The Yeti’s kinda boxy, kinda dumpy, kinda gawky looks are a by-product of Skoda’s practicality-first mentality. Its square shape and tall sides are about making the most of every millimetre of space that its footprint has to spare.
It’s not a hatchback, - and it isn’t what you'd expect of a crossover. It’s not an SUV, nor is it a van. It’s simply a… Yeti. And once you become familiar with its unorthodox design, you begin to notice some handsome features. It’s well proportioned, has sculpted and flared wheel arches, a wraparound windscreen and a short rear overhang. All very desirable attributes.
Throughout its eight-year lifespan, the Yeti’s looks haven’t changed dramatically. The integrated front-bumper spotlights of the early model made way for a wider grille, and some of the plastic trim turned from black to body colour. None of the changes detracted from the Yeti’s curious and distinctive style.
It’s simply a… Yeti.
What’s it like to drive?
The Skoda Yeti will surprise you. While it’s not going to shock you or make you jump, but under your breath, you’ll find yourself will uttering ‘I didn’t think you could do that’ to it.
The Yeti has a robust and chunky attitude, one that allows you to tackle bumps and ramps without a care. Just as you would expect from its jacked-up suspension with its go-almost-anywhere ride height.
The real surprise happens around a corner. Its roughty and toughty nature somehow combines with genuine poise and delicacy. It’s deeply engaging through bends, more so than most well-sorted hatchbacks; . It dutifully follows all of your inputs allowing you to feel totally in control.
Mingling these two unlikely attributes not only makes the Yeti unique, it also means it's an absolute joy to weave down a B-road. You can revel in its agility and response, and you never have to worry about nasty ridges or cavernous potholes.
You never have to worry about nasty ridges or cavernous potholes.
The Skoda Yeti’s interior is very much dominated by the car’s practical side. You sit high, looking out through the deep windows to get a great view – it's easy to survey all corners of the car, perfect for parking.
The control layout is simple, with big buttons and dials to operate the satnav, radio and air conditioning. Most Yetis have a flash of brushed metal across the dash to break up all the black, but that’s about all the visual excitement you get from inside.
Unless you love helpful little gadgets, that is. Because the Yeti is full of tiny details and gizmos that make life just a little bit simpler. There’s a clear plastic clip on the widescreen for displaying your parking tickets. There’s also a set of hooks on sliding rails in the boot for you to hang your bags on, this way they don’t topple over when you’re exercising the Yeti’s fun side. Some Yetis even come with a bin in the door pocket – how incredibly useful is that?
The only thing that would make the Skoda Yeti more practical is if it were a bit longer. If that were the case, though, all vans would be made utterly pointless – it really is that practical.
The Yeti’s boot is tall, with a large hatch to make loading easy. With the seats up, however, it isn't that deep. Don’t worry. Not only can you fold the seats down to make the space bigger, you can also tilt them forward - expanding the area even more. Finally, if you need any extra room, they can be removed entirely. Honestly, who needs a van?
Running costs and reliability
The Skoda Yeti may look unconventional and it might drive like nothing else, but, actually, there’s nothing too strange about what’s under that boxy body. It’s really just a cleverly tweaked hatchback, which means it's reliable and cost-effective to fix if it does go wrong.
It’s really important to check the oil level when buying a used Yeti. Some of the engines have been known to consume oil, and if it’s not kept topped up, it can cause issues so be very wary if the level is low. Also, fuel has been known to work its way into the oil system, raising the amount of oil in the engine. This is caused by clogged diesel particulate filters.
What we love
The Skoda Yeti has two distinct personalities, both are completely lovable. Firstly, it’s terrifically practical, spacious, clever and, with its semi-off road abilities, it can go almost anywhere too. Such qualities make it a wonderful family car.
Then there’s its fun side. It’s such a joy to drive that it’ll make you want to divert into the countryside and take the long way home.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
One way or another, you’re going to be charmed by the Skoda Yeti. It’s not a traditional beauty, instead, its square shape is more adorable. If that isn’t enough, and if you somehow don’t fall in love with its fierce versatilely, there’s the way it drives to win you over.
This review was