ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX

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.

ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX
The Wildcat XX returns to its Arctic Cat roots for 2020, and it is joined by the Tracker XTR1000, which is mechanically identical. It combines Trophy Truck technology, a Yamaha triple-cylinder snowmobile engine and a high-end dual-range CVT into a potent package.

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.

ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX
The D-shaped steering wheel is nice, as are the passenger hand-holds, lined inner doors and the 4-gallon glove box. Before the Teryx KRX came along, the XX had the largest cab in its class, and the driver’s seat has 6 inches of adjustment to fit drivers 5 to 6 1/2 feet tall.

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.

ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX
Ride quality on rocks and desert whoops is excellent with the Wildcat XX, and it’s a great rock crawler, despite the low race-car seating position. In fact, it’s the most race-ready production 1000 UTV with the only production race-ready cage.

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.

ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX
Arctic Cat bought the Yamaha Turbo Genesis snowmobile engine for the 211-horsepower Thundercat. A normally aspirated version powers the 130-horsepower Wildcat XX. Three 80mm pistons ride on a 66.2mm stroke, and three 41mm EFI throttle bodies feed six intake valves.

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.

ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX
With a width of 64 inches, the Wildcat XX has class-leading travel at 18 inches (only the X3 X ds Turbo has more). We got the test XX from Northern Idaho Powersports, who added an aluminum roof and front bumper.

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.

Frame tubes are 1.75 inches, and the ROPS cage has front and rear anti-intrusion bars that would pass most racing tech inspections. Front and rear travel are 18 plush inches, and there is no rear-tire scrub during travel.

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.

Like the original Wildcat 1000s, the XX has tie-rods in front like Trophy Trucks for better turning geometry and less bumpsteer. Front brake calipers are twin piston, but rears are single piston.

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.

The bed has a 300-pound capacity, and it is held in by four plastic wingnuts. Remove the bed, and the Donaldson air filter is accessed; pull the yellow tag and unscrew the lid to reach the paper filter.

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. 

SPECS:

2020 ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT XX

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke

triple

Displacement 998cc

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/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn key to right

Idle adjustment N/A

Air filter:

  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

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 10.0 gal.

Wheelbase 95.0”

Overall length/width/height 136”/64”/67.5”

Ground clearance 14.0”

Claimed curb weight 1,816 lb.

Bed limit 300 lb.

Hitch None

Towing limit 0 lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arm w/prel/comp-adj. shocks/18”

  Rear RG Pro trailing arms w/prel/comp-adj.

shocks/18”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs/left pedal

  Rear Hydraulic discs/left pedal

Steering Tilt w/EPS

Tires:

  Front 30x10R15 CST Behemoth

  Rear 30x10R15 CST Behemoth

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

  Front 2 Halogen headlights w/LED accents

  Rear 2 LED brake/tail lights

DETAILS

Instrumentation Analog/digital speed/odo/trip/hour/

rpm/fuel/gear/clock/2WD-4WD

Colors White/Fire Red, Dynamic Charcoal Grey/

Lime Green

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

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