Do anything, go anywhere cars continue to make serious inroads into the corporate car park and the new Skoda Yeti Outdoor is planning to sink its claws into this market of user-chooser company drivers.
For the first time, the Yeti has been split into two distinct models: the urban crossover focused Yeti and the decidedly more tough and rugged looking Yeti Outdoor.
And it’s the strong features of the Outdoor that is more likely to tick the sales professional’s box being a better car park statement of intent as an adventurous risk- taker.
For while the face-lifted new models have a more Skoda family look using a range- wide similar front grill and marque branded ‘C’ shape rear lights, the Outdoor is still very much an individual looking motor and will stand out among the more usual occupants of the staff parking lot.
Both models come with the option two- wheel drive so you could elect for the image without the extra cost of running four driven wheels. That said, it would be a shame not to get the little Yeti mucky some weekends because the car copes easily with some serious green-laning.
Much of this off-road ability is thanks to a new Haldex multi-clutch rear axle system to operate the on-demand 4x4 capability. This electro-hydraulic clutch is much smaller, lighter, quicker and efficient that previous systems enhancing both performance and economy.
And boy, does it work! In the middle of the winter storms and downpours, I drove this through a mud-bath once known as the Cotswolds and was impressed by how this little car can scrabble through and over more obstacles the boggy landscape can throw its way. When the going gets really challenging, just stab the off-road terrain buttons and you get hill-start, downhill assist and electric differential lock capabilities to all four wheels. For regular rough land users, there is even an off-road extras package including
thermoplastic protectors for the engine compartment, brake likes and reinforced hydraulic distribution system and handbrake cables.
Despite all this ‘green-welly brigade’ attractions, the Yeti remains a very competent tarmac warrior, largely thanks to its compact dimensions and comparatively low weight, so won’t find much of a downside to its performance on the highways. While enjoying greater ground clearance and a higher drive position, the Outdoor still is able to take high-speed corners with the minimum of body roll.
At launch there are several petrol and variable power engine options for the Outdoor but I suspect the bulk of company users and caravan/horse trailer owners will opt for the 2,100kg towing capability of the 107 brake horsepower 2.0-litre turbo diesel motor, which has plenty of grunt to call on whether hauling itself out of a mud-hole or cruising at motorway speeds while returning a claimed 47.9mpg
The Yeti also boasts top-flight build quality in an user-friendly design still with great touches like the rear boot welly/shopping cage to stop things rattling about in the back.
That boot, by the way, is one of the biggest in its class boasting 416-litres of storage space swelling to a whopping 1,760-litres with the rear Varioflex system seats folded flat. This Varioflex system allows the seats to be moved forwards, backwards, reclined individually, rolled up or completely removed.
Standard equipment on possibly the most popular SE model selection is impressive including 17-inch alloys, fog- lamps, rear parking sensors, six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
So the new Yeti Outdoor makes its mark as a great choice for the modern day adventurers among our sales community.
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Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Top Speed: 108mph