Skoda Yeti Adventurer 2.0 TDi CR DPF 140PS 4x4 fivedoor six speed manual.

Price: £20,985 (on the road).

Top speed: 118mph 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds.

Fuel: 40.9 (combined figure).

C02 emissions (g/km): 152.

Verdict: Great family allrounder, excellent to drive, spacious, practical, versatile, well built and engineered, genuine off-road talent.

WHEN Skoda’s fresh-face Yeti goes on sale next January it will be available for the first time in two variants - one with a more rugged off-road look and the other with an elegant city appearance.

The country version will have more protective cladding and under body shielding while the city variant will put on the style with coloured bumpers and a classy-looking exterior.

Other changes to the Yeti during the make-over will be at the front where there are different lights while at the rear the tail lights are also changed and the styling lines rather similar to the new Octavia.

However, the engine line up will remain the same.

With the Yeti being such a huge success with around 264,000 units sold worldwide, Skoda was not expected to bring about any major alterations.

The Yeti is one the best vehicles produced by the company and it has proved itself to be a first-rate alternative to a traditional hatch or small SUV.

It belongs to the fast-growing sector of vehicles which aim to combine the versatility of a tall hatch with sufficient of f-road ability to meet the needs of many buyers who nowadays want something dif ferent - a lifestyle vehicle with rather butch looks. This niche market was started by the Nissan Qashqai and a number of manufacturers were quick to join the fray.

As one might expect from Skoda there is a wide range of excellent petrol and diesel engines and models with two and 4WD and the availability of the wellproven DSG auto transmission.

Prices of the current vehicles are certainly competitive, starting at well under £16,000 for the 1.2-litre TSi 2WD five-door.

But the workhorses of the range are the 140and 170bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesels with plenty of useable torque or pulling power.

The Adventure, for instance, with 140bhp, 4WD and a sixspeed manual transmission is a cracking vehicle. It is fun to drive on and off the road.

The steering is sharp and the body control impressive, particularly at speed on the tarmac.

It’s a comfortable ride, too, despite the fact that the suspension is on the firm side.

The Yeti’s off-road button has a set of intelligent functions to aid driving on difficult, slippery surfaces. There is uphill start assist to help pulling away on wet or snowy surfaces and downhill assist to maintain a stable speed.

Some Yeti models also offer Greenline 11 technology which contributes significantly to making a cleaner, greener car as well as reducing fuel costs.

Thanks to its spacious cabin the Yeti is an ideal family vehicle with a boot big enough to carry plenty of luggage. However, the interior’s trump card is the Varioflex seating arrangement which offers as many as 20 different seat combinations and with seats removed all sorts of lifestyle gear can be carried.

All the models are well equipped but the Adventure is rather special. It not only gets all the electronic safety and security devices but special features such as upholstery with silver stitching and matching floor mats. It has sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Aux socket for MP3 players, acoustic rear parking sensors, cruise control and classy-looking 17in alloy wheels. The list is as long as your arm.

As a company under the wing of the giant Volkswagen group, Skoda is going from strength, with UK growth the strongest in all markets. The company has an excellent reputation for quality, reliability and residual values which matter a great deal when the time comes to sell.

The UK is also the company’s fourth largest market with 134 dealerships, plus 24 authorised repairers.

Next year continues to be a busy one for Skoda. In January, the same month, the Rapid Spaceback also goes on sale. There is an allnew Fabia available in late 2014 and a new Superb at the end of the year.