Off-Road.com Exclusive: 2009 Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XTZ
951cc of pure Minnesota muscle
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Arctic Cat has upped the horsepower ante’ in the side-x-side class with the new 951cc V-Twin powered Prowler XTZ, giving the Prowler the biggest engine in the class. But the XTZ is more than just a bigger engine in the Prowler chassis - it features upgraded suspension, ergonomics, and styling. We were fortunate to take a ride in the new XTZ at the Black Hills UTV Rally a few weeks ago enabling us to bring our readers on of the first reviews of this machine. Have a Prowler of your own? Post your comments and see more pictures here!
The Prowler XTZ is powered by a 951cc V-Twin, SOHC, liquid cooled engine that is similar to the one used in the Thundercat ATV. Arctic Cat used to purchase engines from companies like American Suzuki, but the XTZ features their own exclusive engine built in the USA for use in Arctic Cat side-x-sides and ATV’s. The engine is loaded with features like electronic fuel injection for good all round performance in a range of altitudes and temperatures.
It is also a "hemi" - no, its not made by Dodge but it does use similar technology as has been popularized by Dodge with hemispherical shaped combustion chambers for a more complete and cleaner combustion process. The engine is mounted inline with the chassis in between the seats just like the smaller displacement Prowlers.
The big question everyone wants to ask is how fast is it and how much power does it have. Neither of these questions can be answered with officially tested information but as for speed, someone (you know who you are) was able get 84 mph out of the XTZ on a gravel road before backing off due to a rapidly approaching corner. The machine is deceptively fast because the power is so linear that the acceleration doesn’t feel as impressive as it actually is when you look down at the speedo. But there is not question that the XTZ is a very fast UTV.
The XTZ chassis for the most part remains unchanged from the other Prowlers and we have no complaints about that. The Prowler is a great vehicle in the way that it is capable of handling recreation just as well as utility and that after all is what sidexsides are all about in our opinion. Providing a comfortable fun way to see the lesser scene areas of the country while still being able to put in a good days work.
That being said, the XTZ has received some updates to compliment the new engine. The suspension is one such area. The XTZ features what Cat calls “Ride in Suspension”, basically the machine has been lowered so that the suspension is working closer to the middle of the shock travel. This gives the vehicle some sag so the suspension can work when the wheel falls into bumps not just when the ground moves the wheel upwards. It is the same concept as used by Baja race trucks that have a lower ride height than you would think they need. The suspension also gets a big improvement with Ryde FX gas charged shock absorbers. The result is a vehicle with 10” of ground clearance and 10” of suspension wheel travel. We rode the Prowler XTZ back to back with XTX and can definitely say that overall the XTZ suspension is more plush, especially at speed.
When you significantly increase performance it is always a good idea to take a look at the braking system also. Thankfully Cat did this on the XTZ adding disc brakes to both rear wheels, the rear differential still has a center mounted brake like the other models but this is used only as a parking brake.
In terms of physical dimension the Prowlers are on the upper end of the side-x-side class. The larger size gives the Prowler a more stable feel on the trails and the interior has plenty of space. The bucket seats are also very easy to get in and out of. Our sources tell us that the production XTZ’s will feature a more ergonomically sculpted center console / engine cover (ed note: the prototype XTZ we drove had the old style console).
One area that suprised us on the XTZ was the lack of safety equipment. There is no protection to keep feet and legs in the vehicle, this is not only an issue in a rollover but also for protection from rocks and debris when driving. And the seatbelts are only lap belts. We realize that the Prowler is a Utility orientated vehicle but with 1000cc it is obvious that most buyers are going to be going fast. We would highly suggest installing harness and some form of leg protection to anyone planning on using the vehicle aggressively.
Aesthetically the XTZ has been spruced up a bit in the way that flagship models like this usually are. The finish on the panels is now an automotive style finish that can be polished and buffed and comes with factory installed vinyl graphics. Unfortunately though the XTZ is only available in one color Sunset Orange. A hood scoop and bed rails have also been added. Some of these smaller details may change between the prototype model and the production model that will begin shipping in December. When it comes to practicality Cat has done a good job with the whole Prowler line including the XTZ. One thing that caught our eye that we really like was the high mounted rear brake light, when following other Prowlers on the trail the light is nice and easy to see in all conditions. There is also a rear view mirror a nice feature that due to on-road driving habits we look for on other models.
IN OUR HUMBLE OPINION
Overall we are very impressed with the Prowler XTZ. Having the most powerful engine carries a lot of weight (literally) in this very competitive class. The engine alone will be enough for the Prowler to appeal to a whole new set of customers. Dune and desert side-x-side owners who have embraced the concept of added power with the RZR, will definetly be taking a closer look at the XTZ.The guys who love the mud in the Southeast will probably also take notice as they need as much power as possible. But for trail riders and utility owner when power isn’t as high a priority - but budget may be - the smaller engined Prowlers, Rangers or Rhinos may still be a better option.
|Arctic Cat Prowler XTZ 1000||
|Arctic Cat Prowler XTX 700||
|Arctic Cat Prowler XT 650||
|Polaris Ranger RZR S 800||
|Polaris Ranger RZR||
|Yamaha Rhino 700||
$10,699 - $12,399
|Yamaha Rhino 450||
$8,499 - $9,049
We personally fall into aforementioned stereotype of dune/desert, so understandably so we are delighted about the XTZ. And as good as it is in its present state it could be transformed into a mean ride with modifications. We have already started lining out in our head what is possible with this vehicle - The v-twin engine could handle some serious power upgrade and the suspension would be awesome with a long travel kit. We could lower the cage put in some racing seats and strip some weight. In all reality the end result could be very similar to a small trophy truck. This money-is-no-object project may never happen, but its fun to dream about.
What we like
V-Twin power, EFI and improved suspension handling.
What we don’t like
Lack of safety features. No leg protection and only lap seatbelts
Great power in a good-sized large machine.