WHEN a long journey north resulted in me driving over steep snow covered roads I was not concerned about maintaining traction because I was in a two wheel drive Skoda Yeti that had been fitted with winter tyres which kept moving even when the going got very tough writes Bryan Longworth.
In fact the aptly named Yeti which was shod with the award winning Continental winter tyres performed just as well as many four wheel drive vehicles I have driven over the years in extreme winter weather both in this country and especially on the snowy roads of Scandanavia.
Last winter I drove the same type of vehicle fitted with standard all year tyres over Pennine roads covered with plenty of snow and at times it lost traction but there was an amazing difference with the Continental winter rubber on the wheels for there was no loss of traction at all.
After driving numerous 4x4 vehicles on wintry roads and demanding off road tracks over the years including the four wheel drive Yeti this confirmed my belief that many motorists especially school run mums unecessarily buy 4x4s with their higher purchase price emissions and fuel consumptions when a set of winter tyres would save them a lot of money and still keep them on the move in most wintry conditions.
Winter tyres also offer better traction in low temperatures over wet and icy roads as I also discovered when encountering an unexpected patch of ice on a tricky double bend on a high moorland road I frequently use that has often resulted in cars skidding into a nearby ditch but the Yeti fortunately clung to the road and maintained traction without the hint of a skid which was very reassuring.
I was driving the Yeti SE with the 1.2-litre petrol engine and the DSG seven speed automatic gearbox which is such an impressive vehicle and which a certain very well known former Doncaster journalist who now hosts a top TV motoring programme once described as one of the best cars he had ever driven.
This particular Yeti which costs £18,445 is such a good car for all year round motoring because it offers impressive road holding and fuel economy plus the interior being so comfortable and spacious making it ideal for long trips.
Despite the size of the engine I found that the power unit provides enough power for all driving situations with a top speed of 108mph and a zero to 62mph time of 12 seconds with a fuel consumption of around 40mpg which is similar to that of the four wheel drive diesel model with the automatic transmission and which costs quite a lot more.
But apart from the vital statistics the Yeti is such an enjoyable car to drive in all situations because it offers a commanding driving position with a huge load area at the rear that becomes immense when the rear seats are easily folded and a superb steering lock for tight U turns.
It also has very user friendly controls and switchgear with easy to see instruments with the speedometer also having a speed display in kph which is very useful for driving abroad on business or holidays.
The Yeti is produced at a modern factory near Prague built by Volkswagen when they took over Skoda which I have visited and was extremely impressed by the production methods and the quality and attitude of the staff.
Skoda chose a very appropriate name for the Yeti after the legendary Himalyan abominable snowman and I have found that it more than lives up to its name in snowy conditions especially when the wheels are fitted with winter tyres.
My Verdict: Winter tyres keep Yeti on the move.
Model: Skoda Yeti SE 1.2 TSI 2WD.
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol.
Transmission: Seven speed DSG automatic.
Tyres: Continental winter tyres.
Top speed: 108mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 12 seconds.
Fuel consumption: About 40mpg.
CO2 emissions: 149g/km.