Weekend Warrior: 2012 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000i - A Good Name For A Not-So-Good UTV
Arctic Cat's 2012 Wildcat 1000i looks ready to race in the Baja 1000. It has a powerful engine, a high-performance suspension system, custom tires and well balanced chassis, so it appeared from the start as though the ride would be impressive. A friend of mine bought one a few months back, and I've gotten to ride along in it a handful of times. When he first got the UTV, it performed great - handled rocky terrain well, could tackle the whoops on the trail at high speeds with ease and was a pretty decent side-by-side. But after a few months, it seemed like every time I talked to my buddy, he was telling me about another part of the UTV that needed fixing.
So, the Wildcat has a 951cc V-Twin liquid-cooled engine with electronic fuel injection (EFI) and electronic power steering. That sounds great. EFI enhances power output and power steering means you won't have to use every ounce of strength to navigate the UTV across a rocky patch. The suspension, which offers 17 inches of travel in the front and 18 inches in the back, makes it easy to get past any obstacle. The attachment points are even heavy-duty, which is not something that typically comes standard on a side-by-side. You usually have to pick up aftermarket UTV parts if you want to reinforce the connections.
Despite Arctic Cat's best efforts, the Wildcat does not have a lot of staying power. My friend had issues with the cotter pins in the wheels as well as leaks. Oil, coolant, brake fluid, you name it, and it has probably leaked out of this Wildcat at one point or another. I've read other reviews of this bike on sites like ATV.com and Off-Road.com, and it seems to be a mixed bag. Some people encounter no problems whatsoever and others have a laundry list of things gone wrong. I get the feeling this could have a lot to do with riding style. I know my friend puts a lot of hours and miles on his Wildcat (when he's not fixing a leak), and he rides hard when he goes out on the trail. This UTV is built to be ridden in extreme conditions, but if it breaks down so easily when you do that, you might want to think carefully about buying one.