Abominable? Anything but!

For a while it seemed, you weren’t allowed to like 4x4’s anymore.  The merest mention of the words range or rover in the same sentence and would have your local Chums-of –the-World representatives chaining  themselves to whatever most resembled a production line before you could say “the end of the world is nigh”. It was said the majority of 4x4’s were bought by fashion conscious families who never so much as mounted a kerb, and being seen on the school run in a two tonne monster with a transfer box became “so very last year darling”. 

So what is one to do if the drive isn’t made from billiard board smooth tarmac, there isn’t enough room in the eco-hatchback for all of your lifestyle accessories, or children, and you can’t help but wonder if selling the Mud-Plugger was a bad idea after-all? Skoda thinks it has the answer: Step forward The Skoda Yeti Urban

Aimed squarely at the likes of Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke, not to mention Mini’s styled-by-steroids Countryman, the Yeti Urban has been designed exactly for those who like the looks, but not the running costs of a regular 4x4. Skoda’s marketing department clearly know an opportunity when they see one: The truth is it’s not a 4x4 at all; the Yeti Urban is strictly 2 wheel drive only.

It may have lost a driven axle but on the road at least theYeti is far better to drive than its looks and high-rise stance would have you believe. The driving experience is more akin to a well-sorted-hatchback than it is to a checked-shirt-n-country-music type 4x4. Because of its stiff chassis you can carry speed through corners without ever feeling that the Yeti is being asked to do more than it is capable of. The ride is smooth and composure good, and thanks to its neutral handling balance and well-weighted steering, something about it just feels right. The 1.2litre, 105bhp turbo petrol unit as fitted to “my” Yeti (there’s a diesel option too) provides surprisingly sprightly performance and despite having to work the gearbox a little harder on the hilly bits the change is both smooth and precise.

Inside too, the Yeti is equally pleasing. Neat and solid feeling switchgear fill the cabin, and if it wasn’t for the badge on the very  comfortable steering wheel, it wouldn’t take much to convince you that you were sitting in an Audi or one of VW’s finer saloons. The large glass area, slim pillars, a “command “ driving position, plus of course the extra kit that comes as standard on Urban spec Yetis – Bluetooth, sat-nav, Digital radio - , make vastly spacious interior a very nice place to be. It’s also versatile too. Each of the rear seats can be slid or tipped forward or removed completely enabling a myriad of seating and load-lugging options, and thanks to the positioning of clever hooks and lashing eyes you’ll never have any trouble carrying your passengers, mountain bike, Labrador or take-away curry, home again.

So should you get one? After all, the Yeti is never going to challenge a Defender’s off road ability when the going gets tough - but then again are you? With the right tyres fitted even a 2x4 is more than capable of getting you off a muddy festival car park or snowy driveway. Will you really ever ask it to do anything more? If the urban jungle is your default habitat and you’re yearning for something a little more adventurous then a Yeti Urban should definitely be on your radar. Quite honestly there’s absolutely nothing not to like about this car.
 

Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI Urban.

Engine: 1197cc 8V 4Cyl petrol turbo
Power: 105BHP @ 5000rpm
Torque: 130lb ft @ 1550-4100rpm
Transmission: Six Speed Manual, Front wheel drive
0-62MPH: 11.8 sec.
Max Speed: 112 MPH
Combined MPG: 44.1
CO2: 149g/km
Price: £16,995

Many thanks to Skoda’s UK press office for lending us their Yeti.

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam
 

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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