July 2, 2007 – Arctic Cat headlines 2008 with its ThunderCat
July 2, 2007
Filed under Features
Arctic Cat for 2008 has an aggressive product line both in terms of product offerings and with the largest displacement ATV from any manufacturer. By larger displacement, we’re talking 200cc by class definition.
The new Arctic Cat ThunderCat is short of liter-status by a mere 50cc. The company’s new 950cc V-twin has a hearty growl that made its world premier doing a smoky burnout.
For 2008, Arctic Cat has four new engines that appear in the lineup that creates six new models: the ThunderCat H2, the 700EFI H1, 700 EFI TRV Plus LE, 700 Diesel Super Duty, the Prowler XTX and a downsized small displacement 366 4x4.
There are 13 returning models for utility, sport and youth segments.
“We wanted to build the quickest ATV from corner to corner. End of story,” said Craig Kennedy, Arctic Cat’s engineering product manager.
The engine is a 950cc single overhead cam, four-valve V-twin. There are no reports of a horsepower figure, and factory officials were guarded about the ThunderCat’s top speed.
The ThunderCat’s rear axle location is moved 2.5 inches rearward; though overall vehicle length is identical to the H1 700 models, which carry more than the 84.8 inches from the previous 650s.
The ThunderCat’s suspension has about an inch of sit-in, which lowers the static stature by the same measure. The ground clearance spec decreases to 11 inches at the same time, but the suspension still carries 10 inches of wheel travel. Company officials said to expect a better handling and more compliant machine.
Kennedy also pointed out that rider position played a big part of the body-roll-when-cornering complaints. As a solution, a new seat lowers rider position about an inch.
700 EFI H1
Arctic Cat unveiled its new 700 EFI H1 machine with help from its Team Arctic racers. The machine shares a race-bred suspension with the ThunderCat. The racers who compete in the World PowerSports Association utility-oriented Quad Terrain Challenge realized the ride-in benefits, so the goal of improved handling and stability are expected to reach consumers on the new 700 EFI H1. Its metallic silver painted cab sits 1-inch lower than the 650 model.
Built at the company’s new St. Cloud, Minn., facility, the 700-class engine is a 695cc dual overhead cam four-valve single with all the benefits of EFI.
The 700 EFI H1 has a new rack design that shaves weight. Some dealers were disappointed with taking away some of the rack function, but Cat says there were lots of customers who weren’t benefiting from the full function of the Speedrack design. It still allows drop and go ease and versatility, but there are fewer receivers. The new, lighter rack is common across the utility-machine board, including the ThunderCat.
700 TRV Plus LE
The same 700 EFI package is on a new premium touring model, the TRV Plus LE. It has a winch, windshield, premium wheels and covered passenger handholds. It comes in black, and is touring and work ready, falling under the TRV “3 machines in 1” benefits. It has provisions for the passenger seat as well as the utility cargo box.
The new workhorse is the 700 Diesel.
The 700 Diesel has performance similar to Cat’s 400 automatic, Kennedy said. Where the machine excels is mileage. Arctic Cat says the diesel is up to 50 percent more efficient than a comparable gas ATV. In addition to its efficiency, the engine can burn six different forms of fuel, including biofuel.
It comes in the TRV chassis so it can accommodate a passenger seat or the utility box on its Speedrack system for versatility.
366 4x4 Automatic
The new 366 4x4 Automatic applies to both the 350 and 400 classes with its 366cc 4-valve single. Many consumers, especially women, liked the features and ride of Cat’s machines like the 400 4x4 Automatic, but they felt its dimensions were too large, said David Vigen, a design engineer at Arctic Cat.
Compared to the 400 4x4 Auto, the 366 is narrower, lower and shorter. The seat is low, so riders sit into the machine more than the other Cat ATVs, which can be more welcoming and confidence inspiring. The feeling from the targeted foot, hip and hand locations should offer confidence as well.
Though smaller, the machine still encompasses traditional full-size features. The 366 has an automatic CVT with EBS, double A-arm front suspension and single A-arms work the rear tires over terrain. Suspension travel is 7 inches all the way around and ground clearance is 10 inches.
Though the 366 is made in Taiwan for Arctic Cat by KYMCO, Vigen said every part of the machine was designed by Arctic Cat. For those who still want the performance or price of a 400-class machine in the full chassis size, Cat still has the 400 4x4 Automatic in the model lineup.
The Prowler XTX comes in silver paint to set it apart, and it also gets the new 700 EFI engine as an upgrade to the Prowler XT. The driveline is different from the other Prowlers with a turf saver feature in the rear differential.
The new rear diff is just like what comes in Detroit’s pickups. The mechanical system uses a clutch pack to engage both rear wheels when one of them is spinning faster. This means the differential stays open unless there is a traction loss.
The Prowler XTX also comes with a tilt wheel for improved ergonomics and a rear view mirror is standard.