Arctic Cat’s 2022 snowmobile lineup continues their 60-year tradition of infusing new technology and innovation into the industry. After several years of attrition and fewer choices, it now appears Arctic Cat is on the rebound and getting back on track with more new models and more choices. That said, there are no new platforms or no new engines this year, but let’s be thankful they are again growing instead of going away. New leadership brings confidence back to the snow team, and we are hoping for the trend to continue.
Headlining the 2022 lineup is the revised Thundercat, now getting electronic power steering (EPS) for the first time on a high-performance, turbocharged sled. The BLAST lineup welcomes two new sleds to the family with the addition of the BLAST XR 4000 and BLAST XR Touring 4000, the first mid-sized touring sled. Arctic Cat has also enhanced existing models with new options and equipment for the 2022 model year. To celebrate 60 years of Arctic Cat snowmobiles, all models will include a commemorative 60th anniversary badge.
“This model year, Arctic Cat celebrates 60 years of sharing the passion for snowmobiling. From the track to the trail to the deep snow, our heritage is strong, and we’ll continue to build upon that tradition to innovate the snowmobile riding experience,” said Troy Halvorson, Vice President, Arctic Cat. “This year’s lineup offers key features and sleds our customers want, while providing more options for first-time and value buyers to help attract more people to our sport.”
ZR 9000 Thundercat
How do you make the fastest stock sled better? You complement its turbo power with industry leading technology for better comfort and an exhilarating trail experience. The new Thundercat with Electronic Power Steering (EPS) combines industry-leading technology and comfort on the fastest stock trail sled available.
Calibrated with variable assist to maintain light steering input, the EPS provides higher assistance at lower speeds for easier steering, and decreased assistance at higher speed so the rider can feel and react to the terrain. The system makes the 2022 Thundercat nimble and more comfortable so it can scream down the straight aways and control the curves with less rider fatigue. This also allows the use of a beefier carbide runner for even more precise steering without the typical increase in steering effort.
Arctic Cat also is offering an EPS Thundercat model with Arctic Cat’s ATAC revolutionary on-the-fly suspension for less rider fatigue and a more rider-unique experience to enjoy the trails longer. ATAC uses a thumb-operated button on the left handlebar to control the FOX ZERO iQS rear-track shock and the ski shocks. With a push of the button, the rider can instantly switch between three factory compression settings — soft, medium and firm — in under 0.5 seconds. The system also allows for two distinct settings — Driver 1 and Driver 2 — to customize two distinct calibrations between front and rear shocks. The result is optimized suspension performance for varying conditions and riding styles. ATAC also automatically adjusts shock calibration when the machine is set to reverse for optimal handling while backing up.
Along with the new EPS models, a standard Thundercat model also is available for a total of three model variations. All Thundercat sleds come in Dynamic Charcoal.
ZR 6000/8000 LTD
Not too many years ago Arctic Cat offered a confusing number of ZR trail models, ranging from different track lengths and shock packages. Now they have trimmed the model offerings down to the core. ZR Limited models are for riders who want a 2-stroke trail experience with additional premium features and adjustable suspensions. Here we find two different shock packages on the ZR 8000 Limited models, the manually-adjusted FOX QS3 or adjust-on-the-fly ATAC package with FOX iQS shocks. The ZR 6000 Limited is only offered with the FOX QS3 shock package. The ZR 6000/8000 LTD models come in Green or Orange.
ZR 6000/8000 RR
The ZR line of race sleds includes the race-replica ZR 6000 and 8000 RR. Here we find the suspension calibrations as the main difference in all-out performance, making them more capable sleds in rougher terrain and higher speeds. These machines feature competition-calibrated components such as FOX ZERO QS3R Kashima-coated shocks providing quick adjustability, a premium Kashima coating, and adjustable rebound control; hand guards; 5.5-inch race-height windshield; and LED headlights. The ZR 6000 and 8000 RR have an adjustable 42- to 43-inch ski stance and are available in Green.
All ZR models (Limiteds and RRs) have an available accessory kit that includes front bumper, handlebar bag and rear storage.
Expansion of the BLAST Family
Last year, Arctic Cat introduced their mid-sized snowmobile platform that included the mountain BLAST M 4000, trail BLAST ZR 4000 and sport-utility BLAST LT 4000. The sleds are powered by the industry’s first electronic fuel-injected, single-cylinder, 2-stroke engine – the 65+ HP-class C-TEC2 4000 with 397cc of thumper power.
Arctic Cat recognized there was a gap in the BLAST family between the short track ZR and the deep lug M 4000. The utility LT just wasn’t the sport model crossover people were asking for, nor was it the two-up touring sled. This year, the company is filling these gaps and expanding the category with the addition of the BLAST XR 4000 and BLAST XR Touring 4000. The XR model brings crossover capabilities to a mid-size snowmobile, while the XR Touring is the first mid-size touring option. Both sleds are perfect entry-level options for customers looking for a value-priced sled, or experienced riders wanting an easy-to-ride snowmobile that is a blast to ride. The key here is smaller, lighter, less expensive, less intimidating and easy ownership. Considering the current growth of the sport these new models should be well received.
BLAST XR 4000 and XR Touring 4000
To expand the BLAST family, Arctic Cat is introducing a crossover and touring sled to complement the mid-size offering. The new BLAST XR 4000 is a versatile, fun sled for the trail rider who occasionally likes to explore off-trail, while the BLAST XR Touring 4000 provides an enjoyable ride for two. The sleds’ slide-rail suspension with dual shock and adjustable torsion springs provides 12.5 inches of rear travel to conquer anything on- or off-trail. The BLAST XR 4000 features a 146” Cobra track with 1.6” lug height to handle a wide-variety of riding conditions while the BLAST XR Touring 4000, also at 146” length has a Ripsaw 1.25” lug height for lighter steering and excellent groomed trail performance. The touring model also includes overload springs to accommodate the passenger.
Up front, the BLAST XR 4000 has a 37.5- to 38.5-inch adjustable ski stance, and the BLAST XR Touring 4000 features a more stable 39.5- to 40.5-inch adjustable ski stance with sway bar for added stability. The BLAST XR 4000 comes with a 4-inch windshield while the BLAST XR Touring 4000 has a 15.5-inch-high windshield.
These new models are available in Dynamic Charcoal with Gold graphics. The accessory kit for the BLAST XR 4000 includes a front bumper, handlebar bag and rear storage.
M 8000 Hardcore 146” x 2.6”
The M 8000 Hardcore ALPHA ONE adds a 146” x 2.6” lug track model. This new sled is very close to the RIOT X 8000, with the main difference being in the front end width; 35.5-37.5” for the Hardcore 146” compared to 39.5-41.5” for the RIOT X. Both consumers and dealers asked for this model addition, as well as Arctic Cat’s own testing and evaluation teams. They were basically asking for a narrower RIOT X, but it is being positioned as a shorter track Hardcore. Yes, the lines are blurring between Mountain and extreme crossover as the track length and lug heights are the same but the front end width is the distinction. This new combination makes it an excellent Freeride sled, with the bulk of the appeal being towards younger riders who are into the wheelie action.
Also new for 2022:
* All 6000, 8000 and 9000 sleds receive the new ADAPT CVT System by Arctic Cat for upgraded performance and serviceability. This is a new Arctic Cat designed and tooled clutch system for 2022 that is both lighter in weight (primary is over one pound lighter for less rotating mass, reduced inertia and improved spool-up and acceleration) and in a narrower package, about 1” closer to the engine which will also reduce the load on the crank bearings. This also means new clutch calibrations and components like cam arms. The new ADAPT primary still uses a needle bearing on the primary center post that allows the drive belt to free wheel at idle so there is no creeping or squealing, along with the auto-tensioning feature that always maintains the proper drive belt tension and ride height. There is no tension adjustment in the secondary, as before. The primary automatically adjusts for the drive belt width as it wears, and adjusts for a new drive belt as well.
* The 2022 crossover lineup is offering a RIOT 8000 and RIOT X model with Arctic Cat’s revolutionary, adjust-on-the-fly ATAC suspension system. This is a logical progression of the ATAC electronically adjustable on-the-fly FOX iQS shock package for the RIOT 8000 models. This addition now gives the rider three shock packages to choose from on RIOT 8000 models; base IFP, FOX QS3 and now ATAC FOX iQS shocks. The RIOT 6000 is only available with the standard IFP shock package.
* The M 8000 Mountain Cat ALPHA ONE 154 receives ATAC on both standard and electric start models. Once again, a logical progression of the ATAC electronically adjustable on-the-fly FOX iQS shock package. Previously this was only offered on the 165” model.
Perhaps the biggest news is a limited number of 2022 Arctic Cat base package models (25 variations) will also be made available in-season through eligible dealers (without Snowmageddon program benefits, of course). The main emphasis here will be on BLAST models as these machines are less likely to be pre-ordered but still can be for the additional incentives. Machines like the BLAST models are far more likely to be an impulse buy where a consumer walks into a dealership late Fall/early Winter and buys one or two sleds. Arctic Cat missed out on this huge opportunity this past winter so they want to be ready next time around, while keeping inventory levels tight for all-around dealer network health. Speaking of which, Arctic Cat has actively been trying to rebuild their dealer network after the closure of nearly 300 dealers in recent years. It’s been a slow process but we believe they’re now moving in the right direction and getting things back on track. All 2022 Arctic Cat snowmobiles will be available for pre-order at the season’s best deals through the Snowmageddon sales event, which ends April 30. For more information on all Snowmageddon deals, visit a local Arctic Cat dealer, or go to ArcticCat.com and use the new sled builder to visualize different track lengths, colors and accessory choices. You will find far more options to customize your 2022 sled than in previous years, with a total of 118 model variations to choose from. Sleds pre-ordered benefit from a 2-year extended warranty, where in-season models only get the standard 1-year factory warranty. Sleds per-ordered also have the option to get the accessory “ship with kits” while in-season models do not. Finally, sleds pre-ordered receive a pre-season discount where in-season models do not.