Flat Out in Arctic Cat’s New Wildcat
“Look out Polaris! Cross-state nemesis Arctic Cat has set its engineering cross hairs directly on its arch rival’s hugely successful RZR XP 900 with the release of the all-new Wildcat — a pure-sport off-road side-by-side that revives the name of departed muscle sled. The Wildcat has a powerful engine, trophy truck-style suspension, racer-friendly ergonomics and an “exoskeleton chassis” that’s designed to handle the toughest terrain on the planet. Digging into the specifics, Arctic Cat’s new 2012 Wildcat 1000i H.O. is powered by the same 951cc V-Twin that serves duty atop the company’s ATV lineup. Lower and wider than its Prowler side-by-sides, the Wildcat has a radical 5-link rear suspension that has a whoop-crushing 18 inches of travel, while the front dual A-arms provide 17. The shocks are from Walker Evans, with compression adjustability, as well as a two-stage spring preload adjustment.
The rugged land near Barstow, California is the ideal place to evaluate the Wildcat, and where many off-road race teams do their testing. Other key features include electric power steering to significantly tame bump steer, sharp aluminum rims, super-bright LED headlights and taillights, 14-inch rims, disc brakes at both ends, an automotive-grade paint job and a fan-cooled radiator mounted behind the seats — part of the packaging necessary to achieve the desired 40/60 front-to-rear weight balance. With a modern, aggressive design penned by Nathan Blomker — the same graphic artist behind Arctic Cat’s new snowmobile chassis, the Wildcat is a huge leap for its off-road division, and takes the brand in a much sportier direction.”
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