Motorcheck Used Car Guide: Skoda Yeti

Years built: 2009 to today
Bodystyles: Five-door crossover

What is it?

Skoda Yeti 4 white side viewWith the big new Kodiaq seven-seat SUV already here, and the new Karoq imminent, it seems like a good time to check out Skoda’s first-ever SUV, the characterful and slightly quirky Yeti. Launched in 2009, it was based on a mish-mash of donated Volkswagen parts, with some of the chassis coming from the Polo and some of it from the Golf. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but actually the Yeti quickly became a firm favourite for those in the know, even if it never hit the sales heights of rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai.

Which one should I buy?

Skoda Yeti 2 interior dark right hand drive versionInitially, the Yeti launched with only 2.0-litre diesel engines and a 1.4 turbo petrol, but the 1.6 TDI diesel and 1.2 TSI petrol soon joined the range, and these are the two best versions to go for. The 1.2 TSI in particular, given the current anti-diesel headlines, is a terrific buy if you can track one down, with reasonable Co2 emissions and surprisingly good economy for a small petrol engine in an upright car like the Yeti.
That uprightness means you get plenty of cabin space, but beware of the boots in four-wheel-drive models, as the extra differential between the rear wheels eats into cargo space. 4x4 versions are desirable though, not only for their foul-weather abilities, but also for being far more capable at serious off-roading than you’d expect from a family-oriented car.
Space is one of the Yeti’s strongest suits, and while you need a front-wheel drive car to maximise boot volume, there’s good room in the rear seats. Actually, those seats are three individual units (sadly not quite wide enough to get three child car seats into) which not only slide and fold, but which can be removed altogether, making the Yeti amazingly practical.
Pre-2013 cars had the arguably more distinctive square-and-round headlight combo, post-2013 facelift cars had a simpler, some say less interesting, styling job at the front, but gained a useful boost in cabin quality at the time. The DSG automatic gearbox option is available on all models, but even if you go for the 1.6 TDI Greenline version, you’re looking at surprisingly high Co2 figures.
Skoda Yeti 3 Boot images with seats foldedMake sure you get a high-spec model too, as Skoda’s traditionally good-value offering means you can often get leather seats and a touchscreen for less than you expect.
How much should I spend? Circa €15,000 will get you a 2013-2014 Yeti.
Here’s one we found:
2013 Skoda Yeti 1.6 TDI Greenline, 122,000km, two owners, €14,4956 from a main franchised Skoda dealer.

What goes wrong?

Skoda Yeti 5 green forest driveSomewhat surprisingly for a recent design, the Yeti can develop issues with rust, especially around the rear numberplate. The paint on top of the rear bumper also suffers from people using it as shelf when loading and unloading heavy items. Engines are robust, but any excessive vibration through the pedals or the gear shift on a diesel version could mean trouble with the dual-mass flywheel, and obviously there are still some TDI diesel models that have yet to be recalled by Skoda and Volkswagen to have their engines adjusted in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal. DPF diesel exhaust filters also get clogged up if the car hasn’t been doing enough miles.
Check the boot for signs of water getting in if the car has an optional sunroof fitted, and if you feel a jolt from the suspension under braking, then that means the anti-roll bar links need replacing. Make sure that, if the car has either the DSG automatic gearbox, and/or the four-wheel drive system that both the gearbox and the rear differential have been properly serviced, preferably by a Skoda dealer. Beware of a DSG ‘box that shifts poorly or slowly.

Anything else?

Make sure you check carefully underneath any Yeti 4x4 to see if a previous owner has been taking the promise of off-roading prowess a little too literally. If you want a sporty Yeti, you’re kind of out of luck as there was never a performance option, but there was a Monte Carlo edition with special colour schemes and a contrast-coloured roof, which at least looked sporty.
And when you’ve found your perfect Skoda Yeti don’t forget to get it history checked by