Isaac Bober’s first drive 2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

IN A NUTSHELL : The boxy little Skoda Yeti was treated to a mid-life facelift last year and it did little to harm the appeal of the thing.

PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS : The Skoda Yeti is a great little car: unassuming, capable and versatile. And while Skoda Yeti buyers must be laughing their heads off (well, those who bought at the newly reduced price, anyway). If people bought cars with their heads as well as their hearts, we’d be seeing a lot more Yetis on our roads.

THE SKODA YETI is one of our favourite cars and has been since its launch back in 2009 when Skoda took it to the Outback and expected it to cope with thick sand and rocky tracks that most true 4WD owners wouldn’t have ventured down. Sure, the Yeti struggled with some of the tougher parts of the launch drive, but its ‘never say die’ attitude won it plenty of fans.

Fast forward to mid-2014 and Skoda treated the Yeti to a nip and a tuck and split the models into two distinct lines: the front-drive Active and the all-wheel drive Outdoor. The facelift was pretty minor and consists of an adjustment of the fog lights, moving the Skoda badge, squaring off the headlights and adding a strip of LEDs to the headlights.

2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI review

Our test model is the Yeti 77TSI Active which gets a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which makes 77kW (at 5000rpm) and 175Nm of torque (from 1550-4100rpm). Happy to drink 95 RON fuel, the Yeti 77TSI consumes 6.7L/100km (combined). It comes with a six-speed manual as standard, or a cost-optional seven-speed DSG (our test car had a DSG).

Beyond the cosmetic there are almost no other differences for the 2014-released update. That said, the all-wheel drive models do get the fifth-generation Haldex clutch system, but since our test model was two-wheel drive only that’s not at all relevant.

Don’t take this as a negative, because there was absolutely nothing wrong with the Yeti before the facelift. There’s no doubting the segment the Yeti sits in is competitive, and the Yeti has struggled with its utilitarian looks and that’s a shame, because it’s easily one of the best behaved models in the segment.

2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI review

Even in this front-drive model, body control is good with little body roll, and there’s plenty of grip too, indeed the Yeti 77TSI is surprisingly agile and fun to drive. Id’ go so far as to say the average driver would be better off saving their money and buying this front-drive variant over the all-paw model, yep, it’s the grippy and stable.

We didn’t take the front-drive Yeti ‘off-roading’ but we did take it out onto a dirt road in the Blue Mountains that leads to one of our favourite look outs and I didn’t notice the fact the rear axle wasn’t in play. To be honest, if you’re contemplating rough road work in your compact SUV then the all-paw Yeti is worth a look but then so is something like the Subaru XV.

2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI review

While some have knocked the interior of the Yeti for feeling a little old-school and compact, I couldn’t find any such fault with the thing. It’s not overly endowed with luxury adornments, but it’s practical and the interior should stand up to abuse well.

In typical Volkswagen Group fashion, the interior is well screwed together and the materials chosen are soft-touch, quality feeling plastics. The seats are a little flat in the base and offer almost no grip meaning you tend to use your legs to hold you in place a little more often when cornering. In the back, there’s room for two children’s seats and ISOFIX mounting points on the two outer rear seats.

2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI review

Speaking of the back seats, all three are independent of one another and you can remove one or all of them to increase interior storage space. With the rear seats in place there’s 321 litres of bootspace, fold them down and this grows to 1485 litres and remove them altogether and you get a huge1665 litres of storage space.

2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI review

The Yeti 77TSI is priced from $23,490 (+ORC) for the six-speed manual variant, while our test car lists from $25,790 (+ORC) and for that you get fabric seats, plenty of storage spaces (the front door pockets will hold a one litre bottle while those in the rear will take a 500ml bottle), reversing camera with rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, air-con, and heated wing mirrors.

In terms of safety, the Yeti gets a five-star ANCAP rating, seven airbags, traction and stability controls, emergency fuel supply cut-off, and the previously mentioned reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

2014 Skoda Yeti 77TSI DSG

Price : From $25,790 (+ORC)
Warranty : three years, unlimited kilometres
Safety : five-star ANCAP
Engine : 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Power/Torque : 77kW/175Nm
Transmission : seven-speed DSG
Body : 4223mm (L); 1793mm (W)
Weight : 1410kg (DSG)
Thirst : 6.7L/100km


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