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First Ride: 2020 Wildcat Initial Thoughts


(7/20/2020)

A few years ago, I had a pimped out Wildcat Trail my son and I put a few thousand miles on cruising backroads in Minnesota. I reluctantly sold it, and ever since, wanted a replacement for the same purpose. Enter the Wildcat XX, is it overkill for my needs? Sure is, but its damn cool.

In 2016 I had a fun Wildcat Trail full of Arctic Cat accessories, PRP seats, Raceline Wheels and other goodies. My son and I cruised several thousand miles of back roads and trails.

I’ve mentioned before, Wildcat XX models are hard to come by right now due to the COVID sales surge. I was lucky enough to get one through Thomas Sno Sports, and got a little luckier as the Green Tag Sales event extended through July and I was able to take advantage.

Fresh from Thomas Sno Sports on our Top Hat 18' car hauler.

This past weekend, my son and I traversed 109 miles of backroad in this black beauty and here are some quick, initial impressions in three areas.

In Mn we're fortunate to be able to use UTVs (Class 2 Vehicles) on county roads. Check local ordinances though before assuming its ok.

STYLING

The styling on the XX has always captured my imagination much like the trophy trucks I admire in the Southwest. Upon walking up to it, the stance and physical presence are made known with high clearance fenders, 18-inches of suspension travel and large FOX Podium shocks. You then notice one of my fav features – 15-inch KMC wheels wrapped in 30-inch CST Behemoth tires. Adding to the XX’s race-inspired looks, I’m an admirer of the ROPS styling with its low profile rake. I think ROPS styling can make or break a UTV from a design perspective, which is probably one reason aftermarket companies sell so many replacement “cages”. For me though, the Wildcat XX nailed it out of the gates for looks and functionality.

I dig the race-inspired styling of the Wildcat XX

INTERIOR

When it comes to UTV interiors, the only real expectation I have is being able to shoehorn my sasquatch-sized body into the cockpit. Arctic Cat claims to have the “Largest In-Class Cab”…I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know fitting my 6’4” frame in the drivers seat is no problem. Hooray for big guys! 

Finally a UTV interior that can house a Samsquanch comfortably! Hooray.

Cudos for the automotive-style manual seat sliding adjuster. Something that was missing (IMO) on other Wildcat models like the Trail I had. It’s important to note the slider is only on the drivers side seat, but the passenger side seat is located in the furthest rear position and when in use, my knees didn’t interfere with the large glovebox.

ENGINE & CLUTCHING

One of the cooler things about the Wildcat XX is firing up the engine. When the triple-cylinder 998cc engine cracks off, the mean, loping sound is quite satisfying to the ear. And the 130-hp is nothing to wince an eye at. A mash of the gas gets the front end light, and easily lays some rubber. (I only did it once. I swear.) As cool as the sound is, there are times I wish the engine and drivetrain noise were quieter – like driving through my neighborhood at slow speed (15mph). Once out on the backroads, the engine seems really happy around 6,000RPM.

Ill do a better job of checking fuel range next time. I filled up right before this photo. Rookie.

Clutching is definitely responsive upon take off, but the engine braking takes a bit getting used to at slow speeds – when letting off the gas approaching a stop sign, the XX slows you down quick, and your first time experiencing it can leave you with a bit of a herky-jerky experience. (Easy to overcome)

WHAT I WANT TO ADD

  • Rearview Mirror – either in-cab or side view mirrors, or both. The beauty of the Wildcat cab is you sit in it, with a low center of gravity, which is great for high-speed handling through all terrain. The downfall, is you can’t see behind you. Vision behind you gets worse when you’re shorter. Mirrors will fix that.

The Wildcat XX needs a rearview mirror like this one offered as an Arctic Cat accessory for around $60

  • Half Windshield – Considering this unit will spend most its time cruising backroads, Id like to cut down on my intake of bugs and dust particles. 
  • Helmet-to-HelmetCommunication – I’ve got a PCI Radio communication system so driver and passenger don’t have to yell at each other. It adds a whole new element of enjoying a UTV.
  • Cooler in the Bed – The bed of the XX has four great tie-down points for a Yeti-style cooler. A must have to carry Mike & Ikes, Liberty Mountain Dew and Venison Brats for trailside cookouts.

PARTING SHOT

This one I call: Mostly Rocks and Cow

This MN photo Ive called, "Mostly Rocks and Cow"



Comments (17):

Cherry says:
7/20/2020 6:34:00 PM

Mostly Rocks and Cows. Lol. Walz, what a ding dong.
Mark says:
7/20/2020 7:19:00 PM

Great unit, but wish they offered a turbo or supercharger. There are times I want more power. We ride dunes in Michigan.
Tim says:
7/20/2020 9:02:00 PM

Not gonna add Sesame Street graphics?
Rick Schafer says:
7/21/2020 6:51:00 AM

We have a 2018 Wildcat XX with around 4000 miles. With a few exceptions could not be happier! Accessories added: Alum roof; rear window; half and full windshield; front and rear bumpers; storage box and a center rear view and Seizmik side mirrors. Some of the "exceptions" includes the noise issue and when running the full windshield it really sucks the dust in! Plus it gets real warm in the cab. Much prefer the half windshield. Love the interior and cab size. When comparing to other comparable machines the ride and handling are second to none!
Enjoy your XX and it will be interesting to see what your long term thoughts are and what additions you make to the unit.
Larry R says:
7/21/2020 9:01:00 AM

My comments would model what Rick said. We have a 2018 XX as well. Bought it used with 900 miles and now has 3000. I also agree with the engine noise. If you wear a helmet, it is lessened but Ill admit we don't wear helmets most the time we're riding trails in Wisconsin. We're old and slow. Ha Ha.
Mike says:
7/21/2020 10:10:00 AM

I wild recommend having the roof and full rear window along with the half w/s. It creates a positive pressure in the cab for dust and heat.
Hammer says:
7/22/2020 8:11:00 AM

Is Robby Gordon involved with the XX anymore? What is the Speed UTV he's trying to peddle now?
James Preston says:
7/22/2020 2:00:00 PM

Knowing Robby Gordon, he probably doesn't even have an engine supplier for that UTV he's been yapping about. That guy and his side kick Romano are two snake oil salesmen.
Jeff says:
7/22/2020 7:20:00 PM

Thanks for the tip on the windshields Mike. Have three cat sxs’s with roofs, rear windows and full windshields, the darn things are like a dust bowl in the cabs.
As for this XX, still can’t used to the goofy looking long bed overhang in the rear. Other than that it looks good.
Kale says:
7/23/2020 9:02:00 AM

Hammer and James Preston - I don't know Robby's level of involvement with the XX, if any.

Jeff - When I sat in XX styling meetings, the "overhang" was derived from SW racing...racers were, and still are, modding their storage beds to house a spare tire. The same thought was applied to the stock XX. In addition to a spare tire, owners could mount a cooler, and with the removable bed tub, have easy access to the engine. Which, the latter is one point I never mentioned...I can't believe how easy it is to access the service points on this machine.
Krom says:
7/24/2020 11:06:00 AM

Robby said he split ways with textron after the release of the XX (says its because they won't develop or release the turbo or 4 seat machines).
Since then he's started his own SXS company, designed a 2 seater, 4 seater, and truck style 2 seater, full hard cabs with AC, powered by a 2 cylinder turbo engine that looks just like the Z1, with the intake and exhaust flipped, over 200 hp on pump gas, and 300 hp on E85.

Sadly he will probably beat AC to the market in both the turbo and 4 seat segment.
James Preston says:
7/25/2020 2:40:00 PM

That all sounds nice on paper Krom, but Robby and Romano are all smoke and mirrors. Robby's talent behind the wheel of most anything is at the highest level and I admire that, but the stank he leaves behind him on business deals is truly rotten and shady.
Mark says:
7/25/2020 2:50:00 PM

I would think even if Robby beat AC to market with that engine and horsepower numbers, the cost for such a small manufacturer would be obnoxious. Not sure the great majority of people are willing to pay $40k-$60 for a UTV. I paid $17k for ours and think thats high.
Glad2BGone says:
7/27/2020 11:05:00 AM

Kale, what staff is left in TRF? Are inside reps like Wojo, or tech rep like Shawn J still there?

As for Robby and Todd, I am not a fan, BUT they have taken more orders for machines that Textron said would not sell. If you want to talk about snake oil salesmen, just look up Textron in the dictionary. I could name names, but won't. I dealt with them with two of their comapnies. The first suffered a slow and agonizing death. Arctic Cat is traveling down at a steeper trajectory.
Kale says:
7/27/2020 12:15:00 PM

Glad2BGone - to be honest, Ive lost track of who is at AC in TRF. Some names that some have read on AI like Brian Dick, Andy Beavis, Lynn Berberich etc are still at AC and passionate as ever about the snow product. (Engineering)
Krom says:
7/29/2020 11:10:00 AM

Mark,
IIRC The pre sale machines sold for 28-32k. About the same pricing turbos from brp, and poo MSRP.
78 tigre says:
8/3/2020 1:53:00 PM

glad2gone, wojo and shawn are still at the Cat facory.. super good guys !

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