I’ve fallen for a monster

Dr WHO has a lot to answer for. The series has left me with a fascination with police boxes and whether there just might be a time traveller in one when I pass. A certain mild infatuation with various of the Doctor’s female “assistants”. Oh, and Yetis.

As a very young boy, I was terrified of the Yeti that appeared in an early Dr Who series, patrolling the London Underground, if my memory serves, scaring the citizens of London. Before the yeti had even appeared, it was hide behind the sofa time.

So it was with a certain trepidation that I agreed to trial the car which bears the name of this terrifying beast, the Skoda Yeti Elegance Greenline II to give the vehicle it’s full name. I need not have worried. This car is not even as scary as an Ood.

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Quite the opposite in fact. It’s really quite welcoming (for a car) and certainly served us very well as we embarked upon an extended road trip from Scotland, via Sunderland, to Oxford, Tewkesbury and back north all in the course of four days.

For this trip we needed space for two adults and three individuals we used to call children, but who are in fact adults themselves. How did that happen? Plus we had a quite a lot of luggage to start with, and a whole lot more on the way home from the city of dreaming spires.

So, how did the Yeti cope? Well, it was certainly tested in a variety of British weather, most notably heavy rain. On the way south it poured, and poured and poured. Despite the torrential downpour we never once felt unsafe. Even in the most treacherous conditions, the brakes were smooth and firm. There was not so much as a slither or a skid.

Furthermore, although I wasn’t quite sure how I did it – not being the most tech-savvy person – the windscreen wipers sensed the rain and got fast or slower accordingly. Saving me a lot of bother.

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So what else of note? Well as the first part of the road trip involved going to see Bruce Springsteen, a good sound system was important to us. This may not be what real car people wax lyrical about, but the Yeti system blasted out The Boss with plenty of bass and crisp clarity. It even did quite well the odd time we tuned into Classic FM.

Another vital ingredient for a road trip is knowing where you are going and how to get there. The Yeti we had was fitted with the Columbus sat-nav system with a very firm woman issuing instructions.

“Turn right, NOW”, she would order, and who was I to disobey? One could imagine her telling the great explorer: “Turn left NOW to discover America.” But the system worked very well, easier to set and control than others I have tried, with good maps, which were easy to read. We managed not to get lost as we made our way to Oxford. Something of a triumph.

Different types of challenges there were for us in the city, and around the Cotswolds, our next port of call. The Yeti seemed just as at home on winding country roads as on motorways. Tight corners could be taken a speed (a safe speed, naturally) with ease.

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Back in the city, when it came to tight parking, the “radar” system that indicated when the Yeti was close to a wall or a car behind when reversing was a boon.

As for other features, well there were quite a few but one which I liked was the stop/start system which shuts down the engine when you have stopped, even at traffic lights. Once you get used to it, it is fine and saves a bit on the diesel.

The second-last and final legs were perhaps the most testing with all five of us, plus a mass of luggage. With a bit of good packing – it’s a man thing – we got it all in. It was tight, but the 
three former children in the back reported they were still fairly comfortable.

So the final journeys proceeded and proceeded well. A lot of motorway driving was accomplished safely 
with no noticeable lagging from the 1.6-litre engine even heading up steeper gradients.

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We did some 832 miles on about a tank and two-thirds, which meant we were close to the advertised 61.4 mpg. So very economical, hence the “Green” bit of the name, though no doubt environmentalists would dispute that branding.

If I were being particularly critical what more would I have liked?

A bit more room in the back for yet more luggage would have helped. And it does not have those slick lines of some of the more designer models in this range.

The dashboard display that told 
you to shift to a higher gear for economical driving seemed to suggest changing gear too soon for the rev levels, but perhaps the car could cope with that?

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But, hey, that is really being picky. The Yeti, which retails a £21,960, including the sat-nav system 
seems pretty good value to me if you want to buy new, and buy something versatile, hardy, comfortable and economical.

As a vehicle, it’s not at all scary in fact. So I won’t be having nightmares. Well, not about a car anyway.