Mon­ster mashup

Prov­ing it’s no myth­i­cal beast, the Yeti punches above its weight in a gru­elling off-road test

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

the Korean SUVS, the Subaru Forester and a cou­ple of oth­ers.

Against the Tiguan, the Yeti has more fea­tures but buy­ers may pre­fer to pay the small premium for a Vw­badge and the Tiguan’s more con­ven­tional style.

But there’s no doubt­ing that the 2WD model, for its price, has a hell of a lot of ap­peal and is likely to claw some sales away from con­ven­tional hatch­backs and sedans.

A 1.8-litre turbo-petrol joins the range early next year.

DE­SIGN

The tough wagon is built on the big­ger Oc­tavia’s plat­form and shares its wheel­base.

Face to face, the Yeti is 200mm shorter than the Tiguan, sits on a 26mm shorter wheel­base— yet it has a big­ger load ca­pac­ity and comes in up to 250kg lighter.

The guy who penned the awk­ward Room­ster— back on the mar­ket early next year— ob­vi­ously had some in­put into the Yeti’s styling but was clearly told to tone it down.

The Yeti is dis­tinc­tive, a good thing among the mass of cookie-cut­ter com­pact SUVS, but func­tional. The seat­ing is ex­cel­lent and the abil­ity to re­ar­range the cabin so quickly and eas­ily makes it very flex­i­ble for dif­fer­ent mo­tor­ing tasks.

The dash­board is heav­ily in­flu­enced byvw’s Golf and Polo, which is a good thing.

The op­tions in­clude a dif­fer­ent colour paint for the roof at $390.

TECH­NOL­OGY

Also fromvwis the 77kw 1.2-litre turbo-petrol en­gine in the 2WD.

The 103kw/320nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is used in a host of Audis and VWS and has a strong rep­u­ta­tion for dura­bil­ity.

The DSG au­to­mated man­ual is a $2300 op­tion, with the 2WD get­ting a seven-speed unit and the4wd a six-speed ver­sion.

The Haldex driv­e­train sys­tem on theawdis a fourth-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion. This is gen­uinely a top-notch de­vice that quickly moves torque to the re­quired wheel. How­ever, the Yeti is a sim­ple car with

no rad­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing and this should be easy— and hope­fully in­ex­pen­sive— to ser­vice and re­pair.

SAFETY

A five-star crash rat­ing is earned by seven airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, brake as­sist and hill-start as­sist. Theawd­gets a $290 op­tional off-road pack­age with spe­cially tuned ABS brakes and ESC for dirt roads, plus hill de­scent and a re­fined hill-holder sys­tem.

DRIV­ING

Skoda launched the Yeti range Awd­ver­sion with a brisk bi­tu­men run fol­lowed by a dif­fi­cult 30km drive along the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s mostly dry Finke River.

This is a mix of river­stones and very soft white sand —and no place for anawd­with no low-range gear­ing, low-pro­file road tyres and a measly 180mm of ground clear­ance. A few be­came bogged be­cause of a

Beastly: The Yeti is more ca­pa­ble than it looks and sur­prises at ev­ery turn

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