Expanding product lines is a tricky challenge for any company. Arctic Cat has been successful in the side-by-side utility vehicle business with its Prowler line, and its most popular model is the 700 series HDX lineup. For 2014, the 700 is getting a little brother.
The new 500 HDX lineup, which includes three models, offers buyers a range of choices from a value-priced 500 HDX to a fully featured 500 HDX LTD machine. We took the 500 HDX for a spin to check out how the value-based model will perform.
The new 500 series takes the key best features from the 700 series - three-passenger seating and that big roomy pallet-friendly rear box. In the 500 the box has a 600-pound capacity. And just like the 700, you can remove the sides to create a 'flatbed' hauling layout for bigger items you move around the farm.
On the base 500 HDX you won't find any power assisted steering - a popular feature on a lot of Arctic Cat machines. Their approach is adaptive, taking into account speed and torque numbers to provide just the right assist. But the steering-assist free base 500 HDX was easy to drive on the trail and even in sandy conditions that pulled on the drive wheels in four-wheel drive, it's a stable machine.
The 500 series comes in two colors - red and green. In the base model you'll get a molded shell without the higher-durability automotive finish on the 700. If you move up to the XT or LTD versions of the 500 HDX you get painted "vibrant red metallic" or "emerald green metallic" body work, but you won't really miss that in the base 500 HDX. Essentially there are three trim levels - the base HDX, the mid-line HDX LT and the top-line HDX LTD.
Power for this machine comes from a 443-cc liquid-cooled Arctic Cat engine that features a closed loop electronic fuel injection design. That's new for Arctic Cat, and more commonly found in automotive applications. The closed-loop design offers a better emission profile.
Suggested list price for the 500 HDX is $10,999. The machine will roll out for 2014, and soon there will be more information at the company website www.arcticcat.com.
Here are some key features available in the 500 series line:
* 443 cc four-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection
* Duramatic Automatic transmission with high/low/reverse/park and engine braking.
* Electronic 2wd/4wd
* Variable power steering (LTD only)
* 5-position tilt steering (LDT only)
* 40/20/40 sculpted seating for three occupants
* 41-inch-long x 55-inch-wide x 10-inch deep cargo box with 600-pound capacity and multiple tie-down points
* 85-inch wheelbase
* 1,500-pound towing capacity
* ROPS certified canopy
* 10-inch suspension travel front and rear
* 10-inches of ground clearance
* 2-inch front and rear receiver hitches
Check out our extensive roundup of new products from the fall farm shows, visit www.farmprogress.com/2012showproducts. You can also check out our other free reports by visiting www.FarmProgressDaily.com.