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Sled of the Year: Arctic Cat F1100 Turbo

2012 Arctic Cat F1100 Turbo Sno Pro is the Sled of the Year

The November issue of Snow Goer magazine is out, in which the editors named the 2012 F1100 Turbo Sno Pro the “Snowmobile of the Year.”


Lots of awards for the 2012 Arctic Cat F1100 Turbo SP

Similarly, SledHead 24/7 named the 2012 XF1100 Turbo Sno Pro their “Sled of the Year,” while American Snowmobiler named the same machine “Best Crossover” and tipped the F1100 Turbo Sno Pro the “Editor’s Choice.”

This is definitely cool and well-deserved. Congrats to Arctic Cat.

As a member of the snowmobile press corps since 1948, I’ve seen both sides of the sled award equation. I was one of the Snow Goer editors who helped name the 1991 EXT Special the SOTY (a choice that, in hindsight, seems pretty tenuous).

I’ve seen some goofball SOTY picks over the years, and some spot-on ones.

The problem with such awards is that the media base their decisions on riding prototype machines for a few days in one (high elevation) location in March. These prototypes are seldom “finished” in terms of calibration, and sometimes are so far off as to see significant component changes in production units.

I understand why the media wants to give awards: It’s a back-door way of promoting themselves and getting some extra advertising revenue.

My question for you is: Does an award from the snowmobile media influence you, in any way?

Has it ever influenced a purchase?

Does it act more as a reinforcement of a decision you’ve already made?

Or is it completely irrelevant?

There are no wrong answers here. I’m just curious what impact (if any) such awards have on you?



  1. I think you are completly right when you stated that the magaizines used this award as a way to generate addition revenue. We rarely see the same company winning the award multiple years in a row. I do find it interesting to read what has to be said about the new sleds, but it in no way influences my decision as to what sled I will purchase. I bleed green.
    I do feel that this years pick is spot-on and every other manufacture should sit up and pay attention to the new cats.

  2. SOTY awards tends to lead me to find out more in-season write ups about the particular sled, website write ups from consumers, etc.. to see how it’s production version is standing up to it’s SOTY award. It’s never influenced my purchase. It’s really irrelevant to me. I do find it interesting that American Snowmobiler chose the Ski-Doo 800 Etec XRS Rmotion(ei, ei, o) as it’s SOTY but, it has the F1100 Turbo SP Limited as it’s “editor’s choice”… What’s up with that? Someone didn’t get the memo?

  3. The SOTY choices only serve as reinforcementfor a choice I have already made…but it really is good for arguments reinforcing my wise choice.

  4. John were you even born in 1948 ? I don’t think so. Did you cover the 1948 SOTY ? lol O.K. enough of that, personally I think the magazines seem bias most of the time. I wouldn’t base my decision on what to buy on a magazine article. Although I read the Cat ones thoroughly and look at the “hits” and “misses” on the brand X ones. It is nice to see Arctic Cat get some pub though.

  5. I would say a SOTY award by a magazine only reinforces a decision I have already made as to what machine to buy. It has been nice to see all the attention Cat has been getting in the magazines though for their new models. The same was true at the Sneak Peek show in Minneapolis last spring.

  6. SOTY doesn’t mean anything to me, I suppose it could influence someone who was relatively new to the sport.

    Now let me ask you a question John; did it seem like the prototypes you rode in the spring were not quiet as cobbled together as some of the prototypes have been in the past?

    The reason I ask is because it seemed like the sleds I saw at Lake Geneva this past spring were fairly well put together, as compared to some of the first year models I have seen in the past.

  7. I have to agree with Vince on this, for a relatively new member of the sport I am sure these early reviews/awards are good, but to someone who has been in the sport for awhile you can read thru the marketing bs and hype.
    I for one am glad to see that Cat does not have to share the new chassis limelight like they did with the release of the Firecat back in 2003. As long as these sleds live up to the hype, as the Firecats did then I see a big Bullseye on Cats back from the other manufacturers for next season.

  8. SOTY does not influince my dicision at all.
    I agree with above! SOTY should ONLY be done at the end off season, when theyve done somthing. Then you have bragen rights?
    I bleed GREEN also,would only buy cats, Have owned cats since 1975-sweet sweet SLEDS

  9. Did a shoot-out with PWI back in the Tigershark days. It was based on “out of the box” performance. The Tigershark Barracuda won the radar run & slalom course and took 1st overall during the shoot-out. Beating Sea-Doo, Yamaha & Kawasaki. BUT when the edition came out, a Sea-Doo won. We called PWI to question them on the results. They stated that the Sea-Doo at the test suffered from “improper dealer set-up” so they re-tested the boat independently and those are the results they went with which put the big advertiser in their rag in 1st place. Tigershark promptly pulled all advertising from PWI. I don’t trust mags anymore. But with this selection, I agree.

  10. A magazine never influences my purchase decision. I make all my buying decisions by visiting (shamelss plug) LOL.
    In all seriousness, the magazines get paid by the companies whose products they are evaluating.
    Like others have said the SOTY awards are always rotating through and I never could understand their justification for giving ratings the way they do.
    Half of the testers are sawed off guys living in the flatland of the upper midwest anyways. How does their opinion compare to someone who is 6’8″? They are interesting to find out some new products that I may not have seen, but you get more accurate information elsewhere.

  11. For the most part, I don’t believe what magazines have to say about any first year model. It isn’t until the second year do they actually point out the problems and issues and that’s too late to help the consumer who wanted to buy the hot new sled.

    SOTY means nothing to me. I put a lot more stock into what my buddy’s say, what I’ve seen or ridden in the real world. Having a demo sled to ride is a much better way to show consumers the how good a sled is.

  12. My question for you is: Does an award from the snowmobile media influence you, in any way? Nope

    Has it ever influenced a purchase? Nope

    Does it act more as a reinforcement of a decision you’ve already made? Nope

    Or is it completely irrelevant? Yup.

    It’s only purpose in life is when the stars align and your buddy who by chance bought the SOTY and has issues with it the first ride out…thats when you tell him what a great sled it is and how can all those magazine editors be wrong????? 😉

    Honestly, the best value I get out of any of the rags is R&R when they give the recalls, tips and things they’ve found with the previous years models. More than once in a motel parking lot, side of the trail or pit stop parking lot I’ve seen someone having a late model sled issue and been able to mention that R&R talked about the issue they were having.

  13. John, Can you do an arcticle on why noone has seen turbo sleds yet. Being the arctic insider I would imagine you could have a firm grasp on the delay and could convey it in the best way possible.

  14. It truly is a bad a$$ sled,but at altitude where i am at, you can pry my 2stroke cat from my cold hands. If magizines could build sleds they would. After all yamaha is my first choice in pianos.

  15. It’s a flawed process and doesn’t influence my buying choice in any way. SOTY is the equivelant of the ‘hype’ of the year award. The whole thing is confusing and sometimes controversial. Not to pick on Yamaha.. but the 2007 Phazer – really?? That sled did almost nothing to advance this sport. Then.. in 2011 the same Apex was selected that was chosen in 2006 because of the addition of power steering. A real SOTY would be a sled that handles and turns well without the need of power steering.

    I think the F11 Turbo is a nice sled but I’m not sure how it’s any more or less deserving of the SOTY than other sleds – even including the F11 NA.

  16. I have been riding since 1972 and reading the different magazines as they were available. For the most part they have not influenced my buying decisions (I have owned 20 some Cats over the years).

    For this season my wife and I planned on buying a new sled for her as she had 9000+ miles on her 2007 F6. The only thing certain before the 2012 models were released was that I was not going to buy another F6 as I have never been impressed with this sleds performance and gas mileage. As well as this engine worked in the Firecats (we had a 2004 and 06) it really disapointed in the Twin Spar. I tried to talk to as many of the 4-stroke owners as I could and it seemed that with the miles we put on that direction would be the way to go. So I was really thinking about a holdover 2011 Z1 that my dealer had until the 2012’s came out. After the spring show we had to have the new ones and we decided on the F1100 NA. This will be our first 4 stroke so we have our finger crossed. My wife said “why do I have to have the 4 stroke, I heard they are too heavy, too slow and I wont be able to keep up etc etc”. After much discussion I think I have convinced her that it will work well for her. I was very impressed with the new models and since my 2010 F8 had 5000 miles I traded for a 2012 F8.

    Anyway the magazines did not really sway me as most of the reports were initially nothing more than what was learned at press releases. I basically trust the brand and the direction they are now heading.

    At the 50th annv celebration I must have drove the Cat guys nuts at the new sled display as I had a ton of questions. I learned alot!

    We have the two new sleds home and are very impressed and excited.

  17. Derek,

    Production of Turbo’s starts the first week of October, which is basically on schedule. The build order is influenced by many factors, but the Turbo’s are almost here.

  18. Westillrock, Sorry to get sensitive about the turbos. This is my first year on a cat and my first time buying a brand new sled. Everyone and there brother is talking about the delay on the turbos. I watch every forum and talk to alot of people and have heard so many different stories as I am sure of many people waiting for the turbos anxiously have. I was just hoping that John could calm some nerves with an arctic insider exclusive.

  19. •Snow Goer magazine names 2003 Yamaha RX-1 Snowmobile Of The Year.

    LOL….We all know how well that worked out….Snow Goer sells themselves like a cheap streetwalker…..

  20. American Snowmobiler states the 2012 Cats all push in the turns just as the F series did when they first came out. ( I concur as I had an 08 F8SP, whiched pushed bad even with aftermarket skis, carbides etc…currently have a 10 F8SP. better not great) My point is yes I listen somewhat to what being reported in these magazines. More importantly I must say quite disapointed to here this, still a cat guy but come on Arctic Cat I was hoping to get a 2012 F8SP that would carve with the doo’s.

  21. I’ve had Yamaha’s for over 40 years now and keep them for about 20 years each. Cost of ownership is very low. I have had etheyvring from a enticer, vmax 600, vmax 4, RX1 and Apex. Still have the 600 2 RX1 s and a Apex. Just sold the Vmax 4 (still running strong). The only cost has been sliders once a year and bearings on suspension every couple of years. I think I know a bit more about these sleds than the crap Anonymous is spouting. I also put on 3-4000 K a season. As far as I am concerned if you like getting home every trip buy a Yamaha.


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