Toyota RAV4 2014 Review
When the Toyota RAV4 arrived in Australia 20 years ago it was a funky little two-door 4WD for the young and young at heart.
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Skoda has reduced the prices of its Yeti SUV by as much as $4400 and at the same time has added important extra features, particularly on the safety front. The prices have been cut in an unashamed move to entice more Australians to sample the Czech vehicle that's still struggling to make a name for itself on the local market.
Price drops are obviously good news, the not such good news is that this is the old model Yeti, and despite the upgraded looks it's starting to lag in the driving and comfort stakes.
Skoda Yeti is still a good vehicle, it's just that other cars in the Volkswagen Group, including the recently introduced Skoda Octavia, sit on the brilliant new 'MQB' platform. This platform adds a level of sophistication in sound reduction and solidness that previously had seemed all but impossible in vehicles of this size. Obviously the next generation Yeti will use it, presumably in about 18 months to two years.
In the meantime you can pick up a new Skoda Yeti for between $23,490 and $33,590, plus on-road charges. That's a lot of European vehicle for a pretty modest price.
Skoda Yeti comes in two slightly different shapes, those with two-wheel drive have a relatively modest look, while the four-wheel-drive variants, tagged Yeti Outdoor for obvious reasons, get a bolder look, with a more aggressive lower-grille area, side rubbing strips and grey lower body protection. Inside, Yeti has revised styling and a new steering wheel with multiple controls.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Turbo-petrol engines are offered in the 2WD Yeti, both familiar to us from several Volkswagen models. The smaller unit has a capacity of 1.2 litres and puts out 77 kilowatts of power, and 175 Newton metres of torque all the way from 1550 to 4100 revs. Most people will therefore have the engine in its most efficient rev band virtually all of the time. The other petrol is a 1.4-litre, with90 kW, and 200Nm from 1550 to 4000 rpm.
A turbo-diesel is the only engine offered in the Yeti Outdoor 4X4. With a capacity of 2.0 litres it manages a huge 350 Nm from 1750 to 2500 revs. Its peak power is only 103 kW, but diesels are all about torque not power.
The 1.2-litre can be specified with a six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch DSG. The 1.4 only sits beside the DSG, there's no manual option. As mentioned, the Outdoor comes only with the diesel, it drives all four wheels through the latest generation of Haldex systems and the six-speed DSG. With the grunt this engine produces there's certainly no need for the seven-speed DSG.
Skoda Yeti breezed through five-star testing in European NCAP crashes. It uses seven airbags to protect occupants in the strong body. Adding to the accident avoidance suite on this updated model is a reversing camera and sensors on every variant.
Interior space is exceptional for a vehicle that's only 4.2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide. There's good luggage space and all models have our favourite seat material - fabric. While not carrying the upmarket image of leather, fabric really does make so much more sense than leather in cars.
Skoda's very clever Vario-Flex seating system continues. It can be set up in 22 different ways, everything from a conventional five-seater, through a spacious four-seater to a van-like interior with nothing but a driver's seat inside. We love the versatility.
We were able to drive each engine and transmission variant, albeit for relatively short periods in each Yeti. The price leading, $23,490 plus on-roads, Yeti Active 77 with the manual gearbox was our favourite. It has enough performance for all but the revheads, the gearbox is slick and has well selected ratios and the lighter weight of the car gives it a nimble feel.
Not that there's anything wrong with the 1.4 turbo-petrol with its extra power, and the turbo-diesel with its never-ending grunt, it's just that the sweet little four-cylinder is a delight to sit behind.
As mentioned, the 'new' Skoda Yeti is the latest, probably final, iteration of this compact SUV and is showing its age in some ways. In particular, it's neither as quiet nor as smooth as some of its very recent competitors when exposed to Australian backroads that have seen better days. Having said that, we can't wait to sample the next generation with the all-new MQB platform.
One day soon most Australian buyers will wake up to just how good Skoda vehicles are. In the meantime those who have sussed out what these European vehicles are all about can enjoy pricing way below the level the Yeti should be selling for.
|103 TDI (4X4)||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP||$12,500 – 18,040||2014 Skoda Yeti 2014 103 TDI (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|112 TSI (4X4)||1.8L, PULP, 6 SP||$11,400 – 16,720||2014 Skoda Yeti 2014 112 TSI (4X4) Pricing and Specs|
|77 TSI (4X2)||1.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$9,000 – 13,530||2014 Skoda Yeti 2014 77 TSI (4X2) Pricing and Specs|
|Active 77 TSI (4x2)||1.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$9,800 – 14,740||2014 Skoda Yeti 2014 Active 77 TSI (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
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