Skoda Yeti Elegance - Performance Review
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Performance Review of Skoda Yeti Elegance
Last Updated at 07:37 pm, August 22, 2012Rating :
Diesel power gives the Yeti some serious go
Skoda chose to go with the 140PS 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine for the Yeti in India, which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. We’d love to see the DSG automatic too being offered as an option. There is just a hint of diesel harshness at idle but once warmed up, it is silent unless you rev it. The exhaust note is pleasing at higher revs. It feels a little sluggish below 1800rpm, but the variable-geometry turbo works really well in the Yeti. The increase in torque is a lovely progression with no spike when the turbo starts huffing away. Then there is a gear shift prompter that encourages the driver to shift up at ideal revs for fuel efficient driving. This efficiency is also contributed to by the six-speed manual gearbox’s tall gear ratios. It’s a delight to operate with its positive and short throws and slick feel. You’ll rarely get to slot the sixth gear in the city, but on the highway it makes for excellent cruising.
The all-wheel-drive system is the same fourth-generation Haldex system present on the Superb V6. This system sends 98 per cent of the engine’s torque to the front wheels during normal usage to conserve fuel. When it detects the front wheels slipping, upto 98 per cent can be sent to the rear axle to compensate. What’s most impressive about the system is that upto 85 per cent can be sent to a single wheel. However, you cannot lock the 4WD on by itself if you wanted to, it is completely electronically controlled. The Yeti has a button that says “off road”, which, when engaged, acts as an all-in-one solution for off-road situations: it controls the throttle map, engages AWD and regulates the car’s downhill speed all in a single go.
The handling is unbelievably good, thanks again to the intelligent all-wheel drive. Throw it around a corner, and the instant the front outside wheel starts losing grip, power is sent to the rear and it retains its composure beautifully. It puts one in mind of the AWD Honda CR-V, which when had a similar system, albeit a much simpler one. This on-road confidence means that you can have a lot of fun with the Yeti on tarmac. Sure, you still feel its weight, but it feels very car-like.
In mild off-road situations, the torque vectoring (that’s big words for ‘electronic distribution of the engine’s power to the wheels that need it the most’) works extremely well to make it sure-footed. We’re not going to bellyache about the lack of a low range or locking differentials because the Yeti was never meant for serious off-road situations. However, we also discovered that the Haldex system works so well, it is quite impossible to get the Yeti to behave badly. Even turning the traction control off doesn’t do much for you, since power to the wheels that spin up is cut and fed to the ones with grip.
If you’ve got visions of surprising people with lurid four-wheel drive drifts in the Yeti, well, we’ve got bad news for you…
The Yeti’s ride is quite good, but ridges tend to catch it out, with their impact getting transferred into the cabin. The quicker you go, the better it gets, as with any other Skoda.
Verdict: The Yeti is a mixed bag. It does a whole lot of things well, but nothing about it stands head and shoulders above the competition except for its practical interior. This is also a disputed point, since it doesn’t have three rows of seats, a requirement for an SUV in India, and neither does it have the sticker price to consolidate that ‘practical’ tag. At Rs 16.9 lakh, ex-showroom Mumbai, it is expensive considering the choice of cars you can buy for that money. On one hand, there are premium cars like the VW Jetta and close cousin Laura and then there are full blown SUVs like the Ford Endeavour, Chevy Captiva and the Toyota Fortuner, if you can stretch the budget by a bit. You might also want to look at the Tata Aria, which comes up as a great value for money alternative. If it weren’t for that price, the Yeti might just be the best car for India with its practicality, AWD, ride and handling, ground clearance and diesel frugality.
- Acceleration: Puts a smile on your face, thanks to the 140PS diesel motor and AWD.
- Handling: Very car-like despite the tall-ish stance. The shuffling of torque to whichever wheel needs it also helps a lot on the loose stuff.
- Braking: Lives up to the German standard with good bite and feel.
- Exterior: Too quirky for our taste. Strange painted B-pillar, round fog/daytime running lamps and upright rear.
- Interior: One of the most practical interiors this side of a Volvo. Well thought-out
- Comfort: Excellent usage of space coupled with good ride that gets caught out sometimes by sharp bumps.
- Space: It’s small enough to be manageable in city traffic, but that also means no third row of seats.
- Dynamics: Good, direct steering, but body roll limits fun
- Technology: Electronically-controlled all-wheel drive, one of the last common-rail systems, an intelligent three-point seat belt for the middle rear passenger; this has got the chops where technology is concerned.
- Price: The Achilles heel of the Fabia, its fully imported status makes it pricey at Rs 17 lakh.
- Fuel economy: A six-speed gearbox and a gearshift indicator that shows you when to shift make up for the AWD and weight. It’s no hatchback, but it’s frugal.
- Heart thumpin' factor: This one appeals to the head, not the heart. If it wasn’t for that price…
- Fun to spank: Good to drive, but a Laura is infinitely more fun around a corner, and the Pajero is still king of the hill.
Layout: Front engine / All-wheel drive
Engine: 2.0-litre, inline 4
Power (SAE): 140PS @ 4000 rpm
Torque: 320Nm @ 1750-2500 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Kerb Weight: 1543kg
0-100 kmph: 8.5 sec.
1/4 mile: 16.7 @ 83 mph
Top Speed: -
Fuel efficiency: -
Base Price: Rs. 16.9 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai
Competitors: Tata Aria, Ford Endeavour, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Captiva
First Published on 04:44 pm, March 05, 2011