The concept of a hip Skoda took a while to gain traction with the general public. Yes, cars like the Octavia vRS had a certain inverse snobbery about them, but it wasn't until the launch of the Yeti that Skoda had a car on its books that would generate a new sort of customer into their showrooms. The Yeti was cool because there was nothing quite like it, not only in the Volkswagen Group portfolio, but amongst anything similarly priced. It also possessed another essential prerequisite, namely that it didn't appear to be trying too hard.
Of course, its profile was boosted hugely by Jeremy Clarkson's proclamation that it was the greatest thing....in the world on Top Gear and while it was then no longer a car merely for the clued-in customer, it was good to see Skoda getting some recognition at last for years spent at the coalface. Buying a used Yeti isn't too difficult. There's plenty of stock out there and the cars tend to be both tough and well looked-after which is a winning combo. Here are the key points.
The Skoda Yeti was first unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. It looked suspiciously production ready insofar as it didn't have gull wing doors and handlebars instead of a steering wheel, which suggested that Skoda was serious about this one. It needed to be too. The crossover market was blowing up, thanks to massive sales of cars like the Nissan Qashqai. Buyers, it seemed, couldn't get enough of 4x4 styling with civilised road manners and economical engines: Skoda wanted in.
There was something different about the Yeti though. It's squared-off styling set it apart from cars like the Qashqai. Yes, there were the usual 'lifestyle' proclamations, but a quick look inside the car was all you needed to realise that the engineers had triumphed over the marketeers. Here was car that was refreshingly functional and that gave it a coolness that would forever elude try-harders like the Nissan Juke.
The Yeti was launched in the UK in September 2009 and quickly picked up a raft of awards. Buyers got to choose from 1.2 or 1.8-litre petrol engines or a 2.0-litre diesel available in three different power outputs, 110, 140 and 170PS. All the diesels and the 1.8 petrol were offered with four-wheel drive, while the 1.2 and the 110PS diesel were also sold in front-wheel drive form.
The range was quickly bolstered with the addition of a 1.4-litre TSI engine and an economical 1.6 TDI GreenLine diesel. In May 2011, Skoda announced the Yeti SE Plus trim level which got the following features over the SE: Kristal upholstery, Amundsen touch-screen satellite navigation system, a CD autochanger, Bluetooth telephone connectivity, a multi-function steering wheel, electric driver and passenger seats, plus rear passenger folding tables on back of front seats. At the start of 2013, Skoda added a flagship model to the line. The Yeti Laurin & Klement was available only as a four-wheel-drive model and came with a choice of three engines: the 1.8-litre TSI 160PS, 2.0-litre TDI CR 140PS DSG and 2.0-litre TDI CR 170PS. The 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show saw the unveiling of a refreshed Skoda Yeti model.