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RETURN OF THE POLARIS XLT

RETURN OF THE POLARIS XLT

We’re not going to beat around the bushes with this one. Polaris is on a roll with the intro of the new Indy XC platform and the arrival of its impressive Patriot 850 engine.

Naturally, a company that is showing sufficient fire in its gut to take on the way-out-front industry leader, Ski-Doo, with both a potent 850 mill and a credible challenge to the benchmark rMotion rear suspension, requires us to postulate what might be next on the Polaris product agenda.

Here are some observations: The cost to tool a new 4-stroke snowmobile engine is formidable - maybe too high for Polaris at the current share of market it possesses. However, Polaris literally owns the off-road biz with a share that’s rumored to be in excess of 50-percent. Stay with us – this gets interesting.

The Pure Sport high performance SxS marketplace has been on a three year escalation of power beginning with normally aspirated 4-stroke twins (Polaris) and triples (Can-Am and Yamaha). Two years ago the gloves came off and Polaris added a turbocharger to its ProStar engine line-up and pushed power to the high 160 pony level from a one litre twin. Can-Am has boosted its Maverick SxS to the mid-170 level using a triple, too.

Forgive us for dealing in speculation (it’s what we do) but it would seem Polaris Offroad may need to invest in another pure Sport SxS 4-stroke engine platform (ideally a triple) to ensure it continues to dominate this profitable sales segment.

Ka-ching! Are the lights going on? Polaris’ snowmobile division needs to be in the 4-stroke biz – right now. According to some sources, a twin cylinder 4-stroke won’t cut it in a snowmobile application where WOT runs are the norm and 130-hp is where Polaris needs to enter the 4 stroke biz. If the off-road division needs a new triple, then two plus two equals, you got it – 4-stroke snowmobile power!

Will this logical possibility become reality? Polaris currently has the chassis and accoutrements to mount a serious challenge in the 2-stroke marketplace in MY 2019.

For MY 2020 it would be perfect timing (wouldn’t it?) for the re-emergence of the XLT – only this time it might be an extra light 4-stroke triple that changes the rules. Stay tuned!