Ski-Doo is the first manufacturer to launch its 2019 snowmobile lineup, and it’s doing so with style, introducing exciting new engines, new and expanded chassis platforms and new segment-breaking models. Clearly, the No. 1 seller of snowmobiles is staying on the gas, giving customers reasons to trade up and or switch to Team Yellow.
So what’s new? How about a 150 horsepower turbocharged four-stroke engine? Maybe you’d prefer the full expansion of the 600R E-TEC engine the brand launched a month ago? Or maybe a horsepower-adding massage of the 900 ACE engine? Also, Ski-Doo is broadly expanding the use of its REV Gen4 chassis – starting with a whole lot more models moving that direction thanks to the built-to-fit new 600R engine but also due to a new “wide-design” version of the chassis that will fit four-stroke engines for 2019.
Let’s take a close look at some of the new tech, then roll segment-by-segment through the 2019 Ski-Doo lineup.
BIG POWER BOOST: 900 ACE TURBO
Buyers interested in four-stroke power from Rotax get a big boost for 2019 in the form of the new, high-tech 900 ACE Turbo that replaces the 1200 4-TEC engine and makes a claimed 150 HP. It will be the first factory-installed turbo in a Ski-Doo snowmobile.
Observant BRP riders saw this train coming since the Can-Am Maverick Turbo side-by-side models were launched based on the 900 ACE engine. However, Ski-Doo officials stressed that this version was specifically designed with snowmobiles in mind. Also important, 24 components in the 900 ACE engine was completely redesigned for the power boost – including the piston, cylinder head, connecting rod, crankshaft, exhaust valves, injectors, water pump, plenum, oil pump and much more.
The compact turbocharger itself is completely from Rotax. It features a small, nickel-alloy turbine that spins at speeds up to 200,000 RPM – or 3,333 revolutions per second – to create 12 PSI of boost pressure. Ski-Doo officials stressed that the positioning of the turbo – right next to the exhaust manifold and intake – helps eliminate turbo lag and create immediate response.
Designed to be robust, the turbocharger is oil lubricated and water cooled, with low-friction journal bearings and a shielded manifold. In fact, it has passed Rotax’s validation testing at temperatures up to 980 degrees Celsius. Ski-Doo officials said the 900 ACE Turbo engine package weighs the same as the 1200 4-TEC, but with 20 additional ponies, all while maintaining best-in-class fuel economy (up to 19.8 MPG). And, like Ski-Doo’s other four strokes, it will use Ski-Doo’s unique throttle-by-wire system called intelligent Throttle Control (iTC), giving the rider a choice in their machine’s acceleration curve between the Sport, Standard and Economy modes.
During a brief test ride in Quebec, we found the engine provided very impressive power with typical Rotax sewing-machine run quality and no noticeable turbo lag or waste gate noise. The new 950 ACE Turbo will be available in Renegade Adrenaline, X, X-RS and Enduro models plus the new Grand Touring Limited, all in the new REV Gen4 wide-body layout (more on that in a bit).
LITTLE POWER BOOST: 900 ACE
Though not as flashy as its turbocharged sister engine, the base 900 ACE engine gets a little power bump for 2019 in some applications.
Previously rated at 90 HP, select 900 ACE engines get a new intake and new exhaust plus a new pDrive clutch in models that are moved to the REV Gen4 platform, Ski-Doo Product Manager Jimmy Cote explained, “and that leads engineering to develop a new calibration so that we could deliver five additional horsepower on the 900.”
At 95 HP in those models, it’s surprisingly spry off the bottom end, and exhibits the impressive torque available from a four-stroke. Skandic, Tundra and Expedition models in the REV-XU chassis don’t get the power upgrade, however.
THE NEW 600R E-TEC
Many snowmobilers are already aware of the 600R E-TEC engine. It was launched in January in a late-release 2018 MXZ 600R model as an early tease to what was ahead for 2019. After being able to spend a lot of time riding MXZ 600R models in Quebec, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin over the last month, we can attest first-hand that this is one impressive powerplant that demands a closer look.
The 600R E-TEC is built upon many of the same principles used to design the revolutionary 850 E-TEC, including a mono-block cylinder design, short intake, W-shaped double reeds, eRAVE exhaust valves, faster ECU and a rather “square” (72.3mm bore and 73mm stroke) cylinder design. Like the 850, the 600R also gets a second-generation of E-TEC injection, a narrow design with inboard electric start, a physically smaller magneto and a redesigned exhaust system, and it then spins its power to the compact pDrive clutch.
However, this is not an 850 clone. Differences start at the bottom – specifically, the crank on the 600R is pressed, not forged like on the 850, with its PTO bearing moved outward 5mm to better support the pDrive and to limit harmonic vibration. Compared to the 600 H.O. engine that it replaces, the 600R generates 5 additional horsepower, Ski-Doo officials claimed.
On the trails, we could definitely feel the uptick in power. So-equipped sleds felt quicker and more reactive, especially when getting back on the gas coming out of corners or when blipping the throttle over rises. For 2019, the new 600R engine will be available in MXZ, Renegade, Backcountry, Summit and Grand Touring models.
REV GEN4: WIDE OR NARROW
To make that ACE Turbo and other four-stroke engines worth further developing, Ski-Doo had to figure out how to make them work with its compact REV Gen4, which only previously fit narrow engine packages. So, Ski-Doo designers came up with a slightly wider version of Gen4 – called the “wide-design” version. It features a wider area in which the engine and related components can be mounted. Externally, that results in wider body panels that bow out an extra 20 mm (roughly .79 inches) on each side.
The new “wide-design” REV Gen4 has all of the modern switches and controls, open toeholds, slightly taller seating position and RAS 3 front suspension. It also has the Ergo-Step side panels, though the first “step” facing the rider is wider on each side by nearly an inch. That creates a wider spread of the legs for riders who lean far-forward and use the “step,” but overall it’s a comforting design with nice body protection and an appealing look.
The “wide-design” layout is used for 2019 on all four-stroke-equipped Renegade X, Adrenaline and X-RS models, plus all Enduro and Grand Touring models regardless of engine due to the added wind protection the wide body provides.
By Model Line
The two biggest changes in the MXZ line for 2019 are the inclusion of the 600R models – and the resulting changes in all of those machines from the REV-XS to the newest generation REV GEN4 platform – plus the elimination of all four-stroke MXZ models.
Yes, you read that right: If you want a 600 ACE, 900 ACE or 900 ACE Turbo engine for the trail, look to the Renegade lineup, and the 1200 4-TEC engine has been eliminated from Ski-Doo’s lineup altogether.
The 600R engine, meanwhile, fits into MXZ X-RS, MXZ X, MXZ Blizzard and MXZ TNT that are moved to the REV Gen4, joining the 850 sister machines in each instance. As always, the X-RS and X are spring-order models – the X-RS with chassis reinforcements, KYB Pro clicker shocks, and a more forward handlebar position than the X. Each comes with a 1.25-inch RipSaw track but can be order with a 1.25-inch Ice Ripper XT or 1.6-inch Ice Cobra.
The Blizzard is the most full-featured in-season version, with an Ice Ripper XT track and Pilot TS skis, while the TNT has a RipSaw and Pilot 5.7 skis. The MXZ Sport 600 Carb returns as the pricepoint leader in the REV-XP platform.
The Renegade lineup is more trail-focused for 2019 and it also benefits from the new 900 ACE Turbo powerplant, which will be available in four of the Renegade’s primary subset – the X-RS, X, Enduro and Adrenaline — but not the price-oriented Sport. The 600R engine is also new to the segment and will be found in X, Enduro and Adrenaline package.
Boiling it down, the Renegade X-RS is available as an 850 in the traditional GEN 4 platform or as a 900 ACE Turbo in the wide-design bodywork, each with the best shocks, reinforced running board, Pilot 5.7 skis and a choice between a RipSaw, Ice Ripper or Ice Cobra track. The Renegade X buyer can choose between those two engines or the new 600R E-TEC.
The Rengade Enduro is available with four engine options – 850 or 600R two-stroke, or 900 ACE or 900 ACE Turbo four-stroke – but every one of those models will come with the wide-design bodywork, giving this touring-oriented buyer added wind protection even if they buy a two-stroke model. The in-season Renegade Adrenaline has the same four engine options, while the Renegade Sport buyer can choose between a 600 Carb two-stroke in the XP chassis or 600 ACE four-stroke in the XS.
The Backcountry models have grown up and are leaving the Renegade nest for 2019, becoming their own model lineup to further differentiate these 50/50 crossovers from the trail-focused Renegades.
Aside from the branding aspect, the most also allows for a Backcountry X-RS 850 model, with premium shocks, wide running boards and chassis reinforcements, plus the new Ultimate Lava Red color option. Otherwise, the Backcountry X and base Backcounty models get SHOT warm engine starting technology that debutted on the Summit models last year plus a better gauge for 2019, and 600R option in the base Backcountry.
For Ski-Doo mountain riders, the biggest news is the 600R engine option in the Summit SP lineup, and related move to the latest chassis. The in-season SP will be available with an 850 or 600R E-TEC in track lengths varying from 146 to 175 inches, while the spring-order Summit X 850 E-TEC models — available in track lengths from 154 to 175 – return unchanged. The price-oriented Summit Sport 600 Carb is back for rental fleets in the XP chassis.
The Freeride 850 models – 137, 146, 154 and 165 for the mountains or 154 S-38 for flatland powder chasers – get a new “iceberg blue” coloration this year but otherwise are unchanged.
Grand Touring, Expedition, Skandic And Tundra
Changes have also been made to a few models in Ski-Doo’s extensive touring and utility lineup for 2019. Biggest among them: The Grand Touring SE and LE models have essentially been merged into a vastly updated Grand Touring Limited that comes in the new REV Gen4 wide-design chassis.
The Limited is available with either the 900 ACE Turbo, 900 ACE or 600R engine with forward-adjustable handlebar, ergo-step side panels and Pilot 5.7 TL skis for 2019. A new 2-up heated seat, taller window, better mirrors, improved on-board storage options and new version of the Silent track all add to the creature-comfort list for these refined buyers.
The Grand Touring Sport gets a split personality for 2019: The version carrying the 900 ACE engine moves to the REV Gen4 platform and gets updates related to it, while the Sport 600ACE stays in the REV-XS.
Within the Expedition touring/utility crossover segment, the biggest news was launched a month ago with the inclusion of Expedition SWT carrying a 24-inch wide track, RAS 2 front suspension and adjustable ski stance. Click here to read about that model.
Otherwise, Expedition, Skandic and Tundra models all return essentially unchanged for 2019 in the REV-XU chassis. Because they stay in the “old” chassis, models with the 900 ACE engine don’t get the 5 extra horsepower that other 900 ACE machines get for 2019.