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2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4: Review


The Skoda Yeti is a capable but seriously underrated product. So, can its recent facelift and added equipment change that? Here's our take after having driven it

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Review

 

The Skoda Yeti: it is easily the most misunderstood car in our market today. It costs around Rs 20 lakh and for this money you get great build quality, fantastic dynamics, high quality interiors and decent off-roading ability. What you don't get is visual volume proportionate to its price tag; the biggest reason the Yeti hasn't found too many takers in India but the Toyota Fortuner has. The latter’s pricing is in the same ballpark as well. 

 

Now that we are on the subject of appearance, the Yeti's slightly odd-ball face hasn't done it any favours either. With the new Skoda Yeti however, half of this problem has been addressed. No, the Yeti is still small; it sports exactly the same length, width, height and wheelbase as the previous version. But the new Skoda Yeti, or as Skoda likes to call it: the redesigned Yeti, is way better looking.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 New Face

 

Exterior Style / Design

It gets new bi-xenon head lamps with LED DRLs, new bumpers with differently styled air intakes and fog lamp design, re-profiled fenders and mildly redesigned tail gate and tail lights. The latter are now LED units. The new Skoda Yeti also gets nicer looking alloy wheels, smarter looking side door moulding and the option of specifying the roof in a contrasting colour to the rest of the car. All these changes make the Yeti look a whole lot younger and aspirational than before. This one is bound to get to you appreciative nods.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 LED Tail Lamp

 

Exterior Style / Design: 4

 

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Interior

 

Interior & Space

Not much has changed in the interior design though apart from a new steering wheel. The quality is still top notch, the materials still feel premium and there's still nothing to complain about its ergonomics. As for space, given the dimensions of the new Yeti remain unchanged, there's no improvement in passenger or luggage room either. The Yeti is still best suited for four individuals and with a boot that measures 416 litres with all seats in place, it can hold weekend luggage without a problem.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Seats & Space

 

Interior & Space: 3

 

Features & Equipment

The new Skoda Yeti only comes in one equipment trim - Elegance - but it is well specced. On the safety front, it has everything from ABS to traction control to an electronic stability program. It gets six airbags and of course a robust shell. Comfort and convenience wise, there's keyless entry and start, a touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth telephony, electric power seats with memory function, cruise control and a tyre pressure monitoring system besides a set of sporty, anti-slip floor pedals. There's a whole lot more to the equipment list which has been carried over from the older Yeti from storage spaces to electric ORVMs with fold function to climate control and a rough road package.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Interior Console

 

Features & Equipment: 4.5

 

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Review

 

Engine & Performance

There might only be one equipment trim, but the Skoda Yeti continues to come with 4x2 and 4x4 options. Both versions are powered by the same 2-litre, four cylinder diesel engine (there's no petrol on offer), but the lighter and more affordable 4x2 has been tuned to deliver lower power and torque. It makes 110PS of max power and 250Nm of peak torque. This version is also only mated to a 5-speed gearbox.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 6-speed Manual

 

The Skoda Yeti 4x4 on the other hand makes 140PS and 320Nm and gets a 6-speed manual (there's no automatic this time round either). The 4x4 is also more enjoyable to drive. Its acceleration through the gears is brisk and the drivetrain setup makes the Yeti an ideal car for long highways jaunts. Be it fast overtakes, relaxed cruising or even tacking a challenging hill climb, the Yeti 4x4 always has enough grunt to make it all seem effortless. As for city use, the clutch still isn't exactly light, but it is more progressive and easier to modulate now. And that's down to the lighter, fifth generation Haldex all wheel drive system.

Engine & Performance: 4

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Rear Action

 

Ride & Ease of Driving

The lighter and easier to modulate clutch also makes driving the Skoda Yeti 4x4 in stop and go city traffic a less tiresome affair compared to the older car. It's still not a breeze, mind, and long hours in bumper to bumper traffic can leave you with aching thighs. The visibility though is good and Yeti remains an easy vehicle to park; the ORVMs are large and it gets parking sensors all around as standard too.

 

The Yeti has a well sorted ride quality as well. It is stiffly setup, no doubt, but it's still great over broken roads, even when loaded. It just rides flat over most surfaces. There's also no real noise or vibration that seeps through inside the cabin. But yes, the rear passengers might find the ride a bit choppy over sharp bumps.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Review

 

Ride & Ease of Driving: 3.5

 

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Review

 

Handling & Braking

If it's an SUV you want with unparalleled dynamic ability, at least at this price point, the Skoda Yeti fits the bill perfectly. The steering responsive is accurate and lively; the body control is tightly tied down; and with the new all-wheel-drive system, there's just a lot of grip, even in wet conditions. The Yeti 4x4 also comes with ESP, which, thankfully, isn't all that intrusive; in fact, it's quite handy if you over-cook it. As for the brakes, the Yeti 4x4 runs discs all round with ventilation for the ones at the front. And though the progression and feel at the pedal is good, we would have liked fiercer bite from the brakes.

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Still

 

And, yes, the new Skoda Yeti 4x4 can off-road as well. There's no low range or mechanical differential lock, but then the Yeti isn't meant for rock climbing and the likes. But, if there's water wading to be done or a rut to negotiate or even some deep slush to be tackled, the off-road mode of the Yeti 4x4 does prove helpful. Push the Off-road button on the central console and the electronics take over. It changes the throttle map, the traction control characteristic and even the ABS settling to suit slippery conditions. This mode also activates uphill and downhill assist, and gets the electronic differential lock to react faster offering continued motoring even if all four wheels aren't on the ground.

Handling & Braking: 4.5

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Review

 

Price & Fuel Efficiency

The New Skoda Yeti will cost a little more than the model it replaces. Expect prices to hover around the Rs 20 lakh mark.  And the main reason for this increase is more equipment. Skoda will also only offer the Yeti in one trim but with 4x2 and 4x4 drive options. The 4x2 will not only be cheaper but more economical in terms of fuel efficiency as well. The difference though is marginal. According to ARAI, the 4x2 delivers 17.7kmpl while the 4x4 returns 17.6kmpl.

Price & Fuel Efficiency: 3

 

 

2014 Skoda Yeti 4x4 Review

 

 

Verdict

Skoda believes majority of its Yeti customers will come from cars like the Honda City or even D-segment sedans like the Toyota Corolla and its own Octavia. So what does the Yeti have to attract such people? For starters, it comes with the promise of adventure and image no sedan in the above mentioned classes can deliver: imagine a sedan looking this cool with a cycle on top! The Yeti's also a proper fun to drive car without being uncomfortable. And to top it all, it has most of the bells and whistles. The only other car with similar appeal is the Renault Duster 4x4 and it is a lot more affordable. The downside: it doesn’t pack in as much stuff and is nowhere as premium as the Yeti. To us then the new Skoda Yeti is a great buy, everything considered.

Verdict: 4

Recommended Variant : Yeti Style 4X4