Black top and back track

It’s not a pretty face but this SUV can safely go off the bi­tu­men

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH grah.smith@big­pond.com

NEW

It all started with a dream to head off the beaten track and ex­plore this great and vast land of ours but the tough-as-nails wagon we once used for chas­ing our dreams has mor­phed into a much softer town-based fam­ily wagon.

Few would sur­vive the Out­back — they're sim­ply not built for bush bash­ing. One that just might be up to the task is the Skoda Yeti.

The Yeti isnt a full-on four­wheel drive but its AWD ver­sion has a very ca­pa­ble drive sys­tem that shifts the torque around to the wheel that needs it the most and that makes it a use­ful off-roader able to go where most town folks want to go.

Skoda re­leased two vari­ants at the ini­tial launch, the fron­twheel drive 77 TSI petrol ver­sion and the all-wheel drive 103 TDI with a turbo-diesel. A third vari­ant, the all-wheel drive 112 TSi, was added to the range in 2012.

The Yeti was dis­tinc­tive but ap­peal­ing, stand­ing out from the SUV crowd. In­side, the seat­ing could be re­ar­ranged to suit al­most any need you might have. With the flick ot two of a lever it could be trans­formed from a com­fort­able five-seater into a load car­rier of im­pres­sive di­men­sions — or any­thing in be­tween. With such flex­i­bil­ity it could be put to a mul­ti­tude of uses and ap­pealed to a va­ri­ety of users.

Over­all the cabin took its cues from VW in terms of de­sign and ma­te­ri­als used, which was no bad thing.

There was a choice of petrol and diesel power. A 77 kW 1.4litre four-cylin­der turbo opened the bid­ding in the front-wheel drive ver­sion. To get a diesel it was nec­es­sary to step up to the all-wheel drive ver­sion, which then got you driv­ing a 103 kW turbo diesel.

In 2012, for the re­lease of the all-wheel drive 112 TSi, Skoda added a 118 kW tur­bocharged four-cylin­der.

As well as pick­ing petrol or diesel power ,Yeti buy­ers could also choose be­tween man­ual and DSG auto gear­boxes.

On the road the Yeti was quiet, han­dled well and its ride was com­pli­ant and com­fort­able.

NOW

The Yeti was a mem­ber of the ex­tended VW fam­ily and used the same engines and gear­boxes, and suf­fered the same is­sues.

Cars­guide has re­ceived few com­plaints about Sko­das in gen­eral and the Yeti in par­tic­u­lar, and while that’s an en­cour­ag­ing sign that own­ers are gen­er­ally happy, it’s im­por­tant to keep in mind the is­sues that have plagued VWs in re­cent times.

When check­ing a car ask the seller for in­for­ma­tion about oil con­sump­tion, as that can be an is­sue for the petrol en­gine. It’s not un­com­mon for VW petrol engines to con­sume an ex­ces­sive amount of oil right from new. When this oc­curs, deal­ers first carry out a con­sump­tion test to de­ter­mine the amount of oil the car in ques­tion is us­ing.

The other area of po­ten­tial con­cern is the DSG gear­box, which has had is­sues with abrupt shift­ing, vi­bra­tion and other mal­adies that led last year to a re­call of some mod­els equipped with this trans­mis­sion.

Care­fully as­sess the op­er­a­tion of the DSG gear­box dur­ing your test drive by putting it through many dif­fer­ent driv­ing sce­nar­ios but par­tic­u­larly low speed ma­noeu­vres and park­ing.

It’s im­por­tant to check for a ser­vice record, one that in­di­cates the car has been ser­viced by a me­chanic with Skoda or VW ex­pe­ri­ence.

SMITHY SAYS

It has a com­fort­able and flex­i­ble in­te­rior, great diesels, and a com­pe­tent all-wheel drive.

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