2017 Arctic Cat Alterra Lineup First Look

2017 Arctic Cat Alterra Lineup First Look


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These all-new high-performance recreational and utility ready ATVs are loaded with key features that improve the comfort, handling and all-around owning experience of an Arctic Cat quad. In truth only the name is new for 2016, as this is basically the same model as last year’s totally new XR ATV line, which presents a considerable amount of improvements that can appeal to any knowledgeable ATV trail rider.The points of contact with the machine felt just right. 6 feet and taller riders will love this much-improved Arctic Cat ATV. A brand-new chassis and suspension setup, new geometry on the double A-arm front and rear suspension, made it feel extremely solid during my usual, a bit more extreme, testing sessions. This ride is able to handle its power output very well compared to its predecessor. I love the different imposed riding position which I’m sure will successfully encourage more alertness on the part of the rider.The Alterra feels much more controllable in fast and long bumpy curves. You know, the sort of obstacle that says a lot about the machines quality in just one fun quick pass.

The revised handlebar and seat configuration offers more responsive steering and better cornering. The Alterra puts forward an optimal rider position, spacious foot room, reduced-effort steering geometry, narrow bodywork and low ride height. It imposes a more alert and proper, more upright riding position. The improvement is such that it permitted engineers to give it a shorter turn radius which farmers and any other type of workers will thoroughly appreciate while manoeuvring this notably easy-to-use machine in tight spots. Sway has been reduced significantly with this new chassis and suspension geometry so you will feel comfortable using this newfound nimbleness in other situations as well. Rock climbs can be lots of fun as the ride lets you up the pace and attack in confidence.

We were already somewhat satisfied with the power of the 700 H1; a 695cc, liquid-cooled single-cylinder with EFI that remains a great value, along with two other smaller but equally gratifying engine choices, for this new and exciting Arctic Cat line. A 443cc for the 500 and a 545cc for the 550 model. They are all made at Arctic Cat’s state-of-the-art facility in St-Cloud Minnesota. Each one is able to satisfy its owners and can certainly be part of the appeal of these otherwise completely redesigned models but provide less top-end power than many twin-cylinder equipped competitors. That being said, even an experienced rider will be totally satisfied with the amount of torque to launch out of turns, on every trail, in any weather. You won’t detect any lack of power to keep up with differently equipped buddies, until you get to wide open spaces but that’s actually a great quality since ATV riding should never be about reaching high speeds. A quad’s top speed should mean absolutely nothing to you. How it feels right under you and fits perfect and gives you control is the most important and the Alterra will surely surprise even the most demanding rider at first try in that sense.

The new Alterra models also offer better lighting capability. In particular the XT version adding LED light strips to the existing headlights and using LED technology at the rear also for amazing performance that pierces through the dust and alerts the rider behind of your precise actions.

The new look is awesome! If you are at all a winter rider like I am you know how important it can be to have something, with leverage, to grab onto when you’re stuck so installing a sturdy bumper would be my first move which would also protect my investment. Truthfully almost everything about it surpassed my expectations. It seems that I will never get my wish for a lower set rear brake pedal but this one feels nice to the touch and doesn’t tend to lock-up too much.

The digital gauge features all the essential operation information indicators but I had mentioned something about its fairly small size for the space that seems available for it but this remains my only disappointment with this ride. I do agree with everywhere they decided to focus their attention, meaning just about everything on this ATV except the engine. I was very pleased to still have that really cool to have storage compartment right there in front of you and less of a pain to open and close as well as get to the right stuff quickly, than those jar type with screw on caps in fender storage bins.

Usability is at an all-time high with these new Cats thanks to a nice group of features designed to simplify your ownership experience. Fuses are super easy and quick to access through a side panel and just removing the seat gives access to all the other things that might need maintenance such as the air box and battery. The hitch receiver is a standard 2 inches and can tow up to 1000 lbs. and a large storage compartment at the rear enables you to carry the contents of a full hand-held toolbox, with maybe room to spare so you can snug fit a small blanket for safety and to silence the contents and protect them as you explore your newfound conquering abilities.The Alterra boast the new SpeedRack II system constructed from high-grade plastic with reinforced steel underneath and a TPE rubber coating to keep objects from sliding off. These are impact, freeze, and corrosion resistant. The front can carry 100 lbs. and the rear 200. The SpeedRack II front and rear racks with the Speed-Lock II integrated accessory attachment system; enable quick attachment or removal of many useful hard work related accessories. The Alterra 700 is an excellent choice to operate any of Arctic Cat’s many SPEEDPoint accessories, which utilizes an easy-access three-point attachment on the ATV, so you can apply down pressure on the SPEEDPoint implement. The 3-point hitch which plugs into your 2-in receiver and two frame mounts transform your ATV into an incredibly versatile machine.

The H1 engine delivers excellent throttle response and superior thermal efficiency while delivering excellent fuel efficiency. This is all thanks to EFI, which by now you might be tired of hearing or reading what it does but for those who don’t, they should know that it has been and will remain for a least a few years, the greatest and most appreciated technology to enter this segment. There are numerous benefits in replacing carburetors with electronic fuel injection (EFI) for fuel delivery. The achievement of these benefits necessitates a comprehensive integration and calibration for each engine installation. Only companies that have the extensive experience and appropriate equipment can successfully undertake these tasks. Carburetors provide fuel control by purely fluid dynamic means, utilizing jets and similar devices to control fuel flow while sliding or rotating valves control airflow. The relationship between the airflow and the fuel flow is essentially adjusted mechanically, but various methods have been used over the years in an attempt to provide a form of compensation for different operating conditions. Small carburetors are usually very basic and do not incorporate the advanced compensation devices found on larger carburetors. However, even if small carburetors could be equipped with larger standard compensating systems, the end result would not be as effective as EFI. In EFI systems, the carburetor is eliminated.

Airflow regulation continues to be achieved using a butterfly or a rotating valve, but an electronically controlled fuel injector delivers the required quantity of fuel. The amount of fuel and the amount of air delivered can be regulated independently. The system provides the required fuel/air delivery based on the information provided by various sensors. These include the inlet manifold air and cylinder head temperature sensors, the crank position sensor, the barometric and manifold pressure sensors, and the throttle position sensor. An electronic control unit (ECU) performs the computations that are required to optimize both fuel delivery and ignition timing. EFI systems enable the fuel/air ratio to be continuously adjusted according to the operating conditions (altitude, ambient temperature etc) and the engine requirements (throttle opening, power/overrun conditions, cold/hot start etc). A major benefit of EFI systems is the greatly improved cold and hot starting performance. Engines equipped with EFI systems are inherently more reliable than carbureted engines. EFI engines remain constantly in the same state of tune, which not only improves reliability but also reduces the amount of routine maintenance that is required.

The 700 rolls on more basic looking black steel wheels, is without EPS and other niceties like LED lighting and its plastics come moulded in red only for 2016. The XT adds EPS and the nicer aluminum wheels. Duro 3 Star Kaden with a 3-ply rating grip the ground on both and will only satisfy in somewhat dry conditions. A good set of aftermarket tires will transform any of these into excellent conquerors for those with more extreme types of riding in mind.

You just have to love the AWD system on these quads! In 2WD, steering is light and nimble. Shift on the fly into 4WD with the easiest of moves with your thumb and power is now also delivered to the front wheels. So far the front wheels spin at different speeds so the steering effort remains minimal even with the basic model without EPS. For the ultimate traction, activate the electronic front differential lock and power is sent to all four wheels, enabling you to crawl, climb and continue on with confidence. Simply put, the control switch to operate this fine system is the best designed on the market.

That is a lot of new stuff for us to enjoy on these big Cat for 2016, the changes date from last year but in this segment of the industry we can still call these models all-new ones. They not only have a fresh new look with the logical use of LEDs but also come with some big changes like an all-new chassis repositioning the engine a tad forward and a slew of other upgrades such as better front-end geometry and taller ergonomics which along with a few other things do make these new Cats much less intimidating to push in performance in tight corners.

The new Alterra 700 Arctic Cat comes in basic or XT. No Limited form for now. All three engine choices are available in XT form and if you want the 500 model, the XT version is imposed on you. The 700 comes in white or camo XT and a basic red version. The Alterra 550 comes in a black or camo XT version and in a basic red version. The Alterra 500 XT comes in black or white.

For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Arctic Cat Website

More from Arctic Cat on ATV Trail Rider :

Arctic Cat ATV Models – Arctic Cat UTV Models – Arctic Cat ATV Reviews – Arctic Cat UTV Reviews