How on earth do you take a success story and make it better? That’s the difficult task facing Skoda with its all-conquering Yeti.
First introduced in 2009, the Yeti tore up the rule book with its novel approach to practical motoring, combining the best elements of a family hatchback with those of an SUV to create the ideal crossover.
The general public clearly thought it worked; over 250,000 have been sold since 2009 with a big chunk of those in the UK. But the competition never lets up, and so the Yeti has been enhanced, with the facelifted version arriving in showrooms early in 2014.
The change you’ll notice first is the exterior. The Yeti has been brought more into line with the family look, so there’s a squared-off grille, smarter body-coloured elements all round and new bi-xenon headlights with LEDs. The round fog lights are gone and replaced by more discreet rectangular items, too.
Even with a more mature and discreet look though, there’s no mistaking the Yeti for anything else. There’s an added twist however. As well as the standard Yeti, there is the Outdoor model, which as its name suggests is better prepared for tough treatment. Outdoor models have a black trim down the sides and on the lower edges of the bumpers, so bumps and scrapes won’t break your heart. .
Updates on the insideinclude a new three-spoke steering wheel, new seat trims and fabrics plus the option of decorative inserts on the dashboard. It helps to lift the already-good quality feeling of the cabin, without sacrificing any of its utility.
Interior flexibility is still one of the Yeti’s strongest assets. The load area is unchanged at 510 litres up to a maximum of 1,760 with all the seats removed, an impressive figure for a car of this size. There’s still the flexibility to slide, fold and remove the three individual rear seats, something which very few rivals can offer.
Add to that some new tech, such as a reversing camera and keyless start plus clever features such as a rechargeable torch mounted in the boot and a high-vis vest holder under the front seat, and you get the feeling that the Yeti could cope with just about anything.
Especially if you go for the four-wheel drive version, now equipped with the latest generation Haldex system that automatically diverts power to all four wheels only when required which helps to save fuel as well as giving you traction when needed. In fact the new system means all 4x4 version have reduced CO2 emissions compared to the outgoing models.
Climb behind the wheel and getting comfortable is easy, with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and the seat. It’s also a delightfully easy car to drive; the manual gearbox is slick, the pedal weights are nice and light and the steering is well-weighted and accurate.
Despite its modest size the 1.2 TSI version gets along very well indeed, behaving like a much larger naturally aspirated engine. However the best all-rounder has to be the 2.0 TDI with 140PS.
This was an excellent car to start with, and the changes have merely added to its appeal.
Skoda Yeti Outdoor SE 2.0 TDI CR 140 4x4
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel unit producing 138bhp and 236lb.ft of torque
Transmission: Six-speed manual gearbox driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 118mph, 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds (est)
Economy: 41mpg combined (est)
Emissions: 164g/km of CO2