Better than an Evoque?

Yeti2_4fe06adc1c707-lightboxThat’s the question some of my friends asked and if I’m honest I asked myself too. Could I really see myself driving a diesel SUV?

The story of my Yeti actually started a couple of years ago when the Range Rover Evoque was announced. My wife and I fell in love with it straight away and put a deposit on one as soon as we were allowed. Time passed and we got more excited – then the price list came out. Thank God we were sitting down at the time of reading; the model we wanted came in at a frightening £41,560.

That really started to get me thinking – yes it’s amazingly stylish and has a stunning interior, but is it worth more than twice the cost of a Skoda Yeti? Once I got the chance to sit in and drive the Evoque, I then drove the Yeti on an extended 3hr drive and that was that. I was going to ditch the Evoque and order a diesel Skoda SUV.

Come delivery day I was like a child on Xmas day and we had a nice 500 mile round trip to see the folks in Cheshire planned the day after arrival to break it in and get to grips with the Yeti. First and foremost, when it arrived I was blown away – I genuinely think this is a great looking car. The way the c-pillar is suspended and the b-pillar is raked backwards gives the Yeti a really sporty look to it, especially from the side. The round lamps in the front give it some excitement and the standard 17” alloy wheels are a simple yet effective design. The interior is pure VW, with the standard touch screen radio, cruise control, steering wheel controls, dual zone A/C and rear parking sensors adding up to a great standard kit count.

The 2.0 diesel lump pulls like a train, only really getting a bit out of breath above the motorway speed limit due to the Yeti’s rather brick-like aerodynamic properties. Even more surprising is that so far the Yeti has averaged 54.5mpg, amazing for a car with a brand new engine. These VW engines are supposed to free up nicely as well to give even better economy. But the main revelation for me is the handling.

With a combination of startlingly effective damping and long wheel travel the Yeti goes around corners on my favourite B-road like a hot hatchback, with virtually no roll at all. This is really surprising given the high stance of the car, but it all goes together to form a car that is really good fun to throw around. The brakes are strong, though a slightly dead middle pedal limits their feel somewhat, and there’s no shortage of grip from the tyres.

With 1000 miles covered, this will actually be the most it will cover per month as we both work in London and catch the train, so with my ecurie25 membership providing me with weekend toys, the Yeti is used for ordinary trips to the shops/gym/other, but that is really its strong suit – an all-rounder.

Only costs this month were a set of OEM Skoda mats and an OEM rubber mat for the boot (both found 40% cheaper on eBay) to keep it looking tidy inside.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Yeti fits into our lives; though I have a feeling it’ll be seamless. As for the Evoque? I must have seen about 30 of them around Brentwood so far, whereas I’ve not seen a single other Yeti, so I’m quite happy having the less common choice…

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Tim Oldland