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Long-term test: Skoda Yeti 1.6TDI Elegance Greenline II



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Quite a few manufacturers now make cars with optional systems that encourage the driver to take a break every couple of hours.

Overprotective it might be, but it’s a worthy cause surely, given the comfort and ease with which a couple of hundred miles can be covered in many modern cars.

Our long-term test Yeti is no exception; I’ve done three-hour drives to north Yorkshire or deepest Surrey from our base in Peterborough non-stop thanks to its excellent driving position and supportive seats.

Yet pulling over for a coffee break has often made it evident how alertness can suffer.

As the conservative, value-orientated brand in Volkswagen Group’s portfolio Skoda is often late to benefit from such technology until Volkswagen and Audi have taken the lead.

However, recently, I’ve discovered something about our extremely efficient Yeti which does the same job as these systems, but in less of a nanny-state manner.

It’s the £1,510 optional Columbus sat-nav. Or more precisely, it’s the DVD system that’s integral to it.

It’ll play all forms of DVD through the 6.5in touchscreen when the vehicle is stationary, and continues to play the audio while moving.

It means occupants can listen to the drama of their favourite film while on the move, then catch a scene or two whenever they hit a major traffic jam or decide to pull over for coffee.

Bleak laybys occupied by trucks and a mobile burger van suddenly become more attractive when they’re also a chance to watch Val Kilmer’s running gunfight scene in Heat.

And when my stepson is on board, it can prove useful to stick an episode of Mythbusters on to entertain him while I pick up some milk from the shops.

It’s unlikely that any Skoda customer is likely to fully appreciate the Columbus system until they’ve lived with their car for a few months, which makes it all the more important for the dealer to fully explain the benefits of this four-figure investment.

Otherwise buyers might be happy to stick with their budget aftermarket sat-nav in ignorance of the unit’s full functionality.

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