Arctic Cat was a pioneer in introducing the first ATV model specifically designed for mud. Many will remember the H1 model, which was available on the market from 2008 to 2017. Furthermore, from 2018 to 2019, it was rebranded as Alterra after the brand was acquired by Textron.
After the absence of the Mud Pro model from 2020 to 2022, Arctic Cat makes a strong comeback for 2023 with the all-new Mud Pro model.
Here’s what it’s all about.
Chassis and Powertrain
Last year, Arctic Cat made a surprise entry into the market with a completely revamped Alterra model. For 2022, these new 600 models replaced the older 700 models to celebrate Arctic Cat’s 60th anniversary. But it doesn’t stop there.
As for the chassis, it has been completely redesigned. For example, the engine has been tilted and moved to the rear to improve the vehicle’s center of gravity. The goal is to enhance not only the ride but also the comfort during long journeys.
A Fresh Breath for the Engine: Thermal Comfort and Balance
However, it’s not just the engine that has been repositioned. The engine’s air intake is now oriented towards the front, while the exhaust outlet runs almost parallel to this air intake, directing rearward instead of extending to the side of the quad. This modification helps avoid the sensation of heat.
Furthermore, the fuel tank and the battery are now positioned very low within this chassis.
The Revolutionary Engine: 600cc of Cutting-Edge Technology
The engine itself is also entirely new. It’s a 600cc single-cylinder engine on which Arctic Cat places a strong emphasis on technology. It delivers a power of 45 horsepower, which is quite appreciable.
In this regard, it positions itself perfectly in competition with other manufacturers in the same utility vehicle category. As for the CVT transmission, Arctic Cat proudly relies on CVTech-IBC, a company from Drummondville, Quebec, which supplies the Trailbloc model for Arctic Cat.
It’s worth noting that all Alterra 600 models come equipped with power steering. The quad’s dimensions are still quite comparable to the older models.
As for the suspension, it adopts a double-arched triangular arm design at both the front and rear, offering a suspension travel of 8.75 inches. The towing capacity extends to 1050 pounds, and the fuel tank boasts a 21.6-liter capacity.
Common Features of Alterra 600 Models
It’s on the basis of these characteristics that the all-new Mud Pro model is launched. For this model, we first find front and rear bumpers, as well as a complete underbody skid plate.
Unlike previous Mud Pro models, the radiator is now positioned at the front, at handlebar height. Air intakes for the engine and CVT, as well as the CVT outlet, are also found here.
Key Innovations of the Mud Pro
The vehicle is equipped with 28-inch Maxxis Zilla tires mounted on 14-inch rims, providing 12.8 inches of ground clearance. Moreover, it features a 3500-pound Warn winch and an enhanced suspension system.
We also note the addition of thicker footpegs to facilitate vehicle control in muddy conditions, as well as the option to adjust the handlebar height. The front differential lock feature returns to the Mud Pro model for 2023, a feature that will be greatly appreciated.
Regarding the aesthetics, I really like the design of the grille and front lights. The colours used are beautiful, and I appreciate the colourful accents on the seat. Additionally, I find the attention to detail impressive, such as the brand logo on the front bumper, rear bumper, and luggage rack.
The front bumper is also securely attached, a feature I value. Although I’m not an expert on quads, my initial impression is that this model is well-equipped for tackling mud.
Anticipated Improvements: Transmission, Torque, and Suspension
Without having the opportunity to take the wheel of this vehicle, here are my impressions. Regarding the engine’s performance, I expect behaviour quite similar to that of a model 700 I’ve tried in the past. This means the engine is more powerful, but the machine’s weight has also increased, based on the specifications published for the 2019 Mud Pro 700.
As for the transmission, I anticipate better acceleration and performance during overtaking. The same goes for the reduction gear in the differential, which should provide more torque. Regarding the chassis and its suspension, I expect a significant improvement in the overall behaviour of the ATV.
Access to Air Filter and Halogen Headlights
However, I’d like to point out a few negatives. Firstly, accessing the vehicle’s air filter is not the easiest task and is a crucial component that needs regular maintenance. To fully understand the complexity of this maintenance, you need to consult the corresponding maintenance manual page. Additionally, I noticed that the main headlights are still halogen lamps at the front. For a vehicle of this calibre, with a price tag of $14,499 before fees and taxes, this seems simply unacceptable.
In conclusion, as a pioneer in this segment, I’m pleased to see Arctic Cat return to the market with the Mud Pro model. Excluding the air filter issue, I suspect that maintenance will be relatively straightforward. I predict that this model will find great success and be highly appreciated by mud enthusiasts.