Skoda Yeti Outdoor, motoring review: I'd have preferred this reheated car a little underdone

 

PRICE: From £16,715 (£25,265 as tested)
ENGINE: Capacity 2-litre turbo dieselx
POWER OUTPUT: 138 @ 1,750 – 2.500
TOP SPEED (MPH): 118
FUEL ECONOMY (MPG): 50.4
CO2 EMISSIONS (G/KM): 149

Periodically, car firms like to "refresh" existing models. They'll usually make some cosmetic tweaks, perhaps offer a new engine and will almost certainly roll out a massive advertising campaign to boost flagging sales.

Normally by this point in a model's life, the big development costs are a distant memory and the production-line investment is long paid off, meaning these so-called refreshments (I prefer the term reheated, as in a microwave meal) offer healthy profits for far less work than actually designing a new car.

Reheating the Skoda Yeti is a slightly trickier affair, though; firstly because the old model was generally admitted as being one of the best small MPVs on the market and secondly because it gained such a loyal fan base of frankly evangelical owners. Yeti drivers tend to be the sort of people that give their cars pet names, discuss their membership of the Institute of Advanced Motorists over dinner and rave about their Yeti's massive load space, which comes, they'll no doubt add, at a very reasonable price.

There's nothing wrong with any of that and the Yeti is a lot of car for less than £17k, but I am somewhat shocked to discover that my test Yeti comes with a punchy engine, a leather interior, heated seats and a host of other clever gadgets. It's all a little racy for a Skoda and sends the price tag soaring to £25,265.

Regardless of its vast 416 litre boot and massive amount of head room, that's still £10k more than the previous generation's bargain-basement entry-level model. The reason, it seems, is that Skoda has split the Yeti range in two between the "Outdoor" model, a middle-range off-roader, and a cheaper "City" model.

My test model is an Outdoor Yeti so comes with Sat Nav, Bluetooth, a sports car-friendly dual-clutch gearbox and a four-wheel-drive system. This, then, is a far more luxurious and capable car than the Yeti of old. True, the Haldex four-wheel drive system won't get you across the Sahara or the Russian Steppes, but it will perform more than adequately on a muddy British field after a thundery deluge. Perhaps it should be seen as a cut-price rival to Land Rover rather than an over-priced Skoda.

It does have shorter bumpers and protective steel plates underneath, features that, as our roads deteriorate, will be useful for dealing with potholes and Everest-like kerbs. And that's something a car bore like me could brag about over pudding.

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