Long Term Test Report: Skoda Yeti Elegance 2.0 TDI CR 4×4
Time to say goodbye after 14 months in the driving seat – the Yeti is leaving us. But first, Sue Baker has been on a motor-fest farewell tour through three countries, and seen a lot of other Yetis on the way.
Yeti and I have been on a farewell adventure. Destination: Belgium, where we spent two days in Flanders fields. After a trip through the Channel Tunnel, a gallop through north-east France took us to the Belgian border, where we were pulled up for close scrutiny by a border official who peered suspiciously around the Yeti’s roomy interior, as if convinced that some illicit contraband must be concealed somewhere in all that space. But we were soon on our way again and a damp Friday evening found me knee-deep in wheat, then Saturday was a mud-treading day in hectares of potatoes, cabbages, corn and cowpats. The reason for this agricultural foray was the Ypres Rally, in which Skoda team cars were prominent, and a few of us were along to lend support.
The entire town square of Ypres, with its picturesque architecture and typically Flemish stepped roofs, was transformed into a bustling service park where mechanics beavered over the rally cars beneath vast team gazebos, watched by an absorbed local population and an assortment of visiting foreigners – us included. All the action is on closed local roads, where the competing cars slide precariously around tricky rural bends, take to the air over humped bridges, and occasionally slide into the deep drainage ditches that pepper the flat Flanders landscape. The still air was rent by the screech of highly-tuned engines revving their way through swift sequences of gear changes. It all takes place just 90 minutes’ drive from Calais, and it’s motorsport at its most entertaining rawness. Well worth a trip. I’ll certainly be back another year.
The rally was a bittersweet affair for Skoda. Its outcome was sweet victory, when Belgian driver Freddy Loix drove his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 up onto the podium to acknowledge winning his home round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). It was his seventh Ypres Rally win, and a decisive one: he and his flying Fabia dominated the two-day event from start to finish. But there was disappointment for Norwegian rally ace Andreas Mikkelsen in the Skoda UK team Fabia, the driver we were there to support. He was put out of contention by a mishap on day one that damaged his car, but after rapid repairs by the team’s sunny-natured crew of Italian mechanics, he had the consolation of setting fastest times on several stages on the second day.
Sunday morning saw an early departure from our Belgian hotel for Yeti and me, and by late morning we’d put a couple of hundred miles on the clock and traversed three countries to reach a riverside pub near Oxford, the rendezvous point for a classic car run I was tasked to follow. The run meandered through the Oxfordshire countryside through places with names straight out of The Wind in The Willows: Tadpole Bridge, Gozzard’s Ford and Rainbow Farm. The old cars on the run evaporated into the leafy lanes like a collection of Mr Toads poop-pooing out of sight, and the rest of the day was spent making the most of the Yeti’s 138bhp on a mission to locate some of them.
A few days later, the Yeti’s boot was loaded with cases once again for another rally foray. This time it was destination Goodwood, where a bonus highlight of the Festival of Speed was the Skoda Forest Rally Stage, carving a thrillingly snakey, dusty course through a dense copse at the top of the Goodwood estate. Yeti was in very good company. There seemed to be Yetis everywhere you looked at Goodwood for the Festival of Speed, constantly ferrying passengers between the main festival area and the.rally stage. There was even a shaggy walking Yeti, entertaining guests in the sponsors’ enclosure. The event was a triumph for Skoda, winning best stand award for its temporary showroom just across the track from Goodwood House.
So after all of this, here we are, Yeti and me, fresh from an adventurous couple of weeks, and now preparing to part after a fantastic time together. We have shared in total over 10,000 very enjoyable miles, during which time the chunky Skoda’s reputation has soared, validated by a growing pile of awards. Yetis are proliferating: over the past two years since production first started, 100,000 Yetis have driven off the production line at Kvasiny in the Czech Republic. The car is now manufactured in India and Russia too, and from 2013 it will be produced in China as well. But our Yeti is off to pastures new. Goodbye, reluctantly, to a very good friend.
Skoda Yeti Elegance 2.0 TDI CR 4×4
|Price when new:||£21,825|
|Price as tested (including options):||£25,240|
|Optional extras:||Acoustic parking sensors, metallic paint, panoramic sunroof, rough road package, satellite navigation, silver roof rails, variable boot floor.|
|Engine:||1968cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel|
|Power output:||138bhp at 4,200rpm|
|Maximum torque:||236lb ft at 1,750 to 2,500rpm|
|Maximum towing weight:||2,000kg|
|Fuel consumption:||47.1mpg (official combined)
39.9mpg (on test)
|CO2 emissions (Taxband):||157g/km (G)|
|Benefit in kind tax liability:||24%|
|Size (Length/width with mirrors):||4,223/1,956mm|
|Boot space (Minimum/maximum):||416/1,760litres|
|EuroNCAP safety rating:||5 stars|
|Date arrived:||6th May 2010|
|Mileage to date:||11,426miles|
|Costs to date:||None|
|Faults to date:||Fractured bonnet strut holder|