UTV TEST: 2015 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail 700

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2015?
The Wildcat 700 Trail Limited is new for 2015, and so is the closed-loop EFI. The new LTD gets an EPS unit under the dash, and it senses driver and terrain inputs to deliver kickback control. It has the most assist at low speeds but never zero assist. The new LTD joins the Trail XT in having two-tone aluminum wheels and color matched suspension arms. This makes three packages for the Wildcat Trail, with the Standard having steel rims, XTs getting aluminum wheels and automotive paint, and the LTD also getting metallic white or red paint. Ours also came with an accessory spare tire rack and soft roof.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The base Trail 700 is $11,899, the XT is $12,899 and the Limited EPS is $13,799. The 2015 Polaris RZR 900 is $12,799 or $13,499 for the camo version, while the Trail Edition with EPS, EBS and turf-mode rear diff is $14,799. The only other 50-inch sporty UTV is the $8499 Honda Pioneer 500, but it’s not nearly as fast as the Trail Cat.

HOW FAST IS THE TRAIL CAT?
It’s cat-like quick. The Team Rapid Response clutch and closed-loop EFI are tuned for cat-like reflexes, so it springs into action quickly yet smoothly. It accelerates quicker than the Wildcat Sport (tested in February) because it’s 71 pounds lighter and has 25-inch tires instead of the Sport’s 26-inch meats. It’s quick from turn to turn, and the 60-horsepower engine has a 40mm EFI throttle body. It rips.

HOW IS THE CVT DELIVERY?
Smooth and silky. The Rapid Response CVT clutch has a roller design instead of sliding elements for quicker engagement and higher performance, and it’s mated well with the engine’s EFI and ECU mapping. It’s very easy to modulate in tense rock crawling situations, and the front diff locks fully for maximum traction. It does everything well, but we did sometimes have trouble engaging low range for technical sections.

HOW TRAIL-WORTHY IS THE HANDLING?
It’s black-diamond good. Front and rear torsion bars fight body roll in turns, so it snakes through tight woods trails, and the LTD’s variable-assist EPS makes flicking it effortless. With an 84.6-inch wheelbase, the Trail Cat has 5.6 inches more than the new Polaris RZR 900 Trail, so it’s a bit more mellow in turns and more stable at speed. The Trail Cat doesn’t have the torque of the RZR 900, so it’s easier to maintain traction in the slick stuff. It also has a much lower seating position for a lower center of gravity in corners.

HOW IS THE 50-INCH’S SUSPENSION?
It’s tuned well. Fox gas shocks have good damping and spring rates for most trail conditions. Front travel is 10 inches and rear travel is 10.5 inches, so it doesn’t gobble big sand whoops
like the Sport Cat or Wildcat 1000, but the shocks do a good job of soaking up trail junk and resisting bottoming on water bars. The shocks are only preload adjustable, unlike the Sport’s JRi ECX-1 70-position compression adjustments, but Arctic Cat has accessory upgrades.

IS IT A ROCKER AND A MUDDER?
It’s more of a rocker than a mudder, as the low, 10-inch ground clearance makes it easier to get high-centered in deep mud ruts. Its CVT and airbox ducts draw air from about armpit level, so it’s good in deep creek crossings, but the Sport is a couple of inches higher for mud and extreme rock crawling. On our Zion ride with the Sport, the Trail clawed its way over
fallen logs like the taller Sport with no problems. The excellent throttle control and response, combined with the excellent CVT clutching, make it excellent in delicate crawling.

WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s excellent. The bucket seats are comfortable and provide a lot of support, and the shoulder belts are easy to adjust and latch. The tilt steering wheel is well-padded, and EPS has a lot of assist at slower speeds and just the right amount at higher speeds. A torque sensor measures driver and terrain inputs and fights bump-steer, making for a more comfortable ride in rough terrain. Quarter doors provide elbow and knee bracing without pressure points, and the passenger hand holds on the right door and center console are well-placed. The glove box has no lid to come unlatched, and the 2WD/4WD and light toggles are easy to use. The seating position is 3 inches lower than on a RZR for a sporty feel in the cab, and the seats are removable for use as camp chairs. Vibration and noise in the cabin are low too.

HOW ARE THE WILDCAT 700’S BRAKES?
Cat-like quick and sabertooth-tiger-strong. Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with stainless-steel-braided brake lines and twin-puck front calipers mean the Trail Cat can stop as quickly as it accelerates, and the lightweight (1003 pounds), four-ply Carlisle Trail Pro tires add up to quick reactions and hard braking. A Park mode in the transmission keeps it put when on a hill, but the CVT doesn’t have built-in EBS.

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
The Wildcat Trail 700 is to the woods and tight trails what the Wildcat 1000 is to deep-desert sand whoops. It’s born and bred to tackle tight trails and mountain switchbacks, and it’s as sure-footed as its longer-legged kin. While it doesn’t have the brute power of the new RZR 900, the Trail 700 smokes stock and modified RZR 800s. It has great handling and trail comfort, excellent brakes, CVT clutching and throttle response, and a sporty, ridein feel that inspires confidence on the trail.

SPECS
ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT TRAIL 700 LTD EPS

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION
Engine type ……… Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC I-twin
Displacement ………………………………………..700cc
Bore x stroke ……………………….76.9mm x 75.3mm
Compression ratio …………………………………… 10:1
Lubrication system …………………………… Wet sump
Additional cooling ………………………………………. Fan
Carburetion …………………………………….. 40mm EFI
Starting/back-up …………………………….Electric/none
Starting procedure ………………..Turn key to the right
Idle adjustment ………………………………………..None
Air filter:
Type ……………………………………………Paper pleat
Air-filter access ………… Undo 5 clips, remove cover
Transmission ……….Dual-range CVT w/reverse & EBS
Reverse procedure………. Move range selector to “R”
Drive system ………. Selectable 2WD/4WD w/diff-lock
Final drives ………………………………………….. Shafts

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS
Fuel capacity ……………………………………….7.4 gal.
Wheelbase ……………………………………………. 84.6”
Overall length/width/height ………….110.5”/50”/64.3”
Ground clearance ………………………………………. 10”
Claimed dry weight ………………………………..990 lb.
Bed weight limit………………………………….. 300 lb.
Hitch ……………………………………………..2” receiver
Towing limit………………………………………..1500 lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS
Frame …………………………………………….Steel tube
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front …………Dual A-arm w/preload adj. shocks/10”
Rear ……….. IRS A-arm w/preload-adj. shocks/10.5”
Brakes/actuation:
Front ………………………… Hydraulic discs/left pedal
Rear ………………………. Hydraulic discs/right pedal
Steering …………………EPS, rack & pinion w/tilt wheel
Tires:
Front …………………….AT25x8-12 Carlisle Trail Pro
Rear ……………………AT25x10-12 Carlisle Trail Pro

ELECTRICAL
DC outlet …………………………………………… Console
Lighting:
Front ……………………………… 2 Halogen headlights
Rear …………………………. Dual LED brake/tail lights

DETAILS
Instrumentation … Speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/gear/
clock/2WD-4WD
Colors ….Green, Red; XT, Arctic Green, Vibrant Red;
LTD, White Metallic, Vibrant Red
Minimum recommended operator age ……………… 16
Suggested retail price ……….. $11,899; XT, 12,899;
LTD, $13,799
Contact ………………….. Arctic Cat, (218) 681-8558

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