Minneapolis-based analyst Mark E. Smith of Feltl and Company recently pitted the Polaris RZR XP 900 side-by-side against the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000i H.O. in a "unscientific" comparative test drive. In a research note provided to Powersports Business on Wednesday, Smith gives the edge to the RZR XP.
According to the note, Smith tested the vehicles "in the desert in rural Idaho and drove through rocky terrain, steep climbs, forded streams and on straight roads to test speed, handling, suspension and power."
The result? "The Wildcat gives tough competition, but we think the RZR XP is a better overall machine," Smith said.
Here's Smith take:
"Beginning with overall speed, both machines seemed comparable at both the bottom- and top-ends of our unscientific test rides. Acceleration and top speed are impressive. We tend to think, and hope, the speedometers were giving faulty readings given our exceptional speed through rough terrain (70+ mph).
- Through rough terrain we think the Wildcat has a superior suspension with a much smoother ride. Chasing antelope through the desert at high speeds we found the Wildcat gave superior comfort over whoops and bumps. The RZR's 14 inches of suspension travel are impressive, but don't hold up compared to the Wildcat's 18 inches of travel over very rough terrain at high speeds.
- However, overall handling easily goes to the RZR with its tighter turn radius and lower body roll through turns. In diverse riding environments, we think the RZR is the superior vehicle.
- Climbing and overall power is impressive as both machines went up roads and trails beyond our immediate comfort level (and out-climbed another competing four-wheeler).
- Reliability seems to favor the RZR. Both of our test vehicles had been previously ridden, and the Wildcat seemed to be worse for wear with a missing door, and we blew a tire after an hour of test driving. Our channel checks with dealers and their shops shows an impressive lack of major problems with the Wildcat in its inaugural year, but it does seem to need minor repairs more often than the RZR.
- Overall we think these vehicles are fairly evenly matched with impressive speed and power. We think the difference comes in RZR's longer history with more precise handling and more reliability. For niche customers who are predominately driving straight through rough terrain we would give the nod to the Wildcat."