Skoda Yeti (2013-2017)

By Jonathan Crouch

Models Covered

5dr Crossover – standard & Outdoor (1.2, 1.8 petrol, 1.6, 2.0 diesel [S, SE, Elegance, GreenLine, Monte Carlo])


Having introduced its ground-breaking Yeti compact SUV in 2009, Skoda substantially improved it in 2013, creating the version we’re going to look at here, which sold until 2017. This updated Yeti was smarter and more capable than before and also came with an off road-orientated Outdoor body style that you’ll have to have if you want a version fitted with the brand’s 4x4 system. Here was a smoother, more sophisticated Yeti. You can see why so many people like it.

The History

The Yeti, as you’ll probably know if you’re in the market for one, is one of those SUV-style family hatchbacks on growth hormones the industry refers to as ‘Crossovers’. Back in 2013, they came in two sizes, with the smaller ones derived from superminis and the bigger Qashqai-class models based on Focus-sized family hatchbacks. The Yeti hails from the larger species but was priced and sized to be able to tempt buyers shopping in either category, which probably accounts for the phenomenal success of the original version we first saw in 2009. Well over a quarter of a million Yetis were pounding global roads by the time this updated first generation model was launched in 2013.

This improved version though, had a much tougher sales task on its hands than its predecessor. By 2013, almost every mainstream maker offered or was developing a compact SUV and the result was a tightly-fought sector. Skoda’s response was a Yeti with smarter looks, extra equipment, a more efficient optional 4x4 drivetrain and the division of the range into either standard or more SUV-orientated ‘Outdoor’ models. The Yeti sold until 2017, after which it was replaced by the slightly larger Karoq model in 2018 and the slightly smaller Kamiq model in 2019.

What You Get

Satisfied customers have always liked this Yeti’s purposefully under-stated approach to Crossover aesthetics. You’d recognise a degree of low-key SUV-ness here – but not too much, the exact extent of visual ruggedness these days governed by the species of Yeti you decide upon; in this revised first generation model line-up, there were two. Those approaching Crossover ownership in an expeditionary frame of mind will prefer a variant from the Yeti Outdoor range, this car primarily differentiated from the standard model by ‘skid plate’-style aluminium trim panels at the front and rear, black plastic side rubbing strips and front and rear bumpers optimised for the sharper approach and departure angles that characterise off road use.

The design as a whole didn’t change very much with the 2013 model year update, Chief Designer Josef Kaban contenting himself with a subtle front end re-style that embossed the famous winged arrow badge into the leading edge of the bonnet. A little disappointingly, the previously distinctive prominent round front foglights were replaced by smaller more conventional rectangular units moved down to the usual position either side of the lower air intake.

Up front, the driving position is raised to afford a better view out through the broad windows and tall windscreen, though not so much as to make ownership transition into this car from an ordinary family hatch a daunting prospect. Everything falls to hand easily, though for taller folk, the gearstick might be a little easier to reach if it was mounted a bit higher. In the rear seat, the Varioflex sliding rear bench made it possible to prioritise legroom or luggage space. With the bench in its usual rearward place, there’s 416-litres of cargo room on offer, a capacity that sits roughly mid-way between the kind of space you’d get in a class tiddler like a Ford EcoSport or a Renault Captur and something bigger and family hatch-based like a Peugeot 3008 or a Kia Sportage.

What To Look For

Most Yeti owners we came across were very happy but inevitably, there were a few issues you should look out for. All engines can suffer from high oil consumption, so some examples may have been driven without enough oil in the engine, leading to issues. Check the dip stick and ignore the car if the reading is low. We came across a few paintwork issues. And we came across reports of turbocharger failing – possibly because of infrequent servicing or the wrong specification of engine oil being used. Fuel leaks can affect Yetis with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that were built between 1 January 2009 and 15 December 2011; the high-pressure fuel line can crack over time and leak fuel into the engine area. The fix, carried out as a recall, was to fit anti-vibration balance weights to the pipes. Another recall related to Yeti models equipped with side airbags; metal fragments from the gas generator could enter the interior and cause injury in the event of a collision where the airbag deployed. This affected models produced between 15 January 2015 and 28 January 2015. Finally, parts from the seat belt pre-tensioner can be dislodged in a collision and cause injury to occupants on some models manufactured between 1 May 2016 and 31 October 2016.

On The Road

If you’re familiar with original Skoda Yeti models – or indeed any kind of modern Crossover-class car – then you’ll find few surprises at the wheel of this one. Which means that there’s the usual slightly elevated SUV-style driving position with excellent all-round visibility but at the same time, a vehicle that will handle like any conventional Golf-sized family hatch, quick to change direction, with surprisingly little body roll for something this tall.

As for engines, well a little frustratingly perhaps, the standout units were the ones that couldn’t from new be ordered with the 4x4 system a surprisingly large proportion of Yeti buyers want. The powerplants in question both develop 105PS - a 1.2-litre TSI petrol and a 1.6-litre TDI diesel. The 2.0 TDI diesel could be had in 4x4 form – and was available with 110, 140 or 170PS and the option of DSG auto transmission, a ‘box fitted to the 1.8 TSI petrol variant.


All the things that made the original Yeti so appealing remained with this revised post-2013-era model. It's spacious, safe, drives well, has a cool but understated image and is affordable to run. This improved version added a little equipment, tidied its interior and looked smarter but otherwise stuck to a tried and tested recipe. In truth, not a lot needed changing. As before, what was served up by the Yeti was a class act in a market full of try-hard rivals.

Whichever form of Yeti motoring you prefer – standard or ‘Outdoor’ - you’ll get yourself a car that strikes an appealing chord between practicality, quality and fashion. It’s a car that transcends lifestyle snobbery. A family car that doesn’t shout ‘family’. And a Crossover you could be genuinely pleased to own.