Wednesday, 13 June 2012

First drive: Skoda Yeti 4x2

The Yeti 4x2 is Skoda's solution to skimpy sales figures. It's a popular solution, knock off some unnecessary extravagances and slice off a considerable chunk of the price. The difficult bit however is to lose as little of that premium feel as possible; and Skoda have done a good job in that respect.
Skoda has dumped the Yeti's Haldex 4x4 setup and the front wheels alone handle propulsion responsibilities. The 140PS 320Nm 2.0TDi engine has also been detuned to produce 110PS of power at 4200rpm and 250Nm of torque between 1500 and 2500rpm.
First drive: Skoda Yeti 4x2
What's interesting is that Skoda has managed to shave 98kgs off the kerb weight for a total of 1445kg. The power to weight ratio too has dropped to 76.12PS per ton from 90.73 but the Yeti 4x2 still feels very familiar. There's strong acceleration in every gear, plenty of low down torque and the same delightfully crisp gearbox.
Torque steer is well restrained with only a slight tug at the wheel under hard acceleration. The 4x2 still handles well for an SUV despite understeering a tad more, but only at the very limit. For all intents and purposes the front wheel drive setup is indiscernible when driving under normal conditions. However, the car does feel even stiffer than its heavier sibling, most probably down to the reduced kerb weight that offers lower resistance to the suspension.
The interiors are the same plush affair although the 4x2 does without a touch screen audio system. You still get Hill Hold, ESP and those trick folding rear seats. The 4x2 Yeti is available in two variants the Active and Ambition. Priced at Rs 13,20,970 and Rs 14,05,379 respectively (ex Mumbai), the Yeti is now serious competition to the Aria and XUV500 and could very well upset Mahindra's new found apple cart.

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