In 2014 Arctic Cat brought us the all-new Dual Stage Injection (DSI) 600 twin, but only in one model – the El Tigre. This engine has shown to be an exceptional performer with outstanding running quality, great fuel and oil economy and strong power delivery. All of this good news can only mean one thing – Arctic Cat is offering more models with this powerplant for 2015.
2014 also brought us the mutual supply agreement with Yamaha, meaning Arctic Cat sleds are now being built with engines from Yamaha, Suzuki and their own engine assembly plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The 7000 Series sleds with the Yamaha engine have also proven to be wildly popular, with strong power delivery and reliability.
For 2015 Arctic Cat will build upon these strengths, and more. The largest number of new models comes from the expansion of the popular 600 DSI engine. Just about every imaginable new model possible now is offered with the 600 – all versions of ZRs (LXR, Sno Pro, Limited, El Tigre, RR) to XFs (LXR, Sno Pro, Limited, Cross Country, High Country) to M6000s in both standard and Sno Pro trim. Instead of just one DSI 600, there are now up to twelve models to choose from.
While we initially had reservations about the 600 DSI engine, being new and unproven technology, we are pleased to report that our testing of production units has revealed it to be an impressive package. It starts easily, runs smoothly, gets great fuel and oil economy and is very strong. It might give up a little on the low end, but once it revs it pulls with authority and seems to have a bit more on top than the Ski-Doo or Polaris 600s. This thing really rips.
At this point the only new 2015 model with the 600 DSI that we’ve been able to ride is the XF 6000 LXR in the 137” track length and we can tell you the combination of the 137” rail with the new 600 engine is every bit as good as you would expect. The 137” rear suspension was just introduced for 2104, and for ride quality and comfort it is an excellent package. The LXR delivers a more compliant ride for groomed trail conditions, and the power of the 600 with the fuel-sipping DSI makes for one of the finest trail sleds to come from Arctic Cat in a very long time, if ever.
Our guess would be most all of the 2015 models with the 600 DSI will be equally as impressive. It takes discipline as a manufacturer to limit the numbers of an all-new technology, but with a year now past of DSI 600s in a small number of El Tigres, Arctic Cat is now flexing their muscle with this new technology. DSI uses low pressure injectors and, while not true direct injection, it is less complex and less expensive and delivers many of the same benefits, including crazy clean EPA numbers that are one of the reasons it isn’t sucking fuel like previous Arctic Cat twins.
Filling yet another void in the line-up, Arctic Cat has a couple of new ProTour sleds aimed at the touring and comfort crown. Up to this point, Cat’s touring sleds have remained on the previous Twin Spar chassis, but for 2015 Cat is upping the ante with the introduction of their new Pantera sleds. Using the new ProTour (a variation of the ProCross) platform, these machines are sporting a new 146” Slide Action rear suspension that delivers a huge gain in comfort compared to the 141” XF Crosstour with its FLOAT-based rear suspension. The Pantera only comes with the 7000 Series (Yamaha) engine in both standard and Limited trim packages. The Limited has more standard features, specifically luggage bags, for long distance rides and touring. It also has a 4.3 gallon auxiliary fuel tank in the rear for a total of 15 gallons for those really long rides! Plumbed into the front tank, the rear tank drains first and automatically switches to the front tank.
We’ve also been able to log some serious miles on both of these new Pantera models, and as one would expect, a 146” version of the Slide Action rear suspension delivers outstanding ride quality and comfort. What we didn’t expect was how well the sled handles with this kind of track length. With the 7000 Series engine under the hood there is plenty of ski bite so handling was amazingly responsive and we didn’t get the expected pushing through the corners, and we did ride them at brisk speeds for a touring sled. Not quite cross country capable, but do not discount the Pantera as they are going to redefine what a touring sled is expected to be able to do.
All of Arctic Cat’s performance models return with the addition of DSI 600 versions and performance tweaks for 2015. Everything was working well, no need for anything crazy here. Arctic Cat continues to clean up their model designation names and engine families, with the re-badging of their 570 fan cooled and 500 liquid cooled engines, now called the 2000 Series and 4000 Series, respectively. That means the F5 is now the ZR 4000 and the 500 Sno Pro has been replaced by a ZR 4000 RR, both now on the ProCross chassis. The Z570 is now called a Lynx 2000 (same Twin Spar sled, new name) and there is a new Lynx 2000 LT, a 144” Slide Action with the fan-cooled 570.
What about the El Tigre? Last year this name was used for the DSI 600, which was basically a ZR 6000 Sno Pro. This year Arctic Cat is offering the El Tigre as a graphics package for the 6000, 7000, 8000 & 9000 ZR Sno Pro Limited models. That means you can get a ZR in three suspension packages; LXR, Sno Pro and RR. The Limited and El Tigre models are feature-enhanced versions of the Sno Pro calibrations. This theme continues across the line-up, as Limited models are feature-enhanced versions of the Sno Pro sleds, whether it be ZR, XF, or M sleds. Two-strokes, four-strokes, several suspension packages, numerous track lengths, Arctic Cat now has it all – from groomed trail to deep snow and everything in-between.
Re-published from the Spring 2014 issue of SnowTech Magazine (March 2014)
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