If you’ve been sitting on the fence wondering what the payback on a new EPA certified sled will look like, listen up. We’ve focused as much attention as possible on economy this winter, tracking carefully the fuel usage of our press fleet.
Here’s what we’ve come to realize. Most 120 horsepower sleds, including the 4-stroke Vector and Ski-Doo SDI 2-strokes, will get an honest 20-22 mpg under a variety of conditions.
Remember, it’s nearly impossible to compare fuel economy generated on different days and different terrain. Cars run on pavement all the time, we run on hard-pack, powder, fresh snow, lakes and unpacked trails all in one season. What’s important are the numbers generated nose-to-nose, day-to-day with competitive sleds and the fuel mileage totals over a number of days riding on varying terrain.
Some notable gas savers in our fleet are the Ski-Doo MX-Z 1000 Renegade and the Yamaha Apex. The 1000 SDI 2-stroke can generate 18 to 20 mpg consistently. The Apex comfortably serves up 20 to 22 mpg.
These are real world numbers we’ve seen consistently this winter. Compare these numbers to sleds producing similar power just five years ago and the improvement here is nothing short of staggering.
We can remember doing back flips when an 800cc sled would deliver 10-12 mpg! Every once in a while a 600 would pull off a 15 mpg average and we felt good about it. Today’s highly sophisticated EPA certified engines produce amazing fuel economy as a spin-off benefit of cleaner exhaust emissions.
In our books, there’s no more remarkable snowmobile powerplant in MY 06 than Ski-Doo’s Power Tek (carbureted!) Series III Rotax twin. This engine uses a knock sensor, a variation of the HAC system and tight mapping to produce sick mileage, unbelievably close to the SDI 1000’s economy.
Polaris has impressed us with the fuel efficiency of its 600 2-stroke twin. This uncertified engine uses a sophisticated control system including electronically triggered exhaust valves and a knock sensor. The results of this kind of tight engine management have resulted in impressive fuel economy improvements.
In our testing we’ve seen the Polaris 600 HO deliver over 20 mpg and never drop below 18 mpg. It makes us wonder if Polaris called up a few more tweaks, perhaps the engine could match Ski-Doo’s 600 SDI for mileage.
Next year you can buy a Polaris 600 HO with CFI (Cleanfire Injection) and we anticipate it’ll produce even better economy. Maybe all this EPA stuff isn’t so bad. After all, Polaris is claiming its new 600 CFI mill generates 5 more ponies than the current carbed 600 HO.