IMPROVED HANDLING & BIGGER MOTOR MAKES FOR ONE FAST CAT
Last month in our December 2008 issue, we tested Arctic Cat’s Prowler 700. We found that the Minnesota based ATV company made big steps in building a UTV that can compete with Yamaha’s Rhino, Kawasaki’s Teryx as well as the Polaris Ranger and RZR. It turns out Arctic Cat was not yet finished with UTV improvements. This month we flew out to South Dakota to ride Arctic Cat’s new Prowler XTZ 1000 H2. We couldn’t wait to try out the largest displacement motor found in a UTV. Plus, rumors of new sport-inspired suspension geometry could make the performance-minded Prowler XTZ the new ultimate in all-around recreation. Did the new super fast cat meet our expectations, or were the AC engineer’s heads as big as the Mount Rushmore monument we passed by?
IS THAT THING A HEMI?
The Prowler XTZ 1000 H2 is the largest displacement UTV on the market. Its 951cc eight-valve, four-stroke powerplant is liquid cooled and features single overhead cams and 90-degree V-twin cylinders.
Thanks to Electronic Fuel Injection, cold weather starting and changes in elevation are no longer an issue with the big Prowler. The throttle response was very impressive. As soon as we slammed the pedal, heads flew back and we were flying down the Black Hill’s trails.
The XTZ features a Duramatic Automatic CVT Transmission that offers a long-life maintenance-free belt. Being from the snowmobile side of things, we trust Arctic Cat’s choice of a high quality product with tough belts. It offers dynamic engine braking with Low, High, Neutral and Reverse ranges.
The Prowler cockpit is laid out so that everything is at your fingertips. Two-wheel to four-wheel drive is electrically selectable with a new all-in-one 2WD/4WD/diff lock rocker switch button for quick engagement shifting. A reverse rev limit override button is located on the center console for quicker reverse speeds.
The Black Hills ride area provided us with a variety of testing grounds to prove the new 1000’s strength. On long straightaways we scared ourselves up to 75 miles per hour. If there were such a thing as too fast, this machine would beat that. Arctic Cat engineers say the plus-70 mph top-speed is barely touching the true potential of the XTZ motor. We were able to completely stop halfway up steep uphills, then punch the throttle and easily pull the 1200-pound unit to the top. In four-wheel drive, the only thing we couldn’t climb was a brick wall.
SUSPENSION & MORE
The Prowler XTZ is all tens in the suspension department, as it has ten inches of ground clearance to match its ten inches of suspension travel up front and in the rear. The front and rear gas charged shocks with monotube design are matched with double A-arms on all four corners.
Depending on the driver/passenger weight, the unit squatted two inches and provided the new chassis with a lower ride height and lower center of gravity. We felt more confident in the XTZ over last year’s 700. Even at faster speeds, we were able to corner fast and were impressed with how it managed high speed handling situations. Along with test driver Logan Holladay, we put the Prowler XTZ to the limits, and it succeeded impressively.
Some other UTV owners will probably not like the tall ride height of the XTZ. We didn’t like it at first, but after driving through deep rock sections we were very happy with the ground clearance. Where most UTVs would get hung up, the XTZ rode right over. We were flying around off cambers and launching through high-speed whoop sections, and not once did we feel tippy. Arctic Cat is definitely heading in the right direction in the UTV class.
The Prowler XTZ includes a sport bumper and fascia, all-new cast aluminum 14-inch wheels with black painted inlays, 26x9R14 Maxxis 4-speeds front tires and 26x11R14 Maxxis 4-speeds in the rear. The tires held up well in the rocky sections, and even survived a few encounters with the cacti family.
Bringing the Maxxis meats to a halt are four-wheel outboard disc brakes, as well as a hand-operated parking brake. The brakes were very impressive, including the emergency brake. We parked on a steep downhill, placed the UTV in neutral and pulled the emergency brake. Even with two 180-pound guys on board, the nearly 1250-pound unit stayed in place. The XTZ has excellent engine braking, so the brakes were barely used on descent. But slowing down from 75 mph went fairly quickly.
Dual bucket seats make the Arctic Cat UTV one of the most comfortable. Plus, the single lap belt was replaced with a three-point harness. You feel much safer over last year’s Prowler, and with that huge powerplant it is much appreciated. A center console allows you easy access to the dual plug 12V accessory outlets in the dashboard, glove box with storage door, or molded tool kit, located underneath the passenger seat.
The Prowler floors sit higher protecting your feet from the elements when in muddy terrain, or crossing rivers or mud holes. The arm rest, or side canopy supports, have a large radius for getting in and out of the UTV.
The XTZ offers a tilt bed rear end that can hold 600 pounds of payload.The rear end offers double A-arms with the same ten inches of wheel travel as the front.
The cockpit features a right hand shifter (low, high, neutral and reverse), emergency brake lever, a reverse override and 4WD switch and speedometer.
Arctic Cat puts a huge focus on storage and hauling capacities. Lift the hood on any Prowler XTZ and you will find a storage compartment that can hold 25 pounds of hunting supplies, tools, and can double as a cooler to store ice. The composite cargo bed has a brand new box for easier dumping so you can throw in 600 pounds of the harshest payloads and the Prowler won’t whimper. A dash-mounted glove box with door provides additional storage.
The Prowler has front and rear two-inch automotive style receiver hitchs that is rated for a 1500-pound towing capacity. The two-inch size is great because you can remove the hitch from your pickup truck and install it on the XTZ. It also has a single hand-operated tailgate latch like a pickup truck for easy bed access.
Arctic Cat accessories come standard in the form of nerfbars, box rails, rear view mirror, hood scoop and Pro Grip steering wheel. Digital gauges display 14 indicators including mph, odometer, dual trip, hours, clock, fuel level and gear position; it also has red display for nighttime readability. All this packaged in sunset orange metallic automotive paint that can be buffed and waxed.
HOW IT COMPARES?
If you are leaning on the fence towards one UTV or another, the $13,999 price tag attached to the Prowler XTZ 1000 might be the deciding factor. The only other UTV reaching the 14k plateau is the all-new Polaris RZR S. It doesn’t have the massive 950cc powerplant, but it does have impressive power and comes with a long travel kit with Fox suspension. You can also get the narrow trail version of the Polaris RZR for just under $11,000. Yamaha’s Rhino 700 Sport Edition is next in line at $12,399. It is fuel injected, has a custom paint job, roof, cast aluminum wheels and piggyback shocks. Kawasaki’s Teryx 750 runs for $11,999 and features a powerful 749cc V-Twin. There are plenty of other UTVs to choose from, but if you’re looking for power, these are the units to look at. For more information on every UTV, check out our UTV Buyer’s Guide in the November 2008 issue of Dirt Wheels.
If the Arctic Cat engineer’s heads were big, it was for good reason. They have made huge strides in the UTV class for 2009. We would have liked to see them make the same chassis adjustments found on the XTZ, and place them on the 700 model. The biggest Arctic Cat UTV is fast, almost too fast. But we managed to power away up, through and over any obstacle the Black Hills ride area put in our way. The Maxxis tires provided excellent traction and seem to be ultra tough. Engine braking was very impressive, and the four-wheel disc brakes were very capable as well. This is a very good UTV, but we are still not fans of the 14k price tag. Look to a future issue of Dirt Wheels for a full on UTV Shootout.
2009 ARCTIC CAT PROWLER XTZ 1000 EFI 4×4
Engine type V-Twin, SOHC,4-valve, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke 92×71.6
Cooling system liquid w/ fan
Carburetion Electronic fuel injection
Starting system Electric
Transmission Automatic CVT w/
EBS, hi/low range & reverse
Front: Dual A-arms w/ 10″ wheel travel
Rear: Dual A-Arms w/ 10″ wheel travel
Front: Double hydraulic discs
Rear: Double hydraulic discs
Overall length/width/height: 118.5″/60.0″/75″
Fuel capacity: 8.2 gal.
Rack/box/flatbed capacity: 600 lb.
Under-hood capacity: 25 lb.
Towing capacity:1500 lb.
Dry weight:1243.3 lb.
Colors: Sunset orange metallic paint