There’s a weird corner of the internet where Skoda Yeti owners like to play. Away from the prying eyes of their wives, these crossover fanatics want to tune their cars, race and drift.
Small SUVs have gained massive popularity because of their high riding positions and rugged looks. And Skoda made a lot of money selling its first such vehicle.
I always thought of the Yeti as “grandpa’s car.” Sure, everybody likes crossovers, but the Skoda model its way uglier than the Tiguan with those odd headlights, not to mention it doesn’t have the ground clearance of an off-roader.
Offering only lack-luster four-cylinder engines, it doesn’t make a good project car either. What can you do with a 1.2-liter turbo or a 1.6 TDI? One guy famously swapped in an RS3 motor. But this oddball Yeti kept its stock engine, a 1.8-liter TSI.
Very few people bought the 1.8 because the 4×4 made it unusually thirsty. But it’s the only one worth tuning. When it left the factory, this 4-cylinder packed 160 HP and 250 Nm of torque, which was decent in 2009. As far as we know, the only configuration was a 4×4 with a 6-speed manual that game it a curb weight of 1,520 kg and a 0 to 100 km/h time of 8.4 seconds.
Extra grunt for this early 1.8T comes from APR. We’ve only managed to find a Stage 1 kit boosting output to around 190 HP and 330 Nm. However, the owner of the Yeti (we think he’s Russian) claims a Stage 2+ kit has been installed on his crossover. A new exhaust system is explicitly included, but beyond that, your guess is as good as ours.
So what about the drifting part? Well, the sideways action of a 200-ish horsepower Yeti seems oddly similar to a WRX hatch. It draws extended circles in the white powder of the parking lot but doesn’t enjoy sudden direction changes.