Arctic Cat’s Wildcat 1000s led to the collaboration between Arctic Cat engineers and Robby Gordon to develop the Arctic Cat Wildcat XX, the most technologically advanced sport UTV of 2018. The XX bristled with Trophy Truck technology and mated the Yamaha YXZ1000R triple-cylinder engine with a TEAM Rapid Response CVT. For 2019, the Textron Wildcat XX was bumped to 130 from 125 horsepower, making it the horsepower king of the normally aspirated 1000cc UTV class. It has proven itself in desert and short-course racing, and we got a chance to test it again at Sand Hollow State Park.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020?
New seats were also news in 2019, adding comfort and support. For 2020 the Wildcat XX returns to the iconic Arctic Cat name brand with a price reduction of $1,800, with a new MSRP of $18,899. It comes in Charcoal Metallic with Lime Green or White with Fire Red. Our test model was actually a white 2019, so graphics are the only difference. Performance is identical to the 2020. While the XX comes with four CST Behemoth 30x10R15tires on KMC beadlock wheels, our test unit had ITP 33x10R15 Coyotes on ITP beadlock rims.
The Wildcat XX is available with dealer-installed Adventure, Discover and/or Enforcer accessory kits. The Adventure kit includes an aluminum roof, polycarbonate front and rear windshields, and a rear-view mirror. The Discover kit includes kick-panel and shoulder bags, a spare tire holder, spare tire and a 36-inch LED light bar with ROPS bracket. The Enforcer kit includes front and rear black bumpers and side rails.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Wildcat XX sells for $18,899. The Honda’s Talon 1000X is $19,999, while Kawasaki Teryx KRX1000 is $20,999. Polaris’s RZR XP1000 starts at $18,599 and jumps to $20,599 for the Premium Edition and $23,599 for the Rock & Trails Edition. Yamaha’s YXZ1000R is $18,999 and $20,699 for the Special Edition, while Sport Shift YXZs are $18,999 to $21,699 for the XT-R. Bass Pro Shops sells the Tracker XTR1000, which is identical to the Wildcat XX, for $17,999.
HOW FAST IS THE WILDCAT?
Very fast. The three-cylinder, 998cc engine powers the XX to a 75-mph top speed in High, and it pins you to the seat with acceleration. It’s fun power, and the CVT and EFI tuning maps are mellow for slow rock-crawling or tight trails. While there are faster (turbo) UTVs out there, the trail speeds the XX reaches due to the suspension and handling are a game-changer. It’s also got more bottom-end power than the YXZ1000R.
HOW IS THE CVT/4WD DELIVERY?
It’s smooth like the suspension. The CVT engages quickly yet predictably, and it’s matched well with the fly-by-wire EFI throttle map. It rips from a standing start when you mat the pedal, and it doesn’t do anything weird in tight situations. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock switch locks the XX in diff-lock mode, and servos carry out commands quickly. There isn’t an engine-braking system (EBS) in the CVT, though. Feed it a little throttle on downhills to keep the belt engaged.
WHAT ABOUT HANDLING?
It’s cat quick. The XX is low-slung like a YXZ1000 and corners very well, but it has a lot of body roll, despite front and rear torsion bars. The plush suspension settings cause the body roll, so the car wants to take a set before powering out of turns. It is unrivaled on rough straights; the rougher, the better the Wildcat works. Lack of tire scrub during travel and geometry give it much more trail speed and stability at speed than most 1000s.
HOW’S THE XX SUSPENSION?
Plushest in class. Suspension design was by Robby Gordon, and the RG Pro wishbone trailing arms have no links to drag or bend, and mounting is double-shear. They can be swapped side to side, so racers can stock less spares. Front and rear travel is 18 inches, and it’s super plush. The Fox Podium 2.5 QS3 shocks work best set at full hard in the rear and in the medium position up front. The lack of tire scrub during travel helps tracking at speed, as do the dual torsion bars. Dune enthusiasts and racers will likely find the shocks too soft, even with Bottom-Out Control on the rear shocks; we tested the Shock Therapy Wildcat XX upgrades in February 2020.
HOW IS IT IN MUD AND ROCKS?
Excellent. With the dual-range CVT, the XX is a much more capable rock crawler than even the sport-shift YXZ. It articulates well despite front and rear torsion bars. It’s sure-footed and confidence-inspiring in slick rock formations. The XX has the power to turn 33s as well, so our test unit had 15.5 inches of clearance at the skid plate. Half doors and aggressive tires make it perform well in mud, too. Mud enthusiasts will likely want to add fender flares, though, and a roof.
WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s super comfortable. The seats are comfortable and secure, and they are 4-point or Click-6 harness ready. Vibration is low, and the exhaust note is pleasant. We like the plastic passenger hand-hold on the dash and doors, and the ample elbowroom provided by the lined doors. The gauges are easy to read, and the D-shaped steering wheel is nice, but the nubs for thumbs-up driving are too thick. Seats adjust to fit a wide variety of sizes, but taller riders will find it hard to get in and out of the XX. Ride quality is excellent with plush suspension settings, and the suspension design eliminates tire scrub during travel, so it’s easier to drive in rough terrain.
Off the trail, the XX was designed to be very easy to work on. The frame is designed with front and rear drop-outs for easy access to the front diff and engine/CVT/transmission and transaxle, which is easily removed with six bolts. The cargo-box bed has tool-less removal for access to the Donaldson-type paper air filter on top of the engine, while the large CVT cover has clips for tool-less removal and access to the TEAM clutch. The Wildcat is pre-wired for up to eight accessories and has a 470-watt 65-amp alternator.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Dual-piston front and single-piston rear Hayes calipers squeeze solid rotors, but there is no EBS assist. Trailing throttle on steep descents keeps the CVT belt engaged for four-wheel compression braking.
WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Although largely unchanged since its introduction in 2018, the Arctic Cat Wildcat XX is a solid performer that keeps getting better as the price drops. It handles and runs so well that the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series mandated that XX racers add 50 pounds more weight than the YXZ1000 and 225 more than RZR 1000s. The suspension offers the plushest ride of any 64-inch UTV, and cabin comfort is second only to the Teryx KRX. We like it.
2020 ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke 80m x 66.2mm (x3)
Compression ratio 11.3:1
Lubrication system Dry sump
Additional cooling Twin fans
Induction 41mm EFI throttle body (x3)
Starting procedure Turn key to right
Idle adjustment N/A
Type Paper cylinder
Access Undo four fasteners, pull yellow tab &
rotate end cap
Transmission Dual-range CVT w/rev.
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD/4WD/diff-lock
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity 10.0 gal.
Overall length/width/height 136”/64”/67.5”
Ground clearance 14.0”
Claimed curb weight 1,816 lb.
Bed limit 300 lb.
Towing limit 0 lb.
Frame Steel tube
Front Dual A-arm w/prel/comp-adj. shocks/18”
Rear RG Pro trailing arms w/prel/comp-adj.
Front Hydraulic discs/left pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left pedal
Steering Tilt w/EPS
Front 30x10R15 CST Behemoth
Rear 30x10R15 CST Behemoth
DC outlet Console
Front 2 Halogen headlights w/LED accents
Rear 2 LED brake/tail lights
Instrumentation Analog/digital speed/odo/trip/hour/
Colors White/Fire Red, Dynamic Charcoal Grey/
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $18,899
Contact Textron Off-Road, (800) 774-3946
See how to win free Obor tires here! WIN FREE OBOR TIRES | UTV Action Magazine
See UTV Action’s test on Speed’s modified Wildcat XX here: https://utvactionmag.com/build-speed-77-wildcat-xx/
See more Arctic Cat UTVs here: https://arcticcat.txtsv.com