More than forty years after company founder Edgar Hetten built the first snowmobiles, in October 1995, Arctic Cat presented its first ATV in North Carolina: a tough little machine called the “Bearcat 440 cc”. The Bearcat rapidly established itself and Arctic Cat in the market, thanks mainly to some of its unique features such as high ground clearance and long suspension travel. During the years that followed, Arctic Cat made constant and steady progress with new product releases and technical achievements. Today, Arctic Cat ranks among the most successful ATV manufacturers in the world and is keeping its foot on the gas philosophy for 2016 with lots of cool new stuff.
Seven All-New machines including Special Edition models; powered-up Wildcat Sport models and a lot more new things brought forward this year, are in keeping with Arctic Cat’s reputation for healthy new product development to make your off-road experiences the best they can possibly be. Highlighting the first-wave of 2016 Arctic Cat new models are four Special Edition models built in limited quantities, each featuring a dash-mounted, numbered plaque. Those models are the HDX 700 SE Hunter Edition featuring an electric bed lift; painted aluminum wheels; a 5,000-lb. winch; gun scabbard; and True Timber Camo livery, the Wildcat X Special Edition featuring aluminum bumpers; color-matched beadlock wheels; roof; and Desert Tan painted bodywork, the Wildcat Trail Special Edition featuring full doors; color-matched aluminum wheels; and an industry first color combo of True Timber Camo /Orange Metallic and finally the great-looking TRV 700 Special Edition featuring a 3,000-lb. winch; color-matched aluminum wheels; and the choice of True Timber Camo/Orange Metallic or Black Metallic.
Today Arctic Cat products are used on a truly global scale, and via a network of around 1.000 dealers, the company distributes products in more than 30 countries all over the world. For model year 2016, Cat is offering 32 North American off-road models in its first wave of introductions for 2016, available since September at Arctic Cat dealerships. On the ATV side of the showroom you will find that any needs or tastes can be satisfied with rides of every size and specialty. From the tiny sleek DVX 90 or tougher looking 90 for the kids, to the big-bore 1000 XT, which is the only one keeping the older plastics, you can choose among a multitude of great-looking new models from 400 to 700 going by the new “Alterra” name. Those ATV models were formerly called XR ande introduced last year with an impressive amount of improvements. The name “alterra” is pretty catchy, a more marketable name for sure. We like how obvious it sounds, how to the point it is about the ride’s purpose and efficiency. Many ATV trail riders from different countries would feel good about pronouncing it right. The new Alterrrra (the extra “R”s are no typo) comes in XT or basic form with a 700 or 550 mill, while the 500 only comes in XT. Arctic Cat took the brand-new body style and heightened capabilities of this new full-sized Alterra, and adapted them for the more compact 400 and 450 mid-sized models. Sport riders just getting into this wonderful world should take a serious gander at the Crossover XC 450, which is very simply a great bang for your hard-earned bucks and a superb handling machine with a nicely set power output.
The new Alterra 400 offers riders the first step into the newest line of full-featured Arctic Cat ATVs, with all-new bodywork, powerful LED accented headlights and rack system that offers improved comfort and usability. The Al¬terra name says it all, with the promise of class-leading combination of suspension, load capacity, horsepower and comfort for an overall experience that exceeds expectations. Is all that true? Are these as good as they say they are? Too early to tell but we’re hoping we get invited to test these new kittens thoroughly very soon. We’ve been bombarded with Side-by-Side related media events of late and truly miss riding smooth-riding and powerful Arctic Cat ATVs. Sad truth is that the ATV part of the off-road industry is shrinking and we are seeing lots of cool rides disappear from showroom floors. Yamaha has seemingly all but given up on the Entry-level and Mid-size classes with just the Grizzly and Kodiak using the same new 708 cc engine in their utility line; BRP is not selling the DS 450 anymore, and the list of recent disappearances goes on and on. Luckily, Arctic Cat still offers all of the same models but the MudPro 700 now stands highest all alone in the Competition class, looking superb this year in black and a mean green on the shocks, bumpers and sweet aluminum wheels with beadlocks. Boo hoo, no more MudPro 1000. The extra practical at work TBX 700 EPS remains, as well as the more affordable 150, 300 and 500 models keeping the same good old pick-up truck style facia.
Also new for 2016 at Cat is a Full Line of SPEED High-Performance Accessories for Arctic Cat co-developed by famous racer Robby Gordon, especially fond of off-road competition. Ready 2 Roll packages sound like a great concept to help you save time and money. One comes with hand guards, front and rear bumpers, 3,000 lb. winch, 3 and 6-inch rack extensions and SPEEDLocks, and a rack bag which combined transform this Cat into the ultimate do-it-all.
It seems a good number of you might have just skipped to this paragraph. Sport Side-by-Side vehicles are enjoying great popularity all-around the world and enabling countless to enjoy life to the fullest. Inspired by desert race vehicles, Wildcat X and 4X models stay true to their high-performance roots, delivering a great balance of power and suspension. None can say these aren’t the best going through a gnarly set of whoops. Maintaining a flat tire patch through its full range of movement, Arctic Cat’s 5-Link Trailing Arm rear suspension delivers class-leading, big-bump performance, thanks to its 18 inches of travel and optimized geometry that reduces wheel camber and axle plunge. We have been totally in love with these modern-looking vehicles since they turned to Team Industries for their CVT transmission needs. TEAM Rapid Response drive and Rapid Reaction driven clutches are renowned for their performance and durability. The drive clutch features extra-durable towers, spi¬der and roller bearings for consistent performance. It functions in combination with the lightweight aluminum driven clutch for maximum power transfer, instant response to varying loads with minimal friction and wear.
Control of the vehicle’s position by the throttle pedal is something we used to only dream about but the 90-plus horsepower producing 951 cc H2 V-Twin SOHC engine makes it happen. It utilizes key features and technology including a closed-loop EFI system with catalyst exhaust for quick throttle response and maximum fuel economy.
The Wildcat X gets JRi ECX-1 shocks featuring 70-position compression adjust¬ments, spring preload adjustment and 2.5-in. piggyback reservoirs. The race-ready X Limited sports Elka Stage 5 shocks with high and low speed compression dampen¬ing as well as rebound adjustment. Precise tuning makes these shocks smoother and more responsive, and are tough, rugged and ready for anything. Wildcat X vehicles use dual-piston caliper hydraulic disc brakes on each wheel to deliver enhanced braking performance while single-piston calipers suffice for the Trail and Sport.
No big changes for that platform for now but we’ve got an inkling that they might soon come out with a turbo version to stay in the race. The only change for now is that these super fun to drive vehicles come with new 27-in. Duro PowerGrip tires, which Arctic Cat engineers say deliver outstanding traction and durability in a variety of terrain conditions.
The upscale Wildcat X Limited adds full aluminum doors, a sleek molded roof, premium Elka Stage 5 shocks, color-matched aluminum beadlock wheels, aluminum front and rear bumpers, and 27-in. ITP Blackwater Evolution tires. It comes in Matte Black paint. The Wildcat X Special Edition gets the same features as the Limited, plus it features a special dash-mounted numbered- plaque and is coloured in military-like Desert Tan.
The Wildcat Sport might very well be best adapted to the real world. Getting blocked, turned around, or simply not feeling welcome in areas with vehicle width restrictions, can be very frustrating. With a more trail-friendly 60-inch width, Wildcat Sport models deliver an outstanding balance of power and handling that can be fun to use just about anywhere. For 2016 a new ceramic-coated muffler adds 5 percent more horsepower, making the three Sport models 60-plus-hp rides. Liquid-cooled with an auxiliary fan for consistent performance in all conditions and developed by Arctic Cat, the twin-cylinder 700 cc DOHC engine in these sleek rides features a closed-loop EFI system for quick throttle response and improved fuel economy; automatic idle speed actuator; a cam sensor for quick synchronization when starting; two-stage thermostat for rapid engine warm-up; hydraulic cam chain tensioner; a high strength, one-piece forged crankshaft; a single balance shaft and low inertia rare earth flywheel for reduced rotating mass and quick response; and a wet sump oiling system.
Wildcat Sport models also deliver useful features like a 300-lb. payload in the rear cargo bed, a 2-in. receiver and 1500-lb. towing capacity. Available in Classic Red, the base model Sport comes with steel 12-in. wheels, compression-adjustable JRi ECX-1 shocks, and half doors. Available in Team Arctic Green, the Sport XT EPS steps up with electronic power steering, cast-aluminum wheels, plus automotive-style paint and color-matched suspension arms. Available in Black Metallic, the amped-up Sport Limited EPS package also features electronic power steering, full aluminum doors; and automotive-style paint and color-matched suspension arms. Plus, it also comes with Elka Stage 5 shocks with dual-speed compression and rebound adjustability, and a 3.2-gallon under hood storage box.
Don’t let narrow width of the 50-inch Wildcat Trail fool you, with a lower riding position, it handles like a wider machine. With a FOX gas-shock double A-arm front and rear suspension, this nimble vehicle can handle whatever you throw at it. The 10/10.5 inches of travel and front/rear sway bar make getting over obstacles a breeze and carving around bends with confidence. The 2016 Wildcat Trail Special edition looks absolutely amazing! The custom color-matched aluminum wheels give this ride some serious bling. The mix of camo and sporty graphics is a superb idea, jaw-dropping cool.
Arctic Cat’s Variable Assist EPS, which provides varying electronic steering assist depending upon condi¬tions, with optimal feedback so that the rider senses the tire contact with the terrain, comes on all but the base Wildcat Trail and Sport. All Prowlers and HDX utility Side-by-Sides which stay unchanged and available only in XT form this year, use this advanced system to significantly improve usability.
Whichever Cat you choose, the fun factor will stay high, even in or on utility-driven rides. Stay within the vehicle’s limits and your own and make sure you follow your maintenance schedule. There is no excuse for neglect with these machines, as they are all known to be easy to maintain and service. Enjoy!
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Arctic Cat Website