Arctic Cat ushers in 2018 with a new engine, the Ascender platform, a youth sled and the Norseman

by Kirsten Armleder

The 2018 Early Release M 8000 Sno Pro (153/162) is available in limited quantities at dealers. Arctic Cat photo

If you’re an Arctic Cat faithful, then you’ve probably been down to your local dealership to see the early release 2018 M 8000 Sno Pro or the 2018 ZR 8000 Sno Pro. Unveiled in January, these machines gave us some early insight as to what Arctic Cat has been working on for 2018. That being said, when the full lineup was unveiled on February 27, there still were some surprises.

A youth sled

Coming up through the snowmobile ranks has often meant going from a 120 cc to waiting on the sidelines or doubling in front of mom or dad until you're old enough to ride a full-sized sled. Not in 2018, however. Designed for kids aged six to 12, the new ZR 200 features a nine horsepower, four-stroke engine that is fan cooled. The ZR 200 can reach a speed of 48-plus kilometres per hour. With full suspension features and a primary and secondary clutch, the ZR 200 gives aspiring young riders the handling and performance characteristics of any full-sized snowmobile.

The Norseman

Another unique model in the 2018 lineup is the new Norseman. A utility sled that can have some fun too, it features Arctic Cat’s Next Gen body panels, race front suspension, a large rear rack and the Cobra track with X-Tra Action articulating rear suspension. The Norseman is  powered by Cat’s CTec2 6000 or you can get it with the 700-cc CTec 4. 

New CTec2 800 engine

Perhaps the most exciting news for 2018 is the launch of a new engine, the CTec 2 with Dual Stage Injection. Built by Arctic Cat, this 8000 series powerplant represents Cat’s near complete departure from using Suzuki engines in it snowmobiles. As with any new engine, there may be some trepidation, but according to Arctic Cat, this 160-horsepower engine delivers more power than its predecessor with quicker throttle response at higher elevations, plus greater oil and fuel efficiency. Riders will also notice an increase in low-end and mid-range torque. The new two-stroker is spread across the Arctic Cat lineup.

Ascender platform

Arctic Cat continues to refine its M series sleds. For 2018, they are 10 per cent narrower thanks to new body panels as well as refinements that were originally featured on the 2017 Mountain Cat: a lowered mountain drive shaft, narrower running boards and increased front forward foot placement. With the new Ascender platform, M series sleds are said to have better manners when carving in deep snow and sidehilling.

For more information, see Arctic Cat’s website

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