The first modern ŠKODA SUV was called the YETI. The production car was derived from two concept cars and itself formed the basis of some less well-known versions. Check them out.

In 2005, ŠKODA presented the YETI, its small SUV, at the Geneva Motor Show. At the time of this premiere, the car was still just a design exercise, following up the previous ROOMSTER concept and developing certain parts of ŠKODA’s intended design language. The response to the new concept from the professional and general public was very favourable, so the Czech carmaker began preparing a production version.

​This reached customers four years later as ŠKODA’s first modern SUV (the first predecessor of today’s Mladá Boleslav SUVs is the TREKKA, produced in New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s). The YETI concept was not restricted to the blue model presented in Geneva in 2005, though. That same year, a second version in orange was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which featured a removable roof section over the front seats and a folding canvas roof over the rear seats.

​In addition to the vision of what a ŠKODA SUV could look like, both the YETI concepts displayed a number of interesting clever and practical solutions that the constructors had thought of. For example, the cars had just one wiper hidden in the right front pillar, the fifth door had two sections and the lower section, which folded down flush with the floor, could be used as a bench seat. Or it would let the boot hold a rack for two bicycles. There was also, for example, a cooled water holder in the centre console, a removable navigation system and, in the orange concept, the rear seats could be folded flat with the floor in a way that created a flatbed design. This foreshadowed the practicality of the production version.

Even Clarkson was enthusiastic

While the YETI concepts were more like outdoor and urban crossovers aimed at a younger, active audience, the production YETI was able to appeal to a much wider range of customers. It retained the distinctive design of the concepts, but grew bigger and more powerful and was endowed with more advanced technology: among other things, the platform from the OCTAVIA, which made it possible to incorporate all-wheel drive. The YETI thus became a real SUV with an extremely practical and variable interior, whose features were praised by the famous Jeremy Clarkson after he tested it. “The YETI is the best car in the world,” said the famous presenter at the time, comparing the car on a potholed road to a famous sports car, letting a fire brigade team run through it or driving it through a burning house. At the end of the test, he had a helicopter land on the roof of the car. Later, one of the YETI’s successors, the KODIAQ SUV, managed something similar.

The design of the production YETI certainly honoured the spirit of the original concept. Apart from the fact that the public liked the YETI, there were several practical reasons for this. For example, the essentially perpendicular rear end – it wasn’t given the concept version’s vertical headlights in the body pillars – increased the car’s utility value while reducing the intensity of interior heating by the sun. This was a nice detail in a body that had extensive glass surfaces.

YETI pick-up

It’s only recently that ŠKODA revealed that it prepared a pick-up prototype based on the YETI at the turn of 2012 and 2013. The design of the utility vehicle is structurally unusual. “The front end was taken wholesale from the production YETI, while the rear platform, including the axle, suspension and suspension, came from the Volkswagen Caddy Max. The body panels in the rear were, of course, tailored to this design by the designers,” says Martin Kadlec from ŠKODA’s Test Body Development Centre, who was involved in the development of the pick-up.

​The result was a very practical pick-up equipped with a 125 kW 2.0 TDI engine with 4 x 4 drive. While the classic YETI measured 4,223 mm in length, the pick-up was 4,876 mm long, with most of the increase attributable to the extended wheelbase (from 2,578 mm to 3,006 mm) and some to the extended rear overhang (985 vs. 768 mm). The cargo space measured 1,936 x 1,170 mm and the bed was unusually deep for a compact pick-up: 625 millimetres. This was due to the fact that the base of the SUV was higher than in conventional compact pick-ups. Practical as the result was, it did not make it into mass production.

YETI for China

Nevertheless, an extended version of the YETI was produced. This was essentially a modernised version of the 2013 model and was intended exclusively for the Chinese market. Customers in China are keen on longitudinal space in the rear seats (they often let themselves be driven around in their cars), so the wheelbase here was stretched to 2,638 millimetres (60 mm more than the regular version).

The model’s playful roots were then referenced in 2014 with the YETI Xtreme concept presented at the famous GTI meet at Lake Wörthersee.

The ŠKODA YETI remained in production until 2017 and became a hugely successful model, selling over 630,000 units in total. Today, two models follow in its tracks in the brand’s range. The YETI is close in size to the KAMIQ urban SUV, while the YETI’s position in the portfolio has been taken by the ŠKODA KAROQ.