After careful consideration and long discussions with the staff aftermarket companies and readers, we have chosen the 2018 Textron Wildcat XX as the 2018 UTV Magazine New UTV of the year. It gets the crown for several reasons. We feel the Wildcat has raised the bar as far as strength and innovation in not only the popular high performance category but across all classes. The XX has been well thought out and designed to take severe punishment.
From the double shear steering components to the long travel, rear trailing arm set up, that installs at two pick up points to eliminates the need for radius rods, the chassis is tough. Full doors and a beefy roof support give owners confidence for sure. Our favorite component of this vehicle is the Yamaha power plant. Whether using it with a manual gear box or CVT we love the power, torque, reliability and sound of the high revving triple. The CVT set up Textron used on the Wildcat XX will help it attract more buyers from coast to coast. We think Textron hit a home run with its first foray into the high performance SXS market and we can’t wait to see the the 4-seat and turbo versions that are sure to come. For now we will be happy driving the current Textron Wildcat XX, UTV Magazine’s 2018 new UTV of the year.
The list of contestants are surprisingly small for 2018 since 2017 was such a big model year. Plus, we think 2019 will have some big announcements from all of the major manufacturers along with a few surprises from the smaller ones. One year ago, the Can-Am X3 and its multiple versions who set the sport a buzz, won our contest overall.
This year Can-Am’s offering was limited to the 50” wide, Maverick Trail ($10,999) models. However, it and the 2019 60-inch wide Maverick Sport fill a gap in Can-Am’s line up and a huge need for a big chuck of the U.S. and Canadian population. It’s a solid choice. Can-Am did also announced several more great versions of the Maverick X3 including the RC and the very affordable 900 H.O in 2018.
After placing well in 2017 with the YXZ1000R, Yamaha had one in the running with the all new Wolverine X4 ($15,999) this year. It’s the only four seater in the contest. We have put a lot of time on this machine and have registered very few complaints. We love the quiet new twin cylinder engine, speed key and new look. It fits right with Yamaha’s new slogan Realize Your Adventure and we can’t wait to take more family adventures this summer in the 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4.
Polaris has two high performance machines that made their debut in 2018, the RZR RS1($13,999) single seater and the all new RZR XP Turbo S ($27,499) long travel. On the sport/recreation side, the Ranger XP1000 is new for Polaris and so is the Youth model Ranger 150 ($4999) with its innovative Ride Command safety system that features digital speed limiters, Geo fencing and a passcode protected safe start. All good products from Polaris.
While we wait for Kawasaki to jump in the high performance SXS market beyond the Teryx, they are still delivering some of the best sport Utility machines within the Mule line up. For 2018, the Mule Pro FXR ($14,999) is a stand out but is not different enough from the rest of the great Mule Pro line up to get the win. Expect much more from Team Green in the near future.
For 2018, Textron announced a redesigned Havoc sport ute that was basically a beefed up Stampede with King shocks. However, even in the sport/rec world, the Havoc was overshadowed by the Wildcat XX UTV Action Magazine’s 2018 New UTV Of The Year.
From the moment you sit in the Wildcat to the time you hit the first bump, you can tell that Textron with massive help from Robby Gordon and Todd Romano did their homework. The car feels plush and is a blast to drive. It’s comfortable driving it fast or slow on smooth roads or in the rough. We are excited that a new player came to the table with car ready to do battle with the rest of the competition right from the start. It was a great 2018 model year, but we can’t wait to see what’s coming right around the corner in 2019.