A factory-fresh Skoda Yeti joined AM at the beginning of November, and will remain with us for six months while we put it through its paces and assess what will help dealers sell it.
The crossover model has been on sale in the UK since September 2009, since when almost 10,000 have found homes with private buyers and company car users.
That’s well on track, given that at launch Skoda UK had a conservative estimate of 4,000 annual registrations, and given that it won awards from several motoring magazines and praise from Top Gear’s Clarkson.
It took until February this year for Yeti’s line-up to be joined by the Greenline II derivative, the model we chose for our long-term test.
It’s positioned as the most efficient Yeti, with front-wheel drive, an economical 1.6-litre diesel engine, and energy saving technology such as stop-start, low rolling resistance tyres and energy recovery.
Such measures deliver a vehicle capable of 119g/km CO2 and 61.4 miles per gallon on the combined cycle, according to its official figures.
In real life conditions it won’t disappoint – we’ve added almost 1,000 miles during its first fortnight and have been impressed by achieving a 58mpg average.
Skoda’s marketing machine, retail network expansion and plethora of awards are steadily putting the brand on more consumers’ consideration lists.
Yet the hurdle for its dealers is still in getting prospects into the showroom and inside the car. With that achieved, any customer doubts should be easily dispelled.
Like the Superb, the Yeti demolishes outmoded views of past Skoda standards in terms of the cabin’s fit, finish, fabrics, controls and instruments.
It is as robust and well-assembled as any Audi, and its quality of finish puts it at the head of any value brand competition.
While its Volkswagen and Audi cousins get first pick of the group’s latest technological developments, Skoda has not let the Yeti be left decades behind.
In Elegance trim it comes with kit such as bi-xenon headlamps with cornering function, auto wipers and lights, Bluetooth, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, air-conditioned glovebox, seven airbags, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
We added the optional Park Assist system at £495, which parallel parks the car into spaces just 80cm longer than itself and includes front and rear sensors.
The other options we chose were tyre pressure monitoring at £100 and Skoda’s Columbus sat-nav – an easy-to-use system priced £1,510 which also plays DVDs when parked up.
The metallic paint added a final £440. All of which pushed the Yeti’s cost up from £20,395 to £22,940.
That still seems very reasonable for a car which meets the expectations of a premium-segment product.