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Polaris RZR XP900 vs. Arctic Cat Wildcat by Jon Crowley & Joey DiGiovanni

Discussion in 'UTV' started by JoeyD23, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. JoeyD23

    JoeyD23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    North County Dago - CA
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    Polaris RZR XP900 vs. Arctic Cat Wildcat
    by Jon Crowley UTV Guide & Joey DiGiovanni http://UTVUnderground.com

    Up until today there has only been 2 true SPORT UTV models to select from and both happened to be made by Polaris. The Polaris RZR-S was the first sport minded UTV to hit the market, equipped with factory long travel suspension. RZR-S changed the UTV game all while giving consumers the option to buy a UTV that came with the type of suspension usually reserved for the aftermarket. In January of 2011 Polaris trumped themselves and the entire industry with the release of the Polaris RZR XP900. The XP900 immediately jumped to the top of the list for consumers who wished to buy a UTV from the dealership with both suspension and POWER! Polaris changed the game with the new XP900, boasting a rear trailing arm suspension design that resembled that of a sand car and a new, larger power plant. The XP900 has now become the go to UTV for those looking for a true SPORT UTV.

    Well now the game is being changed once again. However, this time it is not by Polaris. In July Arctic Cat busted on the scene with their new answer to the XP900 and the entire craze surrounding the SPORT UTV market. Arctic Cat introduced the 2012 Wildcat Sport UTV. Much like the RZR XP900 by Polaris, the Wildcat will utilize a trailing arm rear suspension, which just happens to boast industry leading wheel travel. Arcitc Cat did not ignore the power side either, powering the machine with their 1000cc V-Twin 4 stroke. Now sport minded consumers are asking the question, Wildcat Vs. RZR XP900? So we decided to take the numbers and crunch them down giving you your first comparison between the 2 most talked about UTV’s of the year.

    In the dunes, there are a few factors that make a vehicle perform well:
    • Power
    • Suspension Travel and High Quality, Adjustable Shocks
    • Lightweight
    • Wheelbase - longer wheelbase tends to help in the whoops
    • Width - wider platform is more stable
    • Low Center of Gravity / Seating Posiion

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    Suspension:
    The Wildcat boasts some incredible wheel travel at 17" in the front and 18" in the rear. This will be a huge asset in the dunes. Head to head, the RZR XP900 and the Wildcat look to have similar horsepower numbers. Based on the weight difference, we believe the Wildcat would lose in a straight line, smooth terrain hill shoot. But where the Wildcat may shine is when you toss in some whoops or rough terrain. With 8.5" more wheelbase and 3" - 4" or more wheel travel, the Wildcat should be able to keep the available power to the ground better.
    The Wildcat and RZR XP900 both feature rear trailing arm suspension. Arctic Cat has opted for a 5-link and Polaris for a 3-link. The Wildcat has 2 inch adjustable Walker Evans Racing shocks with piggyback reservoirs. The RZR XP900 has 2 inch adjustable Fox Racing Shox with piggyback reservoirs. Both of these suspension types have a long history in off-road racing and provide improved performance over typical a-arms when it comes to high speed and rough terrain. Both shock types are also customizable when it comes to valveing and dampening. What we mean is if the supplied adjustments still are not giving you the “tune” that your riding style requires then you can have them pulled a part and fine tuned to your liking by a shock expert or by FOX Racing Shox and Walker Evans Racing themselves. This is huge especially for the consumer who plans to compete with their new UTV.

    One area where the Wildcat has an advantage is wheelbase. Wheelbase is the biggest reason why UTV’s of the past tended to nose dive when air-born or went through the whoops in a very uncomfortable manner. With added wheelbase the UTV is going to traverse the whoops in more of a rhythm. Perfect example is the Polaris RZR-4, which is not included in our comparison for obvious reason, but if it was it would be arguably the smoothest UTV in the big bumps due to its added wheel base. The Wildcat is not only 11.5" longer overall, but the Wildcat's 90-inch wheelbase is 8.5 inches longer than the RZR XP900. The only downfall to this extra length is getting it to the dunes. Many dune riders have tight circumstances in their trailers and another foot can be a big deal.

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    Engine:
    The heart of the new Wildcat 1000 is a 951cc V-Twin, SOHC 4-stroke with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). This engine has proven itself on the Prowler XTZ. On the Wildcat, the 1000 H.O. has been tuned to deliver even stronger acceleration thanks to the extra torque and horsepower provided by heavy-breathing 50mm throttle bodies, a new 2-into-1 ceramic coated exhaust and an all-new air intake system.

    At the heart of the RANGER RZR XP900 is the all-new, 88 horsepower ProStar™ 900 Twin EFI engine that was built specifically for an extreme-performance Side x Side. The engine features Dual Over-Head Cams (DOHC), four big valves per cylinder and a 180-degree crankshaft for balanced performance and fast throttle response for groundbreaking acceleration.

    Engine placement is also important in the design of the chassis and seating. Both of these vehicles place the engine behind the seat which helps in a few ways. It allows the seat position to be lowered for a much better center of gravity and also helps produce a better front-to-rear weight ratio. Off-road vehicles tend to handle rough terrain better if the rear of the vehicle carries a little more weight than the front (e.g. 60-40 ratio). Getting the front end up in the whoops will help the car maintain speed and drivability and with a little more weight in the rear the UTV will tend to fly a bit more level vs. nose diving like earlier model UTV’s.


    Power Steering:
    Arctic Cat’s Variable Assist Electronic Power Steering (EPS) on the Wildcat delivers even greater steering control and ease. The EPS system is a managed electronic control unit (ECU) that measures steering input force, tire resistance and vehicle speed, and then provides the appropriate assist to the steering column through an electric motor.

    The RZR XP900 does not come standard with power steering, but it is available as a PURE Polaris accessory and also from Wicked Bilt. The RZR XP900 has the wiring in place to easily install the Pure Polaris power steering unit. Something tells us that a future XP900 will come factory with EPS but for now the Wildcat has the edge in terms of factory provided EPS.

    We love power assist steering for UTVs and think that it is great that it is available for both of these vehicles. We really like EPS when traversing trails or rocks at a slower pace. When at speed it is a little less important but at those low speeds EPS can really help you along. If you are a fan of EPS as well, factor that into your cost comparisons since you would need to add that to the RZR XP900.


    Weight:
    When you are looking at a vehicle that has less than 100 horsepower, more weight is a performance killer. The claimed dry weight of the Wildcat is 115 lbs. heavier than the RZR XP900. Both vehicles have enough horsepower to push the cars nicely through the dunes, but if the horsepower of these vehicles is nearly equal, the RZR XP900 will win the straight-line race. Keep weight in mind when modifying your UTV as well. We hear lots of complaints of not enough power from consumers but then we look at their UTV’s and find they have loaded it up with an extra couple hundred pounds of accessories! With that said, you never want to jeopardize safety for the sake of saving weight!

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    Conclusion:
    Competition is a good thing! We are thrilled that another manufacturer has entered the pure-sport UTV market with a vehicle that makes dune and fast paced off-road riding fun. There is a HUGE market for sport UTVs, and Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki should take note.

    Crowley Offroad has a Polaris RZR XP900 demo unit that we use for testing and reviews. We hope to have an Arctic Cat Wildcat in the stable soon so we will be able to bring more details and comparisons forward. Until then keep tuned in to see where the industry goes. Who knows what may come next?
     
  2. Mike_McCluskey

    Mike_McCluskey Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Location:
    Norco, CA
    Saw the Arctic Cat crews out testing the new rides today in Barstow. Cool looking UTV's.
     
  3. gotteracing

    gotteracing Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Location:
    la verne, ca.
    im not much of an artic cat fan. but this thing looks sick. and im a long travel junkie.
     
  4. JoeyD23

    JoeyD23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    North County Dago - CA
    its super sick!!
     
  5. dezertdoug

    dezertdoug Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Utah
    Went out today and was in both back to back got to say Artic Cat may be on to something. I am truely impressed with it. Even against a long travel 900 with some engine mods and the Cat will pull it. Leg room and shoulder room are better. One thing I see a possible problem is with the tie rod being in front of control arm waiting for the first stump or rock to bend it like a pretzel. The control arms are beefy for stock brakes are good, but the over all feel is better. Gearing overall seems better then the 900 too.
     
  6. Layton

    Layton Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Barstow
    I drove the Artic cat and became a fan right away!
     
  7. Elk Hunter

    Elk Hunter Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    Montrose, colorado
    ask for the RDC discount at Planet Motorsports. 970-249-8867 Gary. We are taking deposits now.
     
  8. Dezertpilot

    Dezertpilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Newport Beach, CA
    Sounds like Artic Cat used your guys Baja 1000 experience for input into this new UTV?
     
  9. 07FJRog

    07FJRog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    Tonopah, AZ
    your the first review I have found that says the AC will pull the XP9, everyone else says the opposite.

    Suspension advantage is no doubt the Cat, longevity?, we will see if AC actually improved some of their downfalls. i do like the look of it.
     
  10. Elk Hunter

    Elk Hunter Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    Montrose, colorado
    Yes they did and the 1000 cc engine is the most reliable available today. I think it needed a larger bore. If you have concerns if shouldn't be over the engine.
     
  11. dezertdoug

    dezertdoug Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Utah
    All I can say is what we experienced. We were in sand, high alt. and the 900 was not stock it was race modified. The AC out ran the XP. (Why did AC pick the Little Sahara as a demo spot and not 5 mile OHV area is beside me. The sand is not were any of these SxSs perform?)
     
  12. redrhino99

    redrhino99 Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Location:
    Apple Valley, CA
    I test drove the Wild Cat. It's amazing how it handles the whoops.
     
  13. 07FJRog

    07FJRog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    Tonopah, AZ
    OH, so a heavy race ready turd 900 was beat by a stock cat? lol

    Bring on the cat, sand or not, we will see.
     
  14. dezertdoug

    dezertdoug Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Utah
    Not race ready by any means. Stripped down all spares removed,radio,pumper,side doors, bed parts removed,anything that could be removed was. I like them all they all have pro and they all have cons. Me personally I would own the Can-Am it fits me better for what I do. The Cat and XP are fast and nimble but for trail running in the mountians, setting up race courses,scouting and hauling out a elk I will take the Camander. Just my prefrence. Fred may like the Cat ,Sam may like the XP thats what is great we all have choices.
     
  15. neagtea

    neagtea Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    farmington utah
    Should be an interesting dune season.
     
  16. JoeyD23

    JoeyD23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    North County Dago - CA
    The Arctic Cat with dual 50mm Throttle bodies, intake and exhaust will be a strait up BEAST. This motor as it comes is being choked out from the factory for emissions purposes. Once uncorked will be one of the fastest UTV's around with stock displacement.
     
  17. neagtea

    neagtea Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    farmington utah
    Ok polaris, time to let the other shoe fall. They are not one to sit around.
    I bet something new comes down the pipe soon.
    XP4?
     
  18. neagtea

    neagtea Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    farmington utah
    Based on what?

    Cool u tube vids from little Sahara.
     
  19. JoeyD23

    JoeyD23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    North County Dago - CA

    ........and RDC and UTVUnderground.com will be amongst the first to know!!!! ;)
     
  20. Elk Hunter

    Elk Hunter Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    Montrose, colorado
    based on the fact that my team has put well over 10,000 miles on Thundercats in Baja and won the Baja 1000 Twice in the pro utility quad class. The engine is bomber.
     

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