|Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport Dune Review
By Jon Crowley, UTVGuide.net
We are lucky enough to have an Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport in our fleet of manufacturer demo units. The new Wildcat Sport is 110.5 inches long and 60 inches wide and fits in between the Wildcat Trail (110.5″ x 50″) and the Wildcat 1000 (128″ x 64″). With it’s 60-inch stance, most would consider the Wildcat Sport to be targeted as a trail machine. But I like to see how machines do in all sorts of terrain, and after doing some extreme rock crawling with the Wildcat Sport, I felt it would be great to see how it did in the dunes.
The Wildcat Sport utilizes a 60-plus horsepower, 700 parallel-twin engine that feeds into the TEAM Rapid Response clutch. While the horsepower rating may not scream “dune shredder”, the Wildcat Sport is a light weight machine that tips the scales at 1,050 lbs. Power-to-weight ratio is a number that many people don’t pay enough attention to, but when you really get serious about true off-road performance, less weight means you need less power to get the same performance level.
We slapped the stock tires back on our Wildcat Sport and headed for the dunes at Sand Mountain, Nevada for a few days of riding.
The Wildcat Sport frame features a 40-/60-percent front/rear weight distribution and I found that the vehicle responded in a very predictable manner while jumping and through high-speed cornering. The seats in the Sport are low which in turn translates to a low center of gravity and a very confident feeling while transitioning dunes and cornering hard.
The Wildcat Sport Limited model, features Elka Stage 5 shocks with high and low speed compression dampening. We put these shocks to the test and were very impressed with how they were able to handle jumps, g-outs and whoops. For an OE shock package, these 2-inch Elkas worked very well. It is so nice to see top-of-the-line shocks as an option from the factory.
Less weight also affect how your suspension works. While higher performance vehicles like the RZR XP 1000 and Wildcat 1000 come with 2 1/2″ and even 3″ shocks, the Wildcat Sport can easily get by with a lighter 2″ shock without losing performance.
The Wildcat Sport comes with 26-inch Carlisle Trail Pro 4-ply tires. This tire is light which helps in the dunes, but they don’t have much bite and could use a little larger footprint for more floatation. We duned quite a bit with 8 PSI and couldn’t get to the top of Sand Mountain. Dropped them to 4 PSI and it powered to the top. I think the Wildcat Sport would react well to a nice set of paddle tires.
The Wildcat Sport has a TEAM Rapid Response Clutch. This clutching system is super smooth and responsive on the trail and worked equally as well in the sand. We have now driven the Sport hard in the rocks, on the trail and in the sand without a single belt failure. The clutch is tuned to handle a variety of terrain very well.
One nice change to see from Arctic Cat is the clutch arrangement. From everything I could see, the cover on the TEAM clutch can be removed easily for in-the-field belt replacement. Even though we never had an belt issue, it is nice to know that a belt change in the field is easy to accomplish.
With more power and suspension, the Wildcat 1000 is better suited for the dunes. The good news is while the Wildcat Sport was designed primarily as a trail machine, it is also a capable dune machine. Arctic Cat’s lightweight, nimble and sporty Wildcat Sport is quite the versatile UTV.
Standard on Limited models, this underhood storage box keeps your items secure while you’re out in the dunes. The box is great for carrying lunch or snacks and keeps everything sand free.
I did find that the seat did not have much bolstering and wasn’t well designed for optimum leg room. I am 6′ 1″ and felt like my knees were bent more than I’d like and the relatively short seat bottom left me feeling like I was slipping off the seat.
Wildcat Sport Features:
Wildcat Sport Specifications:
Arctic Cat Inc., based in Thief River Falls, Minn., designs, engineers, manufactures and markets all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles under the Arctic Cat® brand name, as well as related parts, garments and accessories. Its common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol ACAT. More information about Arctic Cat and its products is available on the Internet atwww.arctic-cat.com