Textron Trip Reports UTV Product Reviews

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail Review

Textron Wildcat Trail

By Jon Crowley, UTV Guide

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Gateway Colorado to ride with Arctic Cat. Gateway is home to the Gateway Canyons Resort and Auto Museum which was established by Discovery Channel founder John S. Hendricks. The resort pretty much dominates the small unincorporated town of Gateway. The geography of this area is incredibly beautiful and the resort is first class.

After nearly a year of teasing us, Arctic Cat was finally ready to get us behind the wheel of their new Wildcat Trail. While the new Wildcat Trail shares much of the Wildcat’s styling, it is definitely Wildcat’s little brother. The Wildcat is much bigger and it built for bombing through the open desert and the Wildcat Trail is smaller and able to ride on trails only legal to ATVs and 50-inch or less UTVs.

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail vs. Wildcat
Wildcat Trail vs. Wildcat

Wildcat Trail vs. RZR 800

The 50-inch trail legal market segment has been dominated by the Polaris RZR 800 and Arctic Cat is aiming for a chunk of the market with the new Wildcat Trail. Both vehicles come it at 50 inches wide and under 1000 lbs. Let’s look at how some of the other features stack up:

Wildcat Trail 2011 Polaris RANGER RZR 800 EFI

Wildcat Trail vs. Polaris RZR 800


Wildcat Trail

Polaris RZR 800

Front wheel travel



Rear wheel travel



Ground clearance






Overall length



Bed capacity

300 lbs.

300 lbs.




RZR 800 vs. Wildcat Trail
Wildcat Trail is noticeably longer than the RZR 800

As you can see, the specs line up pretty close. The Wildcat Trail’s longer wheelbase, 1 inch more wheel travel and premium FOX nitrogen charged shocks will give it an advantage, but the numbers are really close.  I do really like doors instead of nets.

The biggest difference comes in the Wildcat Trail’s new engine. The new Arctic Cat designed 700 parallel-twin features EFI puts down over 60 horsepower which translates to the industry’s highest power-to-weight ratio. The power is delivered through a new Team Industries clutch that hooks up well. And the packaging of the engine and clutch is very compact. I wouldn’t doubt it if we see this sort of package in other Arctic Cat side by sides in the near future.  Maybe even a 1000 cc version for the Wildcat?

Wildcat Trail 700cc engine and Team Industries clutchArctic Cat Wildcat Trail Engine

This next generation 60-plus horsepower engine is built by Kymco and was designed specifically for the Wildcat Trail chassis and the engine feeds into the TEAM Rapid Response clutches and electronic selectable 2WD/4WD with front differential lock.

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail50-inch Wildcat Trail
Premium FOX nitrogen gas-charged shocks

Although the Wildcat Trail’s suspension cannot compare to the full-size Wildcat, I was pleased to see that it came with FOX shocks. The suspension soaked up some mildly rough terrain on the trails near Gateway and I never felt the suspension bottom out.

The Wildcat Trail seating position is 3 inches lower than the RZR 800 and it has front and rear swaybars. Even with the narrow track width, I felt fairly stable with no noticeable body roll at all even during hard cornering. But you cannot toss it into corners as you can with the full-size Wildcat.  Remember this is a trail machine!

One of the features I really liked on the Wildcat Trail is the addition information provided by the new Digital Gauge.  While everyone expects speed, fuel level and tach, the Trail’s gauge can also display battery voltage, coolant temperature and intake air temperature.  I find coolant temperature and batter voltage very important and I am glad that Arctic Cat added this to their display.

Wildcat Trail Digital GaugeWildcat Trail Digital Gauge
Wildcat Trail’s Digital Gauge displays Coolant Temp and Battery Voltage

Arctic Cat spent some time on ease of maintenance for the Wildcat Trail.  Oil filter and oil level dipstick are easily accessible behind a panel in the between the seats.  And the air filter is right at the back of the vehicle.  This might seem like a simple thing, but proper maintenance is important and if it isn’t easy to do, people tend to put it off.

Wildcat TrailWildcat Trail Air Filter
Oil Filter, Dipstick and Air Filter are Easily Accessible

The big thing you must remember about the Wildcat Trail is its intended purpose.  This is a nimble vehicle that will excel in the 50-inch trail market.  I don’t think you will see many in Glamis or hauling through the whoops in desert near Barstow. But there are many place  where 50 inch wide is the maximum, and a side by side is much more comfortable than a two-up ATV.

The Wildcat Trail is priced at $10,999, and the Trail XT comes in at $11,999. This positions the Trail $500 cheaper than the RZR. And with more power and better suspension, it might just mean that the Wildcat is poised to take slice out of the Polaris RZR’s market.

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail - 50" Trail Legal UTVArctic Cat Wildcat Trail - 50" Trail Legal UTVArctic Cat Wildcat Trail - 50" Trail Legal UTVArctic Cat Wildcat Trail - 50" Trail Legal UTV
Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail – 50″ Trail Legal UTV

After a great day on the trail, we got cleaned up then headed over to the Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum for a private tour and dinner. The museum displays illustrate over a century of automotive history in America from the 1906 Cadillac Model H Coupe to the first special 2006 Chip Foose Mustang Stallion, and a historic NASCAR Chevrolet raced by driver Jimmie Johnson.

Gateway Colorado Automobile MuseumGateway Colorado Automobile MuseumGateway Colorado Automobile MuseumGateway Colorado Automobile Museum

The museum was an incredible way to put the cap on a great trip and an awesome new vehicle.

Wildcat Trail – Leading Features:

  • 60+ horsepower 700 parallel-twin, EFI, 4-valve per cylinder liquid cooled engine
  • TEAM® Rapid Response clutches
  • High/Low/Reverse/Park with electronic 2WD/4WD/Differential Lock
  • Premium FOX® Nitrogen Charged shocks
  • Double A-arm front/rear suspension with 10/10.5 -in. of travel and front/rear swaybar
  • Easy Hinge Doors with Automotive style handles/latches
  • 2-inch rear Receiver
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • LED tail lights
  • Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • 12-in. steel wheels
  • 12-in. machined cast aluminum wheels (XT)
  • 25-in 4-ply Carlisle Trail Pro tires
  • 300-lb. rear cargo box capacity
  • Automotive-style painted bodywork (XT)
  • Color-matched two-tone seats (XT)
  • Available in Green, Lime and Red (Trail) or Team Arctic Green Metallic and Matte Black painted bodywork (XT)

Wildcat Trail Specifications:

  • ENGINE TYPE – 4-Stroke Twin Cylinder
  • BORE & STROKE (mm) – 76.9×75.3
  • COOLING SYSTEM – Liquid Cooled
  • TRANSMISSION – Rapid Response Clutch, Hi/Lo Range, Reverse & Park
  • DRIVE SYSTEM – 2/4 WD + Electric Front Differential Lock
  • OVERALL WIDTH (in./cm) – 50/127
  • OVERALL HEIGHT (in./cm) – 64.3/163.3
  • OVERALL LENGTH (in./cm) – 110.5/280.7
  • WHEELBASE (in./cm) – 84.6/214.9
  • FRONT SUSPENSION TRAVEL (in./cm) – 10/25.4
  • REAR SUSPENSION TRAVEL (in./cm) – 10.5/26.7
  • GROUND CLEARANCE (in./cm) – 10/25.4
  • FRONT SUSPENSION TYPE – Double A-Arm w/ Anti-Sway Bar
  • REAR SUSPENSION TYPE – Double A-Arm w/ Anti-Sway Bar
  • FRONT BRAKES – Hydraulic Disc
  • REAR BRAKE – Hydraulic Disc
  • FRONT TIRES – 25×8-12
  • REAR TIRES – 25×10-12
  • FUEL CAPACITY (gal./liters) – 7.4/28
  • FRONT RACK CAPACITY (lbs./kg) – NA
  • REAR RACK/BOX STORAGE CAPACITY (lbs./kg) – 300/136.1
  • TOWING CAPACITY (lbs./kg) – 1500/680.4
  • SPEEDOMETER – Digital
  • ODOMETER – Digital
  • DRY WEIGHT (lbs./kg) – Less than 1000 lbs.
  • MINIMUM OPERATOR AGE – 16 with Valid Driver’s License
  • AVAILABLE COLORS – Green, Lime, Red
  • SPECIAL FEATURES – 2 Bucket Seats, Tilt Steering, FOX Shocks, Front & Rear Sway Bar, LED Taillights, Rear 2-Inch Receiver, Rapid Response CVT System
  • MSRP – $10,999 US, $12,399 Canada

Manufacturer Info:

Arctic Cat Inc.
601 Brooks Avenue South
Thief River Falls, MN 56701

Website:  www.arcticcat.com

Phone: 218-681-8558

About Arctic Cat:
Arctic Cat Inc., based in Thief River Falls, Minn., designs, engineers, manufactures and markets all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles under the Arctic Cat® brand name, as well as related parts, garments and accessories. Its common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol “ACAT.” More information about Arctic Cat and its products is available on the Internet at www.arctic-cat.com

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply