A recent phonecall from a neighbour further up the road made me smile. “I was passing just now and I noticed that you have a Skoda on the driveway. Can I come and have a look?”
Nothing unusual about that, you might think. Indeed, similar requests are fairly common when there is something exotic parked outside, but a Skoda? Here, in a simple phone call, is evidence of how very far Skoda has come, this side of the millennium. Just over a decade or so ago, it would have been unimaginable for any friends or neighbours to request a closer look at the car from the Czech Republic, except perhaps to giggle over the latest silly send-up amongst the many that once blighted the brand. Now, though, Skodas are cars that people want to scrutinise, quiz you about, ask in all seriousness regarding the driving experience, the price, and the standard kit that comes with it.
Skoda is on an all-time high. It is selling more cars than ever before, and UK sales in the first three months of this year topped 20,000, up by a third over the same period of the previous year. It makes Skoda the 12th biggest car brand in the UK. The sales performance of the Yeti is the cherry on the cake. Rare is the car that almost no-one who has driven it has anything but praise for, but the Yeti has that distinction, and such universal approval drives the pace of sales. So excuse me for being a bit smug about custodianship of our long-term Yeti. I enjoy its no-nonsense practicality, mannerly behaviour and immense roominess. It is one of the most all-round versatile family cars on the road: good to drive, very spacious, elevated enough for a good view out without feeling unduly lofty, and compact enough to fit into sensibly sized parking spaces.
Wisely, Skoda didn’t mess too much with a very successful formula when they revised the Yeti into this new model. It has kept the same silhouette with only detail revisions, including the freshened nose treatment and the newly characteristic Skoda diagonal creases on the tailgate. If I’m being very fussy, there are a few little glitches that irk me, such as the seatbelt mounting in the rear ceiling that is reminiscent of a minivan arrangement, and the rather spindly pieces of string that support the rear parcel shelf and look as though they won’t be strong enough to be durable – although being a Volkswagen Group design, they’re probably tough as old boots.
I’m looking forward to a busy summer during which anything we want to ferry – plants from the garden centre, supplies from the DIY store, must-haves from Ikea, crates of saleable materials for a fund-raising stall at the Beaulieu Autojumble – will all be easily transportable in a car that just seems to swallow whatever you want to chuck into it and still has room to spare.
But lots of short journeys this month have meant that the fuel consumption is falling short of the combined figure, but with some longer trips coming up, that is something I aim to address. Can the mpg be nudged closer to the official 60-plus level? I’ll let you know next month.
Thereís a pair of rather handy and strong hooks either side of the boot, onto which you can hang shopping bags to keep them from tipping over on the way home from a supermarket haul.
The upper mounting for the centre rear seatbelt is set into the roof above the rear parcel shelf, meaning you have to lean back awkwardly to reach it.
|Date arrived:||7th April 2014|
|Mileage to date:||1,804 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||61.4mpg (official combined)
53.7mpg (on test)