Skoda Yeti (2009 – 2017) Review

Skoda Yeti (2009 – 2017) At A Glance


+Unique styling. Solid build. Excellent petrol engines including frugal yet peppy 1.2 TSI. Good space in the back. Frugal 1.6 TDI Greenline can return 60mpg+.

-Can have oil consumption problem. Unusual looks not for everyone.

Insurance Groups are between 9–24
On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure

The Skoda Yeti was one of the first true crossovers that became a big success, and is a great alternative to cars like the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Honda CR-V. It ticks all the right boxes for the segment, mixing a car-like driving experience with plenty of space and a tough-looking design, as well as traditional Skoda attributes such as good value and practical thinking. Should you want to be semi-serious about your off-roading then the Yeti can oblige, but the Yeti is at its best when used as an alternative to conventional hatchbacks and estates.

Combining the best parts of a compact hatchback and an off-roader, the Skoda Yeti is labelled as a 'crossover' in a similar vein as the Nissan Qashqai. It may not seem like an obvious mix but it works very well with the affordability and running costs of a normal hatch blended with the extra practicality and chunky styling of a 4x4.

It also gives people the option of driving something that looks like an off-roader but doesn’t necessarily come with the price tag and the unnecessary four-wheel-drive hardware that comes with it.

The result has been a huge success and the Skoda Yeti is a great family car that's versatile and roomy. It was facelifted in 2014 with new styling, bringing it in line with other Skoda models.

The range was rationalised at the same time into two different models; the standard Yeti and the more ruggedly styled Yeti Outdoor. Regardless of which one you go for, the formula that has made the car so popular with buyers remains the same. 

Inside there's plenty of space for four adults, with impressive legroom for those in the back, plus a large boot.

The tall shape helps in terms of headroom and makes the cabin feel light and spacious, in particular the boxy design of the rear means the space is very useful, and is ideal for people who need to carry bulkier items. Thanks to a forgiving ride, it's incredibly comfortable too and means long journeys needn't be a chore.

Like many cars of this ilk, it's available with four-wheel drive, which is useful in slippery conditions or if you regularly tow a trailer. But what does surprise is how genuinely capable the Yeti is when tackling off-road terrain, even in situations where you might expect a traditional 4x4 to struggle.

Rather than just a marketing exercise, the Yeti has off-road ability that is likely to be beyond the needs and the confidence of many buyers should you need it; one of the best things about the Yeti is that you can skip all of this if you just want the looks.

It's just as good on the road with neatly responsive steering, good body control in bends and a positive gear change. You might not choose one if you’re looking for a hot hatch - even if the 1.8-litre petrol version is actually pretty quick - but it’s as capable and well-mannered as Skoda’s more conventional cars.

As a result it's easy to drive and park in town, but also composed at motorway speeds and will happily cruise along with minimal fuss.

This is helped by a good choice of engines including the 2.0 TDI (available with three different power outputs) that's found across the Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi ranges. The entry-level choice is the 1.2 TSI, but don't be put off by its small size, thanks to a turbocharger it offers surprisingly nippy performance and good fuel economy.

The Yeti is a car that proves the concept of the crossover; in many ways it’s more appealing than the Nissan Qashqai which was more successful in terms of sales. Although it’s no longer on sale, it makes for a smart used buy and there are plenty of examples to choose from.

Ask Honest John

Why did my car's air con compressor fail?
"The AC compressor in my Skoda Yeti has failed at 29,000 miles. My local dealer has quoted me £1300 to replace. Seems a huge amount. Why did it fail at so low mileage?"
Most compressors fail because car owners switch their air con off over the winter. The system isn't designed to be used in this way (the AC should be switched on 100% of the time) otherwise the compressor will become starved of oil and seize up.
Answered by Dan Powell
When should I change the cam belt on my Skoda Yeti diesel?
"I bought a Skoda Yeti SE Greenline II TDI 1600cc diesel last year. It's due for a service now at 75,000 miles. In neither the manual nor the service booklet can I see when the timing belt should be replaced. The garage (that sold me the car) is due to pay for the first service and they say it doesn't need a new cam belt until 100,000 miles. Normally, I would expect it should be replaced at around 75,000 miles. Would you agree?"
I've have heard a lot of cam belt related horror stories over the years - for most models of car, not just the Yeti. That's why I always urge caution when it comes to cam belts, tensioners and water pumps. I recommend a change every 50,000-60,000 miles or five years (whichever comes first). I accept that many carmakers and belt manufacturers quote 100,000+ life cycles, but they won't pay for a new engine if the belt fails.
Answered by Dan Powell
I have a Skoda Yeti on a lease - should buy it at the end of the lease period?
"I have a 2017 Skoda Yeti 1.2 petrol auto on a four-year lease. I'm 76 years old, retired and active. I do about 8000 miles per year, mostly on country roads. Most of my driving is with my wife and/or collie dog. I have been pleased with the Yeti and like the higher driving position and it being an automatic. At the end of the lease, I can probably buy the car via a friend or relative. I'm in a quandary as to whether to buy it or go for another lease car. I have looked at similar cars (Skoda Kamiq. Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai, Kia Soul, Kia Sportage etc), but to get one with similar specs as the Yeti takes the price above my budget. I've also read on your website that the Yeti has dropped from your recommended options because of 'reliability issues' and I would like to know what they are."
Most of the issues are linked to early versions of the 1.2 TSI engine, which used a timing chain. Skoda redesigned the engine in 2015 and replaced the chain with a cam belt (which is what your car uses). The DSG gearbox should be okay, as long as the gearbox oil and micro-filter is changed every four years or 40,000 miles (whichever comes first). I would make the oil change a condition of buying the car from the lease company, should you choose to keep it.
Answered by Dan Powell
Can you recommend a small, automatic SUV?
"I'm after a small, used SUV with an auto gearbox. I have a budget of £11,000 - £12,000. I'm doing 7000-8000 miles of mixed driving per year. So far I've narrowed it down to Suzuki Vitara, Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai. Any advise will be appreciated."
I really like the Skoda Yeti, but it has had a lot of reported problems over the past few years and it is probably best avoided. I'd say the same for the Qashqai, after its poor showing in our latest Satisfaction Index: The Suzuki Vitara, on the other hand, is a very good car. It also has a strong reputation for reliability and comfort. I would add the Kia Niro and Toyota C-HR to your list, too, as both are easy to use and have a good reputation for build quality.
Answered by Dan Powell

What does a Skoda Yeti (2009 – 2017) cost?