrors for full beam flash, front parking sensors, and cornering headlamps.
To sum it all up, the new Yeti is a combination of all the right features from the old version and new ones to aid the car in picking up much beyond where its predecessor left off. The price range is 19.0 – 20.5 lakh and is not too much for a car that has been improved in a lot of areas and has so much to offer.