Next month the Škoda Yeti, arguably the nicest VAG product of the last decade, and certainly one of the most individual, will be replaced by a lightly reworked Tiguateciaq, with the name of Karoq.
According to Škoda, “the name and its spelling originate from the language of the Alutiiq, an indigenous tribe who live on an island off the southern coast of Alaska. For the name of the new compact SUV, Škoda has drawn on the spelling of the Škoda Kodiaq and in doing so, has created a consistent nomenclature for the brand’s current and future SUV models.” I still think it’s rubbish as a name, but so is ‘Qashqai’, and it does awfully well.
Perhaps we shouldn’t mourn the end of the name too much. Several middle-aged women of my acquaintance have vowed that they would never drive anything called a Yeti, however good it was. Since middle-aged women are a disproportionately large component of the compact SUV demographic, perhaps VAG have taken heed.
The shame is that the replacement is so unremarkable. The Yeti didn’t look like an outsider in the Škoda range, but it could have passed for the sort sub-Freelander product Land-Rover might have made if they had the means, inclination, and less of a fanatical devotion to LR322 manipulation as the easy answer to every question.
The Yeti ‘works’ on so many levels. The ‘visor’ windscreen / A pillar / B pillar relationship isn’t as extreme as the Roomster / Praktik, but it looks just right. Likewise the upright tail. This is a practical vehicle, not a fatuous coupe-SUV, or a tall estate car. Off-road capability was taken seriously – the Yeti is a proper four wheel drive. Most of the latest crop of so-called SUVs don’t even offer 4WD as an option.
The new pretender shares the production lines at Kvasiny with the SEAT Ateca, but there’s more differentiation than with the ŠkodEAT Rapedo. The Karoq is hardly inspiring, and bodes badly for the stylistic independence of the sub-Volkswagen VAG brands.