A LOOMING 10 hour car journey is enough to cause even owners of the most luxurious cars to start planning service station stops. Oddly, Sam and I weren’t.
Ok, so we weren’t towing the whole way given that Freedom Caravans Ltd is part way between Loch Lomond and Dorset. But, there was still a good 300 miles of towing to do, followed by 200 miles of, well, sitting.
First class comfort
My brother Sam does his fair share of driving as a car salesman, and we regularly lament the fact that we haven’t yet found a car that doesn’t cause crippling lower back pain on long journeys. No matter the manufacturer, no matter the model. Yet, we were amazed that we reached Loch Lomond on the journey up completely pain-free. A movable lumbar support was one of the main reasons for this.
(The following two pictures are of a different, left hand drive Yeti)
But being comfortable is just one of the Yeti’s tricks. Remove the parcel shelf and the boot provides 416-litres of luggage room. Fold the rear seats down and flip them forward again as we did, and you instantly have 1580-litres. Take those rear seats out completely and 1760-litres becomes available. As a result, we easily fitted all our outdoor gear, caravanning kit and clothing into the back at a safe level.
Jack of all trades
Our Yeti 4X4 2.0-litre 140bhp diesel was capable of towing 2000kg. But with its kerbweight of 1530kg, an 85% match figure of 1300kg leaves the Yeti in a good poisition in terms of suitable caravans on the market. Our Freedom’s tiny 750kg MTPLM, as you’d expect, was an extremely simple tow, and the VW-group engine managed 30mpg. The 60-litre tank cost us between £67 and £75 to fill up depending on the area.
It’s not uncommon for press fleet cars to arrive with the highest specifications, and sure enough, our Yeti arrived sporting Elegance trim. This gave us things such as leather seats, 6-CD player and a better stereo system as standard. The air-conditioned glove box was probably a bit far.
But amongst all the bells and whistles was a surprise. At £1510 Skoda’s touchscreen DVD satellite navigation system is expensive and the box next to it on the options list is one you don’t want to tick accidentally. On the other hand, unlike the same system we had in our long term Volkswagen Tiguan, updated software now means you can enter full postcodes. Our Tiguan’s older software only allowed you to enter the first half of a postcode, meaning you always got near to where you wanted to go…but never really where you actually wanted to go. That said, both systems are incredibly easy to use and connect your phone to. Thankfully, turning off the voice guidance is simple, too.
On the other hand, you could save yourself £1100 and buy a decent stand-alone unit with preloaded caravan dimensions software.
Keep it diesel
In Elegance trim, a 4X4 Yeti like ours starts at £22,840, but choose the cheaper SE trim and the starting price falls to £20,805. Skoda also offer a 2.0-litre 110bhp non-4X4 diesel at £18,250, which I’d have no hesitation in recommending for towing a van like our Freedom Jetsream Twin Sport. Anything bigger, though, and either the 140bhp or 170bhp diesel variants are the ones to go for.