By: John Arkwright
The 300 to 399cc Sport Utility class is growing quickly and there’s some very strong competition in this territory. Arctic Cat has been doing its homework and has jumped into the fray with a fresh, new 366 4×4 Automatic.
A few years ago Arctic discontinued its 300 4×4. This tough-as-an anvil Cat had been a huge seller to the sport hunting and fishing crowd and, even today, if one comes in on a trade it’s usually resold in a day or two.
Compare the old 300 to the new 366 and you’ll quickly learn there’s not much reason to compare the old to the new. Aside from its improved, modernized chassis design, the 366 has a CVT automatic transmission, far better plastics and protection from mud and debris and, most importantly, its ergonomics are an excellent fit for the young, the old, the short or the tall. Simply, the 366 has a good feel about it!
This particular engine range has long been a favorite of ATV consumers dating back into the 1980s when Honda first established its extremely popular 350 Foreman and 300 Fourtrax and, later, the huge selling Rancher 350. Soon following were winners like the Kawasaki 360 KVF, Yamaha’s Kodiaks and the Polaris 350 and 330 Explorers.
The history is strongly established here and will continue to attract hunting and fishing enthusiasts because of the class’s affordability and unique versatility. The 366 Cat slides right in there with the best of them – including many larger and much more expensive 4-wheelers.
To begin with, its physical size is nearly perfect. It weighs in at a feathery 545 lbs and is one of the lightest in this class, making for a light, nimble handling ATV. Combine this with its torquey SOHC 4-valve, 366cc powerplant and you have a great power to weight ratio. The result is an agile, quick handling ATV capable of putting a smile on the face of anyone who rides it.
This Cat’s continuously variable (CVT) transmission with EBS engine braking comes equipped with low range, neutral and reverse, is silky smooth with a low engagement and shifts as smooth as any CVT we’ve ridden – undoubtedly a result of Arctic Cat’s decades of experience with CVT clutch calibration in both ATVs and snowmobiles. 4WD can be engaged on the fly by selecting it with the switch mounted on the handlebars.
For towing and hauling loads the 366 is equipped with a man-sized 2-inch receiver and this little-engine-that-can delivers a 1500 lb. towing capacity. Unique to Arctic Cat, the rear mounted SpeedRack with its multitude of accessory attachments, will carry 150 pounds. Up front the rack capacity is 75 pounds.
We’ve had the opportunity to ride and evaluate the 366 in many different conditions, including some very formidable river crossings, without a hiccup. In months of use, other than a minor adjustment to the shift linkage, we have done absolutely nothing else to the ATV. The motor is quiet and smooth, admittedly not arm- stretching, but has a consistently strong power delivery while being stingy on fuel.
The 366 may be small in stature but it has plenty of soul! You’ll be surprised at the places you can take it and the places it’ll take you.