2019 ARGO XTVs

— Checking out the new go-anywhere machines —

Argo has been producing Xtreme Terrain Vehicles (XTVs) in Ontario, Canada, for more than 50 years, and most of its XTVs are amphibious. This has attracted hunters, first responders, government agencies, militaries from around the world, and even NASA to its six- and eight-wheeled off-road vehicles. Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) built its first six-wheel Amphicat in 1962, and by 1967, ODG was mass-producing the Argo, which is short for the Argonaut of Greek mythology. So, for 2019, Argo expands its Frontier, Conquest and Avenger series and introduce the all-new Aurora and Bigfoot series.

All-new Aurora 800 8×8 XTVs are the only Argos to sport left-side steering like conventional UTVs, and the new-for-2019 Argo Progressive Steering (APS) allows them to steer more like UTVs. Aurora 800s are also the only Argos with multi-panel upper bodies and new ATV-like steering and gauges. Check out “Behind the Wheel” and www.argoxtv.com to see how you can experience a free three-day weekend for four with Argo XTVs and ATVs!

Aurora-series XTVs have so many innovations and upgrades that they only look like the three existing series. The all-new Aurora line includes the 800, 800 SX, 800 SX Hunt Master, 800 Limited and 950 SX. The all-new Bigfoot Series includes the 800 MX6 and 800 MX8 mud machines with mud tires, Jensen stereos and many innovations and upgrades from the Aurora line.

Aurora, Avenger (shown) and Bigfoot MX XTVs sport the liquid-cooled, 30-horsepower, EFI, V-twin, heavy-duty CVT belt and Admiral transmission with left-/right-steering Hayes disc brakes. The transmission outdrives turn the second wheels, and Hayes service brakes stop them, while jackshafts and chains control the other four to six wheels.


Argo strived to make the all-new Aurora series more like conventional UTVs with new ergonomics, including left-hand steering, start-in gear with upgraded controls, in-dash shifting, analog/digital gauges, a new body with automotive-style hood latch, dual-bench seating, projector headlights, LED taillights, new tires and bead-lock rims, and new insulation for the 30-horsepower, liquid-cooled OHV or 40-horsepower, fan-cooled, 993cc V-twin engines.

The 6×6 Frontier 600 costs $8999 and sports an 18-horsepower, non-EFI, fan-cooled, V-twin engine, while the Frontier 650 8×8 sports a 23-horsepower, EFI, fan-cooled V-twin and lists for $14,999. The 750 Scout 8×8 is the premier Frontier model with a 26-horsepower EFI V-twin. We found it best to sit in the center when traversing deep water.

Admiral CVTs transfer power to eight new 25-inch, 30-paddle tires via three differentials with left- and right-side brake rotors for steering and jackshafts to chain-drive six of the eight tires. Admiral dual-range CVTs come in either High-Torque or Standard transmissions, with HTs having a top high-range speed of 17 mph/27 kph and STs topping out at 20 mph/32 kph. Aurora XTVs also get Argo Progressive Steering (APS), which steers like an automobile with minimal input and like a skid-steer machine with more steering input. The APS system uses two Hayes brake master cylinders with spring preload on each, and the springs provide less left/right steering braking until they reach coil binding, providing more progressive steering.

Bigfoot MX mud machines are Avenger-based with aggressive mud tires, a 3500-pound Warn winch, Jensen stereo, bilge pump, skid plate and axle-bearing extensions. Both the MX6 and MX8 are powered by a 747cc Vanguard liquid-cooled V-twin with EFI and a 40-amp alternator; towing is 1200 pounds, and the MX6 weighs 950 pounds.

All this rides up front, and the Aurora line has multiple body panels instead of a one-piece upper body like the Frontier, Conquest and Avenger models. The Aurora boasts a new dash with F/N/R shifter, high-/low-range selector and an ATV-style gauge. The handlebar also includes a left-side cluster with e-start button, light switch, kill switch and brake master cylinder with parking brake. Aurora models also have a trigger throttle like a PWC, while existing lines have a twist throttle. Only Auroras have start-in-gear capability.

The base 800 sports steel rims with new XT117 tires, while the 800 SX, 800 SX Hunt Master and 950 SX have steel beadlock rims and XT117 tires. All Auroras but the base 800 have a 3500-pound winch with synthetic rope and brush guard, and the 800 Limited sports aluminum dual beadlock rims. Beadlocks allow running tire psi at 1.5–1.7 for better ride quality, and the new rims can be reversed for running treads, greatly cutting down on conversion time.

All other Argo models have the handlebars and controls on the right, like a boat, while some commercial Conquest Pro models have a slide and locking steering stem for steering anywhere.

Sporting the old-school, three-piece, vacuum-formed bodies, the Avenger 800s are powered by a 30-horsepower, liquid-cooled, EFI-fed V-twin with an Admiral HT or ST transmission. The Avenger 800 Hunt Master upgrades to Breakup Country or the Shadow Grass Blades Camo pattern, a 3500-pound Warn winch, brush guard, front rack, high-back bench seat and aluminum beadlock rims.
The Aurora 950 SX is the Argo flagship, and it sports a 40-horsepower Vanguard (B&S) 933cc V-twin with a 50-amp alternator and fan cooling, plus an Admiral transmission with choice of HT or ST gearing. It’s at home on 60-inch trails and in deep water, and it tows 1800 pounds with seating for four.


Bigfoot 800s sport a 30-horsepower, EFI-inducted, liquid-cooled V-twin with attached radiator and belt drive for the Admiral transmission with High-Torque gearing but no APS. The transmission is very complex, with dual-side brake rotors to provide steering on the top drive shafts and separate diffs on two output shafts, which rotate with a 3:1 ratio in high. Trick aluminum bead-lock rims clamp six or eight aggressive 25-inch mud tires, and Bigfoots also sport a Jensen audio system with marine-grade speakers, a 3500-pound Warn winch with steel rope, and a heavy-duty brush guard for the winch and headlights. 

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