UTV TEST: Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 4X EPS

Arctic Cat has upgraded the four-seat Wildcat 4X 1000 with a new closed-loop EFI system, new exhaust and new tires for 2016. We had a chance to test the White Metallic machine at Moab’s Rally on the Rocks. Moab has a wide variety of obstacles and terrain types, including sand dunes and fast sand washes. Here’s how the Wildcat 4X did.

With 17 inches of front travel and 64-inch width, the Wildcat 4X with variable-assist EPS tames the toughest terrain, and LED headlights extend the fun past dusk. Our unit was fitted with Assault’s heavy-duty, billet-aluminum Turret tie-rods ($299.99).
With 17 inches of front travel and 64-inch width, the Wildcat 4X with variable-assist EPS tames the toughest terrain, and LED headlights extend the fun past dusk. Our unit was fitted with Assault’s heavy-duty, billet-aluminum Turret tie-rods ($299.99).

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2016?
For 2016 the Wildcat 1000 4X EPS gets 27-inch Duro PowerGrip tires for more traction and durability, and it’s the only four-seat sport offering. Twoseat 1000s get Limited and Special Edition versions with high-end Elka Stage 5 shocks. All Wildcat 1000Xs get the new closed-loop EFI for 2016 with a ceramic-coated exhaust system. Output is 90-plus horsepower. New LED headlights put out 216 lumens on low beam and 384 lumens on high. Also for 2016, 1000X models sport JRi 2.5 ECX-1 compressiondamping-adjustable shocks, which have a 70-position needle/seat adjustment on the shock shaft instead of in the reservoir for better oil flow.

HOW DOES THE COST COMPARE?
The Wildcat 1000 4X EPS is $20,999. The Can-Am Maverick Max 1000 X ds is $21,499, and the Maverick Max DPS is $19,449. The Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 EPS is $22,299, and the High Lifter Special Edition is $25,699. The Kawasaki Teryx4 800 EPS is $15,799 to $16,999, while Honda’s Pioneer 1000-5 is $16,199 to $17,999.

We got a chance to try out the 2016 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 4X at Moab’s Behind the Rocks trail, and the longer wheelbase of the four-seat ’Cat makes it super stable at speed and fun to drift in dunes and sandy two-track trails.
We got a chance to try out the 2016 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 4X at Moab’s Behind the Rocks trail, and the longer wheelbase of the four-seat ’Cat makes it super stable at speed and fun to drift in dunes and sandy two-track trails.

HOW FAST IS THE 1000 4X?
Fast enough to be fun. While the 90-horsepower V-twin is sporty in the two-seat ’Cat, four people bog down the 4X in the dunes—compared to the 110-horsepower RZR XP 4 and 101-horsepower Maverick Max. On harder ground, the 4X is a hoot to drift into turns and powerslide out, and it has plenty of power for rock crawling in low range. We got 70 mph out of it in high, and low is governed to 40 mph max.

HOW IS THE CVT/4WD DELIVERY?
Confidence-inspiring. The Team Rapid Response clutch lives up to its name with cat-quick engagement that takes some time to get used to in delicate rock-crawling situations, but it’s great for foot-stomp launches. It also jumped out of low a couple of times. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock toggle is easy to use, and servos engage 4WD and diff-lock instantly. An indicator lights up on the toggle lights when in diff-lock mode, which is like having retractable claws.

The Team Rapid-Response clutch and EFI tuning work well together, even in heavy rock crawling, and the sealed airbox draws air at radiator level above the bed. Twin fans keep coolant cool, and our accessory Elkas also had dual-rate springs with crossover rings for a super-plush ride.
The Team Rapid-Response clutch and EFI tuning work well together, even in heavy rock crawling, and the sealed airbox draws air at radiator level above the bed. Twin fans keep coolant cool, and our accessory Elkas also had dual-rate springs with crossover rings for a super-plush ride.

WHAT ABOUT HANDLING?
It’s agile and predictable. With a 10-foot, 4-inch wheelbase, the 4X is super stable and slow-turning. Savvy drivers get more cornering performance by coming into turns hot and drifting the rear end out for tighter turning, whether in 2WD or 4WD. With a 40/60 weight distribution, the front end is light for turns, so chopping the throttle also helps load the front end and lighten the rear. It goes straight like it’s on rails with all that suspension travel.

Arctic Cat is the only manufacturer to place tie-rods in front on Wildcat 1000s, like the setup on desert Trophy Trucks, and the EPS unit sits over the steering rack. Arctic Cat accessory 10-gauge aluminum front A-arm guards are $199.95 and rear aluminum trailing-arm guards are $279.95
Arctic Cat is the only manufacturer to place tie-rods in front on Wildcat 1000s, like the setup on desert Trophy Trucks, and the EPS unit sits over the steering rack. Arctic Cat accessory 10-gauge aluminum front A-arm guards are $199.95 and rear aluminum trailing-arm guards are $279.95

HOW’S THE WILDCAT SUSPENSION?
Excellent. With 17 inches of front travel and five-link suspension producing 18 inches of rear travel, the 4X gobbles up whoops like Oprah does bonbons. We like the ride quality and adjustability of the JRi ECX-1 shocks, but the unit we drove at Moab had totally custom Elka Stage 5 shocks with larger reservoirs, revised pistons and extensive internal modifications. The ride was awesome, as the 4X ignored trail junk like a hovercraft.

The Wildcat 4X tackles rock-crawling obstacles with sure-footedness, and the locking front diff hooks it up on gnarly climbs. Our 4X had an accessory poly-molded roof ($599.95), folding glass windshield ($899.95), bed trunk bag ($219.95) and spare tire carrier ($299.95).
The Wildcat 4X tackles rock-crawling obstacles with sure-footedness, and the locking front diff hooks it up on gnarly climbs. Our 4X had an accessory poly-molded roof ($599.95), folding glass windshield ($899.95), bed trunk bag ($219.95) and spare tire carrier ($299.95).

IS IT A ROCK HAMMER?
You bet. Articulation is excellent, and the extra wheelbase makes rock crawling much more fun in most conditions. Some ledges will high-center the 4X, but 13 inches of ground clearance and 18 inches of travel make it sure-footed on rocks. Low range and diff-lock put the “crawl” in rock crawling.

HOW IS IT IN DEEP MUD?
Messy. The low seating position that’s great for overall handling isn’t great for deep mud, and the front fenders don’t stop much front-wheel roost (Arctic Cat has accessory front WC fenders for $399.95 and rear fender flares for $169.95). Mud enthusiasts will want high-clearance rear link rods too. Our test unit had Assault link rods and tie-rods, ARS-FX lower links, and an accessory front windshield and roof, keeping splashes out of the cab.

Tall bucket seats can be removed for use around camp, but running accessory harnesses through the ’Cat’s seats would complicate that benefit. The seats are comfortable, but the shoulder belts can chafe necks.
Tall bucket seats can be removed for use around camp, but running accessory harnesses through the ’Cat’s seats would complicate that benefit. The seats are comfortable, but the shoulder belts can chafe necks.

WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s mostly good. The tilt steering wheel is comfortable, as are the removable seats. Quarter doors are better than nets for confidence, but the 4X driver’s door has a domed nut that digs into the left knee, and the plastic latch levers are weak. The low seating position makes it hard to get in and out of the cab, and the shoulder belt chafes.

HOW ARE THE BRAKES?
The twin-piston hydraulic calipers are strong, and feel at the pedal is good. The brakes are backed up by four-wheel engine braking, but the rotors are not perforated as on a RZR or Maverick. Park mode in the transmission handles parking on uneven ground.

Rear travel is 18 inches, and the 4X had no trouble turning larger 29-inch Bighorns. Duro Power Grip 27-inch tires come stock on the 4X, and the only place we saw a power drop was in wet dune sand. Our unit had high-clearance ARS-FX lower links ($329) and Assault Barrel upper links ($299.99).
Rear travel is 18 inches, and the 4X had no trouble turning larger 29-inch Bighorns. Duro Power Grip 27-inch tires come stock on the 4X, and the only place we saw a power drop was in wet dune sand. Our unit had high-clearance ARS-FX lower links ($329) and Assault Barrel upper links ($299.99).

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
If you’re looking for great ride quality for a family of four, the Wildcat 1000 4X EPS delivers that and a lot more. It has the most travel on the market and plush, adjustable shocks to smooth out hideous terrain. Variable-assist EPS and 40/60 weight distribution lightens steering, and the long wheelbase provides plenty of stability, even when sliding around loose corners.

The 4X works very well in a wide variety of conditions, from extreme rock crawling to desert whoops and sand dunes, and it does so with a smooth ride for the passengers.

wld4x9_dsc_4723

2016 ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT 1000 4X EPS
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION
Engine type …… Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC, 4-stroke
V-twin
Displacement ………………………………………….951cc
Bore x stroke ………………………..92m x 71.6mm (x2)
Compression ratio ………………………………….. 10.5:1
Lubrication system …………………………….. Wet sump
Additional cooling ………………………………….Twin fans
Induction …………………………. 50mm EFI throttle body
Starting/back-up ………………………………Electric/none
Starting procedure ……………………… Turn key to right
Idle adjustment ……………………………………………N/A
Air filter:
Type ………………………………………….Paper cylinder
Access ………………………………………Undo five clips
Transmission ……………. Dual-range CVT w/ rev. & EBS
Reverse procedure………… Move range selector to “R”
Drive system …….Selectable 2WD/4WD/4WD diff-lock
Final drives ……………………………………………. Shafts
DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS
Fuel capacity ………………………………………… 8.8 gal.
Wheelbase ………………………………………………. 124”
Overall length/width/height ………………157”/64”/70.5”
Seat height …………………………………………….. 26.5”
Ground clearance ………………………………………… 13”
Claimed dry weight ……………………………….1,558 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/17”
Rear …………………… IRS 5-link 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 …………………………. 27x9R14 Duro Powergrip
Rear ………………………… 27x11R14 Duro Powergrip
ELECTRICAL
DC outlet …………………………………………….. Console
Lighting:
Front ……………………………………..2 LED headlights
Rear ………………………………. 2 LED Brake/tail lights
DETAILS
Instrumentation ….. Analog/digital speed/odo/trip/hour/
rpm/fuel/gear/clock/2WD-4WD
Colors ……………………………………….. White Metallic
Minimum recommended operator age ……………….. 16
Suggested retail price …………………………… $20,999
Contact ……………………. Arctic Cat, (218) 681-8558

You might also like

Comments are closed.