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Born to be wild


The SUV, which won The Golden Steering Wheel for the best SUV has joined our long term fleet. And as is becoming the norm rather than the exception, the day it came we headed for a long trip. You see when our colleague Ashish Chavan was tying the knot, we decided the best way to attend the wedding would be to drive down. Now having driven the Yeti all across the European highways last year I was itching to see how the Yeti performed in India. So we packed our bag and headed out.
The Yeti offers plenty of room inside considering it is a compact SUV. Five can actually sit in comfort and if there are four on board, the centre seat folds down turning into a comfortable arm rest. The driving position is also high and visibility is top notch. Something which we loved both in Europe and in India as well. Moreover the boot is a cavernous place. We had considerable luggage and the boot was good enough to gobble it all.
On the Move the Yeti felt agile and the 2-litre engine has enough grunt to pull overtaking manoeuvres even in high gears.  Being an SUV though has not taken away the fact that the Yeti can tackle corners. The route through Rajasthan and Maharashtra offered plenty of ghat sections and it was a joy to put the Yeti through the twisties. It tackles these corners with so much confidence that you sometimes think that you are in some low slung sedan rather than a tall SUV. On the expressways too the Yeti performed with flying colours. Adding to the versatility of the Yeti is its ground clearance. At time when the traffic ahead was erratic, we could easily plonk two wheels on the dirt and overtake trucks.


Skoda Yeti longterm report

Since the time we took charge of the Yeti, the little monster has been spending more time on the highways than in city. This time too we took the Yeti to the hills and boy, did we have fun! The first thing to hit you about the Yeti on the twisties is that in spite of being an SUV, it does not feel like one. In most SUVs the most prominent trait is to show a certain degree of bodyroll. This isn’t so confidence inspiring on the hills and takes away from the fun of driving. The stiff chassis on the Yeti though holds the whole car superbly and taking corners feels easy. The steering also feels just right and is a good combo along with the suspension. You can actually pinpoint this SUV in the direction you want it to go. Adding to the plus points is the fact that the steering is adjustable for both reach and rake and this helps in selecting the driving position which is just right for you.

The other bit I would like to emphasise on is the entertainment package on offer. It’s a fancy touchscreen unit, which welcomes you on board everytime you switch it on. The graphic display is large and is easy to operate. However once moving the lack of touch and feel button means that everytime you need to select something, your eyes have to come off the road. On the positive side though, the steering mounted controls are a boon. The other feature I love about this system is the provision for slotting in an SD memory card to play music. This means no matter if you are going for a long drive or a short stint, music will never be in short supply. The speakers provided too are brilliant with good sound reproduction qualities; the sound you get doesn't get distorted.

On the downside, when you try to make a selection and ask the system to scout through the folders on the SD card, it takes a substantial time. 


Skoda Yeti longterm report: The wild one


With a much awaited long weekend last fortnight, I took the Yeti on yet another trip out of town. The destination was Chail in the hills of Himachal. And though the twisty roads on the climb to the hill station would have been perfect for commenting on the SUV's handling, this time what impressed me were the interiors and how flexibly they can be used.There were four of us and our luggage. But despite the Yeti being a "small" SUV everything fitted in. You see the rear seats can be adjusted in multiple ways. With a 40:20:40 split, we could fold down the centre seat, which then served as an armrest-cum-table. Meanwhile the gap between the seats gave us access to the boot. This in turn, meant fewer stops since people could access things without needing to come to a halt. Not to mention the seats can also be folded or even completely removed, further adding to the versatility of the vehicle. That, the whole exercise can be accomplished without tools is an added bonus. Just yank a couple of levers. And voila! Off come the seats.

There has been some criticism of the fact that the Yeti's boot is only 416 litres. But, as I realised from experience, it's still good enough to gobble up two large suitcases and a couple of handbags too with ease. Additionally, with the seats folded, the Yeti turns into a mini van with 1,665 litres of boot space. Last but not the least, it returned 14kmpl on this 700km trip. Impressive, considering the amount of hill driving we did.


Skoda Yeti longterm report : The cooling effect

The summer sun is scorching the northern part of the country and that is exactly where we are based out of. Just like in any other car, the air conditioning unit on the Yeti has to work overtime to keep us cool. So is it any good?

The Yeti gets a dual zone climate control system. This enables the two front occupants to set temperatures for their side of the car. So while the driver can enjoy a cool 19 degrees, the passenger can go for a less chilling 24 degrees. The large screen on the dash tells you about your selection. Also, at low blower speeds, the air con is barely audible. If the car is parked in the shade, then a fan speed of 2 is sufficient for cooling. However if the car has been busy sun bathing, then it takes a while to cool down. This is also because of the Yeti's large greenhouse.

Meanwhile vents at the back are positioned in the centre for the rear passenger. But the small vents are not good enough to blow cool air directly onto passengers. Moreover having someone in the centre at the back means that the air coming out of the vent is blocked by his knees. Overall though the air con is effective even in the harsh north Indian summer. All it takes is to run the AC on blower speed 3 to cool quickly.

The other thing which is just perfect on the Yeti is its reversing aid. The reverse sensor has a beeper, which is clearly audible. What's more , if you  have the music player blaring, the moment you put it in reverse, the volume automatically lowers. The system also offers visual guidance. Sure it does not get a camera, but the display on screen has blue markers to let you know that it is safe to back up and red markers when you are getting too close for comfort. While you have the option of switching this aid off, we recommend that you don't. For there are sensors in the front bumper also that tell you if you're getting too close to the vehicle in front.



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