Arctic Cat – our verdict

arctic cat atvArctic Cat


Sizeable American-made diesel developed for the military. Twin-cylinder watercooled 700cc engine, stepless belt drive. Expensive, well-equipped. £7,250 + VAT.

Our rating: 2nd=

Looks, build quality ++++

Good looker with wide, aggressive stance. Nicely made, good finish and detailing.

Equipment, cost +++

Extensive kit list includes a locking front diff, Warn winch and passenger seat. Also standard is a quick-detachable rack system, plus the ability to swap between a second seat, back rack or cargo box.

Engine runs on up to 20% biodiesel. It’s homologated for road use so no extra road-legal equipment is needed.

Practicality ++++

High-capacity racks and an extended towbar help in daily work, as do the low fuel filler and generous towing capacity. Other plusses are the exemplary gearshift, the potential to take a mate and the clear digital dash.

But it needs more covered storage – there’s just a small box under the seat that’s useable only if the toolkit is removed. And don’t biff the bodywork – the wheelarches aren’t replaceable.

In fieldwork, the auto transmission and a close-governed engine will make nailing a set forward speed tricky.

Performance ++

The big Lombardini diesel is strong on torque but power rolls of quickly towards higher revs. Speed topped out at 28mph with a 330kg trailer where the petrol opposition had muscle to spare.

Yet performance is fine for day-to-day use and will seldom be limiting, thanks in part to a good low range. And although the engine is slow to gain and lose revs, it does feel unbreakable.

Fuel consumption +++

Third on test, behind the petrol Honda. But it runs on red diesel.

Brakes ++++

No worries on the disc setup’s performance or feel. Fine engine braking extends to reverse.

Ride, comfort, noise ++++

The engine is quiet and smooth once warm – better than some of the petrols – but the transmission whines at speed. The long wheelbase and long-travel independent suspension serve up a civilised ride but the throttle spring is too stiff for all-day work.

Handling and steering ++++

A big, stable platform with medium-weight steering and a reasonable turning circle. Limited shimmy over ruts.

Maintenance +++

Convenient dipsticks for engine and transmission are reached through upper bodywork. Coolant tank is under a front wheel arch, visible until covered in mud. Battery is at rear with access so-so.

Weighted score 3.47. At last, a capable diesel in a very agreeable wrapper. Expensive, but economy means payback won’t take long for hard users.