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Image4. Skoda Yeti

The Skoda Yeti 4x4 was first showcased in the Geneva Motor Show in March 2009 and we soon saw the first Skoda Yeti rolling off the assembly line at Skoda's plant in Kvasiny, Czech Republic.

The car was first unveiled in India at the Delhi Auto Expo 2010. We also got a glimpse of the Hyderabad International Auto Show last month. The Yeti will be launched in October this year, having already captured the attention of the Indian customers.

Design and Styling: The 4.2 metre long, five-door Yeti is designed for both urban and leisure driving. The state-of-the-art technology used in the car ensures excellent on road handling and great riding qualities off-road.

The Yeti is a smart and practical solution for customers who want a compact car that is robust, quick and safe, and offers confidence on and off the road. Based on 17-inch wheels, the car demonstrates an impressive front end with a ribbed grille and friendly looking headlamps.

The Yeti also meets the needs for environmental care, luggage space, safety and great road holding. The luggage compartment volume is flexible; up to 1760 litres is available by removing the rear seats.

The car will be launched in two versions the Ambiente & the Elegance. Both the versions will have some standard features like ESP, Dual front airbags, Fog lights, Alloy wheels, Remote locking, Electric adjusting Rear View Mirrors, CD Player and Leather upholstery. The interior design and space makes the car roomier.

The Yeti is primarily short in length due to the reduced rear overhang, which improves the angle of departure. The Yeti, hence makes for a great off-roader SUV. The car will be available Candy White, Mato Brown, Magic Black, Diamond Silver, Aqua Blue.

Power train: The Yeti will be launched with a 2.0 litre diesel common rail motor which generates 140bhp. The car is a six speed manual transmission. The automatic transmission is under consideration but will not hit the market for the time being.

The Yeti is not an all time 4x4, but four-wheel drive is only engaged electronically when there is a loss of traction. On most occasions it is predominantly a front wheel drive. The Yeti comes with the Off-road Assistant.

The Hill Descent Control along with other functions such as Drive-off Assistant and Off-road Traction Control are part of the umbrella equipment Off-road Assistant.

However, irrespective of version/options all the models will have 4th generation Haldex 4x4 technology, which is the superior 4x4 technology in its class and this, combined with Electronic Differential Lock, gives the Yeti best-in-class off-road ability. The estimated fuel efficiency for the Yeti is 14-17 kmpl.

Competition: The Dacia Duster does compete with it abroad but since it will not make it to India, the Yeti will be on its own. It will grab market share quite easily and will appeal to people looking for a soft vehicle with SUV styling.

The Skoda Yeti will compete with off-roaders like the Toyota Fortuner, the Ford Endeavour, the Honda CRV and the Chevrolet Captiva.

Overall Evaluation: All the Skoda vehicles launched in India may it be the Octavia, the Superb or the Fabia, the Indian customer has always appreciated the handling and the ride quality of each of the vehicles. They certainly are a class apart and set a benchmark with each of their cars.

With the introduction of the 4x4, Skoda will try and cash in on two things: a) there is no real competition for the Yeti in its segment, and b) The Indian crowd has been awaiting a small yet roomier vehicle.

Come what may, the Urban SUV will certainly find a parking space once it is launched.

Price: The Yeti will cost approximately Rs 17-18 lakh (Rs 1.7-1.8 million) -- ex-showroom Delhi. The Urban SUV would be something to look out for as its off-roading abilities and the features provided by Skoda are certainly top-of-the-line.

Image: Skoda Yeti