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New Yeti spells double trouble for competitors 

YETI has been such a success for Skoda they’ve decided to offer TWO new facelifted models.

Buyers now get the chance to opt for an elegant-looking compact SUV or a more rugged 4×4 version – a Yeti or a Yeti Outdoor.

Your choice is a Yeti with smooth lines and body-coloured bumpers, sills and side strips or a Yeti Outdoor that looks more capable of going off-road with its black body mouldings.

Exterior changes on both models include new front grille and logo plus redesign of front headlights.

The interior revamp includes new seat fabrics and a new three-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel.

The rear also features the highly flexible three seats that can be individually folded down or removed completely while the outer two seats can slide lengthways or crossways with the centre seat removed.

You won’t be short of storage space either as the boot remains one of the biggest and most flexible in the sector – offering 510 litres and a massive 1,760 litres with the seats removed.

I doubt it if many owners will take 4×4 models on any rougher route than a single track country road but those who want to venture further off the beaten track won’t be let down.

I sampled some of the new models shortly before they went on sale in the UK – on all sorts of roads as well as an extremely testing off-road route.

With the amount of rain that’s fallen in England during recent weeks, and months, going off the tarmac was always going bring gruelling conditions for the Yeti Outdoor.

I was in a top-of-the-range Laurin & Klement model as I ploughed through a muddy and hilly course in Gloucestershire.

This Outdoor version features a new fifth-generation Haldex clutch all-wheel-drive system which, coupled with electronic differential lock, enabled the vehicle to crawl slowly down steep hills and power its way up the slippery rising terrain.

The system – also employing uphill and downhill assist – worked as it promised.

Press the off-road button to select it, put it into first gear, take your foot of the clutch and it sure-footedly clam-bered down the slopes, give it plenty of throttle and it climbed all the way up to the top.

I was driving a 2.0 TDI 170PS model that had plentiful power to cope with anything it came up against.

This model has a luxury interior but the candy white exterior, featuring its black side protective moulding, was a muddy brown colour when I emerged triumphant from this challenge.

The 168bhp diesel engine in this Yeti Outdoor is the most powerful in the range and back on tarmac it can reach 62mph in just 8.4 seconds and has a top speed of 125mph.

CO2 figures are improved in all the engines as is fuel economy, with this one capable of 57mpg extra urban and almost 50mpg combined.

The vast majority of owners will only drive the new arrivals on road – and they won’t be disappointed by the handling or performance either.

There is a choice of six engines – two turbo petrol and four diesel – and four trim levels – S, SE, Elegance and Laurin & Klement – with prices starting at £16,600 and rising to £27,050.

Ride comfort was good in front-wheel and four-wheel drive versions which both benefit from revised chassis and suspen-sions.

The new Yeti models I sampled offered lots of grip on the wet surfaces over a route that included a fair amount of winding roads.

If you want to go for the eco-friendly model there are 1.6 TDI 105PS Greenline II versions which offer CO2 ratings of 119g/km and can achieve a whopping 67mpg extra urban and 61.4mpg combined.

You have to work the five-speed manual gearbox a good bit in this model and I preferred the power in the 1.2 TSI 105PS.

It responded well going up and down the six-speed manual box and handling was excellent for this class of vehicle.

There’s lots of choice in the new two-model Yeti line-up – for on and off-road driving.

The previous Yeti has played a key part in Skoda reaching record sales of 66,081 cars in the UK last year – up 23.3 per cent on the 53,602 in 2012.

Since its arrival in 2009, Yeti has proved popular in the UK with more than 29,000 sold and the new arrivals should spell double trouble for competitors.