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.

ŠKODA YETI Pick-up The full line-up: ŠKODA YETI Pick-up, “Chinese” YETI, mass-produced YETI and two prototypes

Innovative concepts

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.

Prototypes of the ŠKODA Prototypes of the ŠKODA YETI SUV

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.

prototype and production Comparison of the prototype and production model

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.

At the time the YETI hit the market, i.e. in 2009, SUVs were not nearly as popular as they are today, but the YETI was an immediate hit. And as the popularity of SUVs grew, so did the popularity of this model. As a result, designers played with ideas for how to expand the YETI model range.