Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Yeti Spotting with Skoda

We were invited by Skoda to go and test drive one of their new cars, a Yeti no less, with the added benefit of taking this brand new car around Woburn Safari Park as way of examination.

The date fitted a free day, and I also managed to borrow my best mate’s wife and kids to make a proper car full, giving the car a better going over, and also enjoying the company of friends for the duration.

The day was expertly organised. Of all the PR related stuff I have actually said yes to, this was the most professionally handled, even better than the Butlins’ Ocean Hotel launch by my judgement.

On arrival, and without fuss we were directed to where the Yetis, and the Yeti were stationed, were warmly greeted and quickly offered a choice of diesel or petrol car.

As I drive a diesel, I thought it would be better to give an equivalent engine the run-around.

Car seats and the kids were swiftly transferred, which was much appreciated on a very blustery day, and we were soon on our way – after the mandatory embarrassing stall in front of everyone of course.

Predictably the model at our disposal was the top-of-the-range version – 2.0 TDI CR Elegance - with a few optional extras. The car had a really nice feel to it. The advantage of a raised driving position, but without the feel of driving a van or MPV.

It actually felt very similar to a Golf GTI I used to have, rather than the feelings I had driving my previous RAV4 or Mitsubishi L200 Warrior. Not a surprise I suppose with the whole Volkswagen/Skoda tie-in.

My friend was also impressed, more so that she thought she would be, apparently. Their family cars number a new Audi (also within the same stable) and Renault Megané, so they are folks that value their wheels.

We had a great day at Woburn; the Safari Park is excellent, very open with what looks like great freedom for the animals.

They were also spoiling their pack of lions with a deer, they had allegedly discovered dead on the roads around Woburn. A bypass was even offered for those unwilling to watch lions tear in to the once meaty carcass of a deer, which of course, we did not take.

It was difficult to give the car a real going over, being limited to driving slowly around the park, but it does seem like a great vehicle, and I will be taking one for a week long test drive at some point to further test that theory.

I hope to get one equipped with ‘Park Assist’. A system devised to help women the discerning driver with parallel parking, in that, it virtually does it for you. All you control is the speed.

This video demonstrates it better

I was amazed to see this is ‘only’ a £450 option, and also astounded to learn that this is in comparison to the £1,400 charged for Satellite Navigation. I cannot get my head around why Sat Nav seems to be such an expensive option, especially when you can pick up a very high spec mobile version for a couple of hundred pounds.

The car has been devised to fit the emerging Crossover market, not really fitting in any of the current motor sectors. Skoda hope to gain customers from several different markets; MPVs, SUVs and Hatchbacks. As well as compete with other new Crossovers, with core competition considered to be the Nissan Qashai.

It is a 4x4 that has an off road setting, for genuine users of this much maligned double axel power. Personally I would not need it, but, like previously, if I was towing from beaches it would be a great option, giving it an advantage against a lot of the competition.

A combined mpg of 46.3 seems keen, and would be even keener on the non 4x4 model, a factor that played a major part in my own last car purchase.

The day was further enjoyed by meeting Tim, of Bringing Up Charlie, in person for the first time. I hope to do so again soon.

I look forward to giving a Yeti a closer inspection in due course, and of course I will wax lyrical on my experience.

In the meantime you can find some photographs from our day on Facebook, where you can also join the Yeti Spotting group, and while you are there, why not add yourself to the Single Parent Dad page?