A little over a year ago Arctic Cat unveiled plans to produce a 50-inch wide, trail-legal version of the Wildcat that was in no uncertain terms meant to scoop away market share Polaris had established and gone unchallenged in.
Arctic Cat’s engineers worked with Kymco to produce a 700cc parallel twin with EFI that churns out a claimed 60-plus horsepower (we guestimate 62-hp) trumping the 800 in the RZR by about 15-percent!
Arctic Cat knew it had to bring the right package to the table if it was going to make any impact on the 50-inch-wide buyers who already had the long-established RZR either in their garage or on their wish list.
First up, Cat installed fully rebuildable Fox aluminum body nitrogen gas charged shocks with threaded pre-load adjusters to compliment the front and rear double A-arm suspension.
Next, there’s those sweet looking and super-functional half doors. We love doors instead of a net. Not only do they make the Trail look cool, they latch firmly and provide the perfect spot to rest your knee so it isn’t hanging outside the vehicle in danger of getting rubbed by a rock or tree trunk.
To provide snappier response when the throttle is stabbed, we always recommend an aftermarket clutch upgrade. Arctic Cat installed a TEAM Industries rapid response clutch – stock!
All of this is moot if the vehicle handles like a slab. When we first looked over the feature list, our brows furrowed at the decision to leave power steering off the Wildcat Trail, especially with our readers knowing how much we love EPS.
However, the Trail’s rack and pinion steering works exceptionally well. Steering effort is very light and you can aim this SxS precisely with little effort.
There’s little negative feedback up into the steering wheel when maneuvering over rocky, rooted-up sections of trail and the wheel feels light and responsive in your hands when navigating sharp corners or winding sections of open fire roads.
Although there’s 10-inches of ground clearance, the cockpit sits 3-inches lower than the competition so you get a sensation of driving in the Wildcat Trail instead of being on top of it.
This dimension alone makes you just feel more in tune with your trail riding experience.