Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000i H.O Ride Review

Great looking 14″ cast aluminum wheels are found on all four corners.

Doors – the doors used on the Wildcat are great. The one button latching system worked very well and provided a secure feeling inside of the vehicle. I’m very happy to see Arctic Cat going above and beyond to build their machine to a higher safety standard. Unfortunately, the door handles on the inside of the door were right against my knee (similar on the passenger side). I left the ride with large bruises on my left knee from it bouncing off of the door and door handle, but keep in mind that I was driving this machine very hard for hours. I’m also a little taller than most, at 6’2”, so this may be a non-issue for the average rider. Overall, I give the doors an 8 out of 10.

Viewing Area – often times low seat positions compromise the driver’s ability to see the terrain in front of them. Due to the quick downward sloping angle of the front of the Wildcat, this was not an issue. Viewing area was perfect. I give the driver position a 10 out of 10.

– the OEM wheels on the Wildcat are cast aluminum and 14” tall. I run 14” wheels on my XP and love them, but I ride mostly East Coast terrain. I think a better all around wheel size would be 12”. I had a handful of situations where I felt I had punctured a tire due to a rock impacting the wheel. It also made for a fairly rough ride through the rock sections. On the flip side, running a 27” or 28” tire would probably be a good fix for this and provide some extra ground clearance if the terrain permitted. I really like the design and look of the wheels, though. It adds a lot to the flare to the vehicle. I give the wheel choice an 8 out of 10.

– the power steering was absolutely perfect, at all speeds. However, the turning radius was too large for my liking. In the desert and most West Coast terrain that will not be an issue, but on the East Coast, three point turns will be common.  Due to the power steering being so spot-on, I’m going to give more weight to that and give the steering an overall score of 9 out of 10.

The OEM exhaust provides an intimidating throaty growl that can be heard for miles in the open desert.

Exhaust – normally the exhaust would not be part of a ride review, but the sound that this exhaust gives off is great. It sounds like a small V8 race car. It definitely adds to the experience of driving this incredible machine. The exhaust is also ceramic coated to prevent corrosion and promote proper heat dissipation.

PTL (Peak Torque Limiter) – When I read this bullet point in the Arctic Cat literature, honestly I just breezed over it. At first glance, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. The PTL is basically a “slipper clutch” used to act as a fuse between the engine and transmission. It absorbs the sudden torque spike caused by staying on the gas in the air and then landing, which would normally transfer that torque spike into your driveline directly into your axles and CV joints. The slip is very brief, but a huge asset while driving at high speed. I have been through several rear axles on my XP, so I am used to lifting while in the air. This was not necessary on the Wildcat. It provided a great, confidence-inspiring ride. In my opinion, this is a huge asset to the durability and longevity of the Wildcat.

The plastic tank pictured here is the fuel tank.

Durability – let’s be frank, in the history of the Arctic Cat line, some people have said some of their vehicles are unreliable. Personally, I don’t have any experience or data to back that up. It’s sort of like the Chevy vs. Ford debate. Some are very passionate about their particular brand and hold a biased opinion toward Arctic Cat. This vehicle appears to be built from the ground up as a very solid sport-performance vehicle. Most of the parts on this vehicle are purpose built for the Wildcat. It does share the engine and transmission from a few previous models (Prowler, Thundercat, etc.), but it has proven to be potent and reliable in those respected vehicles. The particular vehicle that I drove in Barstow had already been put through several hundred miles of Barstow terrain. I would relate this to a couple of thousand miles on the trail. I can understand where some of you out there who are unfamiliar with the Barstow area would see that as an exaggeration, but ask anyone who has been there and I think they would agree with my assessment. Over the brutal pounding that this vehicle saw, it performed flawlessly, and I drove it to its absolute ragged edge for quite a while. The steering was tight. The bushings were still perfect and I didn’t notice any lose or suspect parts. I was very impressed with its durability. From my experience on this highly tested vehicle, I give the durability

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