Its pretty astounding how much our industry has changed over the last few years and in 2013 the new 2014 models kept flying out of the design offices of top manufacturers everywhere. For 2014 Arctic Cat has stepped into the 50-inch UTV world with an all-new machine affectionately called the Arctic Cat Wild Cat Trail. We received word of this newest addition to the Thief River Falls Minnesota manufacturers stable and headed out to the majestic hills of Gateway Colorado to check it out.
At first glance without a side-by-side comparison it resembles the wilder and yes wider version of the AC family the original Wild Cat. But upon closer inspection you can immediately see that it will now possibly fit in the bed of a full size pick up. Getting the Wild Cat name means it has to be able to haul the mail and get over obstacles that other machines simply struggle with. As we were to find out this machine is very capable of doing both and in very tight quarters.
The original Wild Cat is known for its suspension and the WC Trail gets a little more than the typical 50-inch competition as well. The front dual arm suspension travels at 10 inches and the rear gives up 10.5 while both are dampened by FOX coil over gas charged shocks. Being very compact the ride was suspect to harshness but as our day progressed and we became more comfortable in the machines ability we found that this setup suits the machine just fine. The narrowness however does lend to a little bicycling from time to time in fast tight turns but this is completely understandable in a 50-inch machine. Whether slow or fast the suspension simply works well for what it is and both AC as well as FOX shocks have developed a great system here. It would be interesting to see what some compression and rebound-dampening capabilities would offer the ride but staying in a price point was on the engineer's minds also. Lets not forget the ground clearance is at ten full inches down the center so it can slip over root filled or rutted out trails with little trouble.
Stepping on the skinny pedal we found the brand new Wild Cat trail 700 engine was ready to launch. The fresh design dual cylinder engine gives up an impressive 60 ponies and combined with the electronic fuel injection the power was clean and smooth. This engine was specifically designed by Arctic Cat for the Wildcat 700. The engine and transmission combined together look to be no more that about 2.5 feet in total length which makes the compact feature and weight centralization even tighter. The WCT also maintains the bigger siblings weight distribution of 40/60 split leaving the heavy end in the rear. The CVT transmission coupled to the power plant distributes the horsepower right out the lower sides directly to the rear wheels and eliminates the use of a rear differential. This saves on power scrub typically lost in the transition from the transmission to the rear diff and then out to the wheels in turn getting more power to the ground. Team Industries teamed up with Arctic Cat to develop the proper clutching for this specific model and after driving the WCT for the day it feels pretty good. There seemed to be plenty of low-end power for crawling the rocky sections in the mountains outside Gateway Canyons and enough reserve on top to give the driver all of the usable power to make it fun. For myself it did seem as if the transmission was a bit loose in the gearing and had a little too much play but after riding hard all day it held up very well regardless.
Sitting down into the WCT you will immediately notice similarities to the original Wild Cat. The simplistic approach transfers here as there is very little in the way of exotic features but you do feel down in the machine as opposed to on the machine. A digital display with plenty of information and switches to control 4WD as well as lighting are about it. The key switch is also located in the center dash with the rest of the controls. The steering has an awesome tilt set up and it seems that you could almost stand the steering wheel straight up on its end completely out of the way. For a larger rider this is a great feature. Speaking of being the bigger rider in the bunch the cab, once I was seated, did feel just a little cramped but I worked this out as well and once the fun began I'm not sure I really noticed anymore. Overall we are excited to see the competition in the 50-inch tight trail friendly machines begin to heat up and the engineers at Arctic Cat have a hit on their hands.
This new 50-inch machine brings the east coast guys something new to cheer about and gives the enthusiast that likes the narrower spaces a choice in machines.
It is tight in the cab for a larger rider and the door seems to find the same spot on the knee as the wider version of this machine.
With a price for the base at $10,999 your $500 under the competition and with a great machine right out of the box its game on!
2014 Arctic Cat Wild Cat Trail 700
Price: $10,999 Base - $11,999 XT
Engine Type: 700cc, 4-stroke, DOHC, Twin Cylinder
Fuel system: Electronic Fuel Injection
Starting system: Electric
Drive system: 2WD/4WD + Electric Differential Lock
Transmission: Automatic Rapid Response Clutch CVT P/R/L/H
Front: Double A-Arm with 10" Wheel Travel; FOX Preload adjustable shocks.
Rear: Double A-Arm with 10.5" Wheel Travel; FOX Preload adjustable shocks.
Front: 25 x 8-12; Carlisle Trail Pro
Rear: 25 x 10-12; Carlisle Trail Pro
Front: Dual Hydraulic Disc
Rear: Dual Hydraulic Disc
Claimed dry weight: TBD
Ground clearance: 10"
Length/width/height: 110.5" x 50" x 64.3"
Fuel capacity: 7.4 gal
Cargo bed capacity: 300 lbs.
Lighting: Halogen headlamps, Red LED Tail / Brake Lights
Instrumentation: Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Coolant Temperature, Hour Meter, Service Indicator, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp Light, 1 DC Outlet