Skoda Yeti 2.0TDi Ambition 2010

If like me, you have kids and you went away for the bank holiday weekend then you will know the amount of equipment you have to try getting into the cavity over the rear wheels that’s called a boot. No matter what car you drive there comes a time when something just will not fit into it, with two small kids that means a pram and a pushchair, toys, nappies, bottles, clothes and things for the beach. That’s before you start to pack anything for yourself. If you get everything in, inevitably you’ll have to stop somewhere to get something back out that one of the kid’s need, which involves playing Jenga with the contents of the boot. So after you find that you have to pull damn near everything out of the boot to get what you need, you’re sweating, you still have to repack everything again and for some reason it just doesn’t want to fit back in.

It’s an old story retold every bank holiday weekend you’ll see red-faced parents littered all over  the countries roads trying to use brute force to get a deck chair or some other beach related equipment back into the boot. My bank holiday was spent carting the kids from Home to Hotel and then Hotel to Beach, gray skies meant we didn’t stay too long on the beach. Back and fourth we went trying to keep the kids from going postal. I was thanking the motoring gods that conspired to grant me a Yeti for the weekend.

Despite having a small foot print on the road the Yeti doesn’t feel small inside, the cabin is light and airy; the drivers’ seat is a comfortable place to be. The high driving position is bang on; with rake and reach on the steering wheel coupled with a height adjustable seat it’s easy to find your spot. In the back there’s plenty of room for the two child seats but not much else, the centre seat is a little on the narrow side. All the seats fold and slide back and forth in the usual configurations, they also recline and are removable, with the centre one folding to make a drinks table. There’s plenty of leg room back there for those of you who want to carry adults, with no child seat you would easily get two adults in, three if the middle one is very skinny.

In the Ambition model you get a lot of extra and very useful equipment, an extra cubby hole in the middle of the dash is very useful. You also get more cubby holes in the boot over the wheel arches and some hooks in the boot, front and rear electric windows, height adjustable seats, rear parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming mirror and a brilliant touch screen radio with 6 CD changer that plays MP3 and can take an SD card.

The boot, at its smallest gives 410ltrs of space and that’s plenty of room for prams and pushchairs or even a couple of deck chairs. If you fold all the seats flat in the back you’ll have a decent sized van. You can also remove the rear seats independently, something Skoda calls Varioflex system.

In Ireland at the time of writing there are two engines you can have, a 1.2Tsi petrol with 102bhp and a 2.0 TDi with 110bhp. The Tax on the 1.2 is €302, but only €156 on the diesel. On the road it’s quite a stiff ride without being harsh; the 2.0ltr engine pulls well and does it quietly. There’s good feedback from the steering and plenty of grip, there is a bit too much body roll but that’s to be expected from the elevated position of the car. The manual 6 speed gearbox is supple, there’s a light clutch too with makes easy-going in traffic.

Later this year there’s a 4 wheel drive model coming to Ireland, which has a Haldex system. In simple terms this means a box of electronics decides if the wheels are skidding and diverts power to whichever wheel needs it. It’s all automatic so there’s no big handle or buttons to press, in fact you may not even notice when it’s happening.

So in conclusion, the Yeti is an extremely capable family hatchback and in the 4×4 version should be able to get you over the roughest terrain. There is nothing this car does wrong; ok the exterior styling isn’t to everyone’s taste but that’s a minor thing and the middle seat is too small which will be a compromise for some people. To be really honest I love this car, it’s a bit of a Swiss army knife. It’s a car, a van and a small 4×4 all rolled into a very neat package.

With prices starting at €19,995 for the entry model it’s cheap too. The best of the lot is the 4×4 model, the price is TBC, but if you can’t wait the model I drove has everything you’ll need. Prices for the diesel “Ambition” model start at €23,695.

I can’t recommend the little Yeti enough; go drive it you’ll see.