03 March 2009

Geneva show: Skoda Yeti

Genre-busting Czech SUV attracts men in white fluffy suits. Not quite sure why…

Skoda Yeti

Everything's all gone a bit EuroDisney over at the Skoda stand in Geneva. There's a man wandering round in a massive fluffy white bear-type costume, pursued by a couple of bronzed lovelies clad in somewhat scantier versions of the same material. Strange.

It's all to promote the new Yeti (ah, so that's what he's meant to be) - Skoda's new crossover-type thing that promises to fill a gap in the SUV market that no one knew existed.

In appearance and size, the Yeti sits halfway between a Kia Soul and Nissan Qashqai, and boasts a shiny, chromed front end that Skoda describes as ‘impressive'. Looking at those inboard foglights, we were thinking ‘cross-eyed'.

Gaping square wheel arches and de rigeur plastic bumpers complete the Yeti's soft-roader visuals, but unlike many of the jacked-up brigade, the Yeti does at least get four-wheel drive.

At least, it does if you opt for one of the bigger engines: the base-spec 103bhp petrol and 109bhp diesel engines are front-wheel-drive affairs. All-wheel-drive engine choices include a 1.8-litre, 158bhp turbo petrol engine and a pair of two-litre turbodiesels in 138bhp and 168bhp flavour.

So what do you reckon? Will the Yeti be a surprise SUV hit like the Qashqai, or a what-the-hell-do-we-do-with-this one confusion like, say, the Seat Altea XL?

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