A leader in high-performance...
A leader in high-performance snowmobiling for decades, Arctic Cat showed off its new sport quad alongside the Firecat F7, a fuel-injected, 698cc, 140-horsepower sled.
An interesting solution to...
An interesting solution to the narrow streets and limited parking opportunities in Europe, Arctic Cat's Roadster concept vehicle is being given the show treatment to gain support here in the U.S.
Who says a 600-some-pound...
Who says a 600-some-pound ATV can't get it on? The 500's host of small engine mods helps propel it to new heights.
High above poolside at Vegas'...
High above poolside at Vegas' Rio Hotel and Casino, Cat proudly displayed its new wares to sun-worshipping dealers.
As the 2003 new-model show season got underway this summer, Arctic Cat made a big splash at its annual dealer meeting in Las Vegas with the debuts of a bold-looking, preproduction sport quad, a two-passenger off-road ATV and a Euro-spec "Roadster."
Once known solely as a snowmobile manufacturer, Arctic Cat began building ATVs in 1995 and has outpaced the industry's tremendous growth every year. That said, the Thief River Falls, Minnesota-based company now sells more quads than sleds through its 1200 North American dealers.
Expanding on the utility market, which accounts for 75 percent of the industry's ATV sales, AC is finally branching out to the sporting side of four-wheeling with help from Suzuki, which owns 26 percent of the American manufacturer.
With vehicles powered by its Japanese partner's motors since day one, Arctic Cat will take the next step: using the entire platform from a current Suzuki four-wheeler to enter the sport market. Yes, underneath the Prototype Concept's mysterious matte-black facade sat an undisguised QuadSport LT-Z400.
Admittedly, the black Cat was a styling exercise mocked up to gauge dealer reaction at this three-day show in the raucous Rio Hotel and Casino. Craig Kennedy, AC's sport-model project manager, wanted to "cause a stir" with the prototype's debut and put an exclamation point on Arctic Cat's ATV line. "We went through plenty of styling iterations, but we brought this one because it is so completely different and extremely off the wall." No timeline has been set for its production.
Not to be outdone by the recently unveiled Bombardier Traxter Max two-seater, a two-up Arctic Cat, dubbed the TRV, or Two-Rider Vehicle, hit the dealer show running. Based on the new-for-2002 TBX utility model, the TRV utilizes Arctic Cat's upgraded 500 4x4 automatic power train on the TBX's extended-wheelbase chassis. But instead of the TBX's utility box out back, the TRV has luxurious passenger accommodations. Behind the rider is a separate, stepped seat, complete with a cushy, pivoting backrest, well-placed floorboards and hand rails on both sides. During a lengthy test ride in the mountains north of Vegas, we discovered the TRV opens up a totally new experience in ATVing. As a passenger ensconced in the lap of luxury, we found trail-hopping on the TRV a blast. The quad's ride quality was on par with that of a two-up snowmobile and the powerful motor handled passenger chores effortlessly.
Unfortunately, by definition, an ATV is a single-passenger, straddle-seat vehicle which rides on four rubber tires and weighs less than 606 pounds. Because the TRV creates a new class of vehicle, Arctic Cat is gambling with the U.S. government on this two-up machine. So far, it has approval from 38 of 50 state governments; California, Florida and 10 others have yet to declare the TRV legal. Nonetheless, only "a handful" of TRVs have been built for testing purposes. A total of 16 models--from a Taiwanese-made 90 to big, bold 500s--are on the slate for 2003. Although these carryover models earned many updates and three are available in Arctic Cat's lime-green racing livery, the big news at this show concerned the above-mentioned quads (which don't have U.S. release dates) and Cat's groundbreaking MultiRack Platforms. These multipurpose front and rear racks were designed to accept 25 different accessories aimed at big game, camping, construction, farming, fishing, ranching and waterfowl use.
Keep tuned to ATV Rider for more Arctic Cat developments.