It’s tough to argue Arctic Cat hasn’t been on the cutting edge of the snowmobile industry the last two seasons.
The manufacturing agreement struck with Yamaha for MY 2014 has changed the profile of the company in many ways, but today Cat sources engines from four different suppliers: Yamaha, Suzuki, its own engine plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota and now Kymco.
For 2016, a new line of Cats will be built for the utility segment using the same Kymco 700cc 4-stroke twin used in the company’s Wildcat Trail off-road vehicle.
This engine produces 65-horsepower, uses single throttle body EFI and delivers excellent torque.
Its primary application is in the new Bearcat 3000 LT, a completely new model based on what Arctic Cat calls its ProUte platform – a variation on a ProCross or XF.
Equipped with the new engine and using a 137-inch Slide-Action suspension, it gains rear storage from a special tunnel bag and a metal rack at the rear.
With its high windshield and stubby, mountain seat, the Bearcat 3000 opens up a whole list of opportunities for Cat to serve the utility and outdoor sportsman segment with a fuel-sipping, super-quiet 4-stroke.
Another unique application of the Kymco 700 twin is in the new Pantera 3000. This is a much lighter and more rationalized version of last year’s all-new and successful Pantera designed to serve the rental market where 4-strokes are mandatory and also meet the needs of economy-minded riders who like touring trails 2-up.
The Pantera 3000 uses Cat’s Slide-Action 137 fully coupled skid and has a bevy of nice touring amenities built-in. For instance, there’s a near-perfect-height windshield with side flares and mirrors, plenty of hard-shell rear storage, a quickly removable passenger seat and passenger handwarmers.
The advent of this new 4-stroke and its adaptation to two new models enables Cat to meet Ski-Doo’s current dominance in the low-horsepower 4-stroke marketplace with the ACE 600 very nicely.