With the launch of the Yeti, Skoda has made an entry in yet another segment in the Indian market, the SUV. Till not too long ago, the Skoda Octavia was one of the best sellers in the 10 lac category, and the Laura and the New Superb are doing quite well for themselves, reflecting in Skoda’s ever climbing sales graph. The Yeti is thus but a natural attempt from Skoda to expand its breadth.
On the Outside, the Yeti has unconventional looks, different from any of the other Skoda cars, yet on the inside there is no mistaking who’s designed the Yeti.
Will the Yeti extend Skoda’s dominance to yet another segment, or could it perhaps go the Fabia route? We take the Yeti for a spin to find out if its name does justice to the abominable snowman.
Quite contrary to the name, the Yeti in fact is actually quite a compact SUV. Manufacturers these days prefer the soft roaders to the thoroughbred SUV’s. For one, their compact size makes them more maneuverable around the city and most importantly, they guzzle a lot less fuel. It gives you the sense of Security that an SUV offers without actually pinching the pocket that much. In person the Yeti looks much better than some of the pictures might suggest. The striking looks with the placement of the Front Fog lamps give a look unique from any other offering in the Indian market. It is relevant to say that the Front Fog lamps come as a standard accessory as they actually form an integral part of the Yeti’s design.
The Yeti’s design mainly revolves around squares and straight lines. The side profile and even the rear end have quite a boxy appearance. The square Front End has a bold aggressive look. Its not just the length of the car that is small, the OVRM’s too are quite mini. They are Electrically adjustable though there is no Auto Fold function available.
The OVRM’s also have inbuilt Turn indicators and Puddle lamps at the bottom. Apart from showing where your car is parked, I didn’t see them serve any purpose as they don’t really help with the ingress when the door is open. The bumpers are unpainted on all variants. Personally I felt it’s a good touch as it prevents having to repaint the bumper every time something touches it and peels the paint off it. The front and rear Scruff plates, no mater what colour Yeti you opt for, have silver paint on them.
The Roof rails look Chic and add to the Yeti’s look. The Yeti has a decent sized 415 litre boot. There are compartments to access first aid kit and Emergency Triangle and Emergency Kit without having to lift the entire floor board. The Varioflex system ensures you can fold seats in various configurations to increase boot space if required. However the Storage area is split into two levels which could make storage a bit tricky. The Seats have bungee hooks to hold them in place. You can also easily remove the middle seat completely and move the Remaining two seats closer to make it a proper 4 seater.
If you fall asleep and suddenly wake up in the Yeti’s cabin, even without the Logos you would immediately know that you are in a Skoda. The Dashboard looks similar to the Laura and the Superb. Everything in the Cabin uses Top Quality material. Fit and Finish Is above Par and it’s quite hard to find faults anywhere. The Yeti uses High Quality Leather Seats and the Soft touch Dashboard with Wooden Trims looks and feels rich.
The Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel is the same as is seen on all other Skoda cars. It is adjustable for Reach and Rake and also has backlight buttons where the left side controls the Music System and the Right Side controls the MID. The Speedometer console has white backlighting with Chrome Surround Dials.
The Multi-Information Display (MID) on the Skoda’s are the best I have seen on any car. They give you pretty accurate information, are very user friendly and the instantaneous mileage indicator is also quick to respond, which makes extracting the best economy figures of out the car quite easy. You get information such as the Trip Distance, Trip Time, Average Speed, Average Mileage, Digital Readout of the Current Speed, Range to Empty and also an option to Set an Alarm if you exceed a pre-set Speed. The MID Shows which particular door is open, rather than a general door open sign. You also get the time, the Odometer, and an Extra Trip meter.
Further, there is an option to Shuffle between Outside Temperature and the Speed in Mph and also a Gear Select Advisor which Shows which Gear you are in with a Dot next to it or an Up / Down Arrow incase it wants you to shift Up or Go Down a Gear to Optimise Fuel Economy. The MID gives you an option of which features you want to see in the scroll list and also which units you want the data readout in.
The Touch Screen Music System is the same one that we saw on the Skoda Superb. The Quality of sound is excellent. The Touch Screen is intuitive and easy to use. You can also connect an SD card and there is a provision for Auxiliary input in the Centre Arm Rest.
The Air Cooled Centre arm rest has a small storage compartment built into it and you need to pull a black lever upwards to direct the AC air into it. The top cover slides Fore and Aft for Better Elbow support.
Dual Zone climate control AC is again the same as the one on the Superb. It is quite easy to use and understand at the first attempt and does an excellent job of cooling the cabin in no time. The Display screen briefly shows the change in temperature setting.
The LCD screen is also used as a part of the Parktronic system. The accurate sensors pick up even small objects in their part and show their distance from the car in Blue Zones which turn to a bright orange when it’s time to Stop.
The Front Seats are large and comfortable with sufficient Leg Room. The Driver’s side gets Height Adjustable Seats along with Height Adjustable Seat belts on Both Sides. The reclining system still happens via old fashioned Manual Turn Knobs.
The Yeti provides the Driver an excellent view of the Road. Blind spots are kept to a minimum. In fact the Front view from Inside the Yeti, with the raised Bonnet, feels similar to the one while seated in the Driver’s Seat of a Scorpio. The large green house coupled with the Beige Interiors gives the cabin a very airy appearance.
Rear Seats have sufficient Leg room too. They slide Front and Back and recline too. We realized the advantage of the system when a particularly large box just fit perfectly when the Rear Seats were moved slightly forward. And of course you can move them back again when you want a bit more leg room. The Centre passenger however doesn’t get such a good deal. The Rear Seats are marginally cramped for 3 and the High Transmission Tunnel and Rear AC Vents means that the Centre Passenger has to saddle them to be comfortable. What the Centre Passenger does get, is a 3 point Seat Belt which retracts into the roof when not required.
The Rear AC Vents are bi-directional and can be completely closed if required. The Rear Passengers also get Floor Vents. The Rear Arm Rest have small cup holders (just like the cup holders up Front, no bottles will fit in there). The soft portion to rest your arm on is very small too and the hard plastics hitting the elbow do not feel too good either. The Lighted glove box is small and won’t hold too much of your stuff. You do get a Pen and cards holder at the side. There is a small storage area beneath the Front Passengers seat and also beneath the AC controls and the Rear AC vents. The Doors open in 3 stages and close with a soft thud. Unfortunately they won’t be able to hold big sized water bottles but you do get a string to hold those maps / news papers in place. Actually the big bottle will find no place in the Yeti. In fact it is difficult to get a 500ml bottle into the Storage behind the Gear Lever.
The Front Glass has a pointed edge rather than a smooth curve which is the norm. The Rear Glass also goes only 3/4th the Way down. All 4 Power Windows on the Yeti come equipped with a one touch Auto Up and Auto Down function with an effective anti pinch system. However the placement of the Front Switch was a bit too far out and made it slightly hard to reach. We kept inadvertently operating the wrong Window. Both Driver and Passenger Side Sun Visors get Vanity Mirrors.
There are two 12V Accessory Sockets provided, one behind the Gear Lever and the other in the Boot. The Boot light is quite helpful during the night. Even if the Headlights are ON when you turn off the Ignition, they turn OFF automatically, a well thought out feature. However if the Parking Lights are ON they remain in the ON position. A small ticket holder is provided on the Front Windscreen. Both Front and Rear Wipers are soft and of high quality and effectively clean the Glass. No anti drip function though, but it is actually not required. The Yeti comes without Auto Door locks. This has to be done manually via a switch behind the Gear Lever.
The Ride Quality of the Yeti, despite being a SUV, is excellent. Considering the Power available, it feels like the Superb V6 without the Weight. Throw it hard around corners and there is minimum body roll. The Yeti holds its line perfectly, credit mainly going to the Traction Control System which detects slip and adjusts braking to the particular wheel accordingly.
The Yeti is a Driver’s Oriented Car and drives and rides like a well balanced Sedan. The Ride Quality is at Par with market leaders like the Chevrolet Cruze. The 4 x 4 system uses the Haldex Clutch, the same which is seen on the Superb V6. Basically the Yeti handles like a front wheel drive until slip is detected, where Power is transferred to the Rear Wheels. It is capable of getting the Yeti out of many tricky situations Off-Road, should the need ever arise.
The is a large suspension travel which ensures that despite a 180mm Ground Clearance, the Yeti does not bottom out on any Surface. We went over a couple of high Road Dividers without hitting a single one. The Yeti Rides on 215/60 profile tyres on 16” Alloy Rims. The Spare is the same tyre on Steel Rims. The Quick Response Power Steering along with the Tight Turning Radius (not to mention its compact size) make the Yeti a breeze to drive around the City.
There is also the Off Road mode and the Hill Descent system. In case you have halted on an upslope, just hit the brakes and the car will hold the brakes for a couple of seconds even after you release the brake lever. This gives you enough time to get started again without fearing that the car will roll back and hit something. On a steep descent, just activate the Off Road mode and the Yeti automatically rolls down slowly at 20 kmph. All you have to do is concentrate on the Steering.
You can also Activate or Deactivate the ESP (Traction Control System) by Holding the ESP switch for a second. Switching the ESP off gives a warning on the MID which says ‘Driving Stability Restricted’. The Yeti is a little rocket. The 2.0 litre CRDi engine Produces 140 PS @ 4200 RPM and a massive 320 NM of Torque @ 1750 RPM. At 1530 kgs it translates to 92 PS / Ton. Accelerate hard and you can literally feel the G Forces pushing you back into your Seat.
Turn the Ignition and the MID shows ‘Depress Clutch to Start’. First Gear passes easy, but then slot into Second…and ‘Stall’. It takes a bit of getting used to operating the Yeti at higher Revs. And still, you will occasionally end up stalling it. Embarrassing, especially when you have passengers and you keep stalling the car. Even worse if someone asks you for a drive in Peak traffic and you know he won’t go 10 meters before stalling it. The fact that you need to completely switch off the ignition and restart it makes matters worse. There is no automatic transmission available either, which would automatically take care of things. Most high segment buyers these days prefer the Automatic Transmission and why Skoda would ignore this, I do not understand.
The 4WD variant comes with a 6 Speed Transmission. In the City, the Top Gear is quite redundant as you need to be above 80kmph to use it. Get an open stretch of Road and the Yeti feels at home. The Yeti cruises easily at 160kmph. At around 180kmph you feel the need for a few steering inputs on a regular basis and the Yeti tends to get quite wafty at 190kmph, which is a non-issue as one would rarely (if at all) be driving at those speeds.
The Yeti hits 60 kmph in about 5 seconds and the Ton in just about 11 seconds which is quite impressive. We completed the ¼ mile run in just 18 seconds. The Yeti manages a Max Speed of 45 kmph in 1st Gear @ 5400 RPM, 85 kmph in 2nd, 130 kmph in 3rd, 170 kmph in 4th, 180 kmph in 5th and a Top Speed of 190 Kmph in 6th Gear. Plenty of Safety Features are available in the Yeti. The Yeti is equipped with 6 Airbags with Active Head Restraints including Front, Side and Curtain Airbags. The car has an All Wheel Drive with ESP and ABS with EBD. All 4 Disc Brakes with ABS ensures that the Yeti stops safely in a short distance without the feeling of loosing control at any time.
There are also the cornering fog lamps. When the Headlights are turned ON and the Fog Lamps are OFF, the Fog Lamp on the side that the car is turning, turns ON to give some extra light in that direction. Mileage wise the Yeti returns about 10-11 kmpl in the City, the worst that we got was 6.8 kmpl in the heavy Stop-Go Traffic in Mumbai. Cruising on the Highway, the Yeti returns 18-19 kmpl. Use some Pedal to Metal high speed driving and that will drop to between 13-14 kmpl.
|Variant||TDI CR 4X2 Ambition|
|Engine Displacement (cc) / Cylinder||1968/ 4 Cyl|
|Torque in NM/RPM||320/2500|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||60 L|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||180|
|Turning circle radius (m)||5|
|Features||Active 4X2||Ambition 4X2||Ambition 4X4||Elegance 4X4|
|Alloy wheels 16"moon||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Alloy wheels 16" Spectrum||No||No||No||Yes|
|Boreal wood design on front dashboard and console||No||No||No||Yes|
|Front fog lamps||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear fog lamps||No||No||No||Yes|
|External mirror defogger wit timer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear windscreen defogger with timer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hill Hold Control||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Traction control System||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic stability program||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Drive off assistant||No||No||No||Yes|
|Parktronic display on central infotainment system||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual front airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Side airbag at front||No||No||No||Yes|
|Curtain airbag at front and rear||No||No||No||Yes|
|Height adjustment for fron driver and passanger seat||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear seat arm center||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Skoda audio player with touch screen control||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|6.5"LCD TFT crystal display||No||No||No||Yes|
|Integrated 6 CD changer||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Audio control on steering||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Dual zone climetronic||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Leather seat upholstery||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ex showroom price in Rs|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||TDI CR 4X2 Ambition||RX Z|
|Engine cc||1968/ 4 Cyl||1461/4|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||320/2500||248/2250|
|Tyres||215/60 R16||215/65 R16|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||60 L||50 L|
|Ground Clearance in MM||180||205|
|Turning circle radius in M||5||5.2|
|Front fog lamps||Yes||Yes|
|Rear windscreen defogger with timer||Yes||Yes|
|Hill Hold Control||Yes||Yes|
|Traction control System||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic stability program||Yes||Yes|
|Parktronic display on central infotainment system||Yes||Yes|
|Dual front airbags||Yes||Yes|
|Side airbag at front||No||Yes|
|Height adjustment for fron driver and passanger seat||Yes||Yes|
|Rear seat arm center||Yes||Yes|
|Audio player with touch screen control||Yes||Yes|
|Integrated 6 CD changer||No||Yes|
|Audio control on steering||No||Yes|
|Dual zone climetronic||No||Yes|
|Leather seat upholstery||Yes||No|
|Ex showroom price in Rs|
There is not much competition in the Soft Roader segment with the Maruti Suzuki Vitara, the Chevrolet Captiva, The Mitsubishi Outlander, the Nissan X Trail and the Honda CRV being the Yeti’s main rivals. The fact that at 16.5 lac (Ex-Showroom Pune) the Yeti is priced a couple of lacs cheaper than the rest is an advantage for Skoda.
Despite the Yeti’s smaller size it offers sedan like ride quality, ease of use within the City, Excellent Power on the Highway and the ability of doing a lot more off-roading than a regular sedan would even dare.
Just by the overall feel of the car we see no reason why the Yeti should not spell another Success story for Skoda and see Skoda’s sales charts climb even further.